Green Movement| Thirty Years Later: Iranian Visual Culture from the 1979 Revolution to the 2009 Presidential Protests

Elizabeth L. Rauh


During the 2009 presidential election protests, demonstrators actively recalled the events of the 1979 Revolution through their protest activities, both in the streets and online. In reclaiming the revolutionary rhetoric and history through visual recoding and reprogramming, the Green Movement protestors and supporters challenged the Islamic Republic’s claim to the legacy of the 1979 Revolution and, thus, the very legitimacy of government authority. This essay examines posters, photographs, slogans, graffiti, and other visual and artistic activities to illustrate how the Green Movement harnessed and adapted the visual culture of the 1979 Revolution. Comparing the visual cultures of the 2009 protests and the 1979 Iranian Revolution shows how protestors activated the memory of the 1979 Revolution during the election crisis, enabling the Green Movement to claim the Karbala paradigm as a legitimizing narrative and tool of mobilization.

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