Hadi Gharabaghi

PhD Candidate

Hadi Gharabaghi


Title: Governing by Documentary: Syracuse Audiovisual Mission in Iran and the Region in 1950s, A Genealogy of Cultural Diplomacy

Supervisor: Anna McCarthy

This dissertation investigates institutionalization of documentary and audiovisual apparatus in 1950s in Iran, specifically, and the larger region by cultural foot soldiers of various American universities under a contract between Syracuse University and bi-national groups of government officials as a genealogical case study of Cold War cultural diplomacy. Through extensive research in archives of the United States Information Agency (USIA) and Margaret Mead's archives at the Library of Congress, among others, the project analyzes memoranda accounts of embassy reports of mobile screening, survey trips, how-to filmmaking among villagers, and workshops of training institutional media producers in Iran and beyond. Furthermore, the dissertation traces planning of Syracuse mission back to diverse practices sponsored by government and philanthropies in the Untied States including documentary production, and applied social science preparation of theory, public opinion surveys, production bible and manuals of national character and culture by Margaret Mead et al.


Hadi Gharabaghi is a Ph.D. candidate with Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. He has presented papers and organized events on governing investment in cultural diplomacy  through institutionalization of documentary in Iran, on Iranian cinema, and on the formation of mid-century government-sponsored applied social science production of documentary bible, national character research, and manuals of culture and filmmaking. Hadi has also organized film screenings and discussions on Iranian Cinema in Istanbul and in New York. A notable example is Poetics of Pedagogy in Revolution: A YouTube Screening and Discussion of First Case, Second Case (Kiarostami, 1979), Jan. 2014.