Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Ph.D. student, Bryan Sitzes, published in Iranian Studies Journal

Tue, July 9, 2019
Ph.D. student, Bryan Sitzes, published in Iranian Studies Journal
Sitzes' paper discusses rural public health in Mid-twentieth century Khuzestan

Sanitized Modernity: Rural Public Health in Mid-Twentieth Century Khuzestan

 Link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00210862.2019.1617032

 

Existing histories of public health in Iran often center on elite or urban narratives. This paper shifts the focus to Iran’s villages by examining the twentieth-century public health history of rural northern Khuzestan. It argues that Khuzestani villagers desired, rather than resisted, modern medical services. However, vertical decision-making and the prioritization given by public health planners to economic concerns over social wellbeing led to the uneven distribution of services and failure to fulfill the expectations of Khuzestan’s villagers. This paper uses memoirs, official reports, correspondence, and other records from the Development & Resources Corporation, along with reports from Iran’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, to bring a richer picture of Iranian villagers’ twentieth-century history into focus.


An earlier version of this article formed a chapter in my master’s thesis, “Alienating Iranians from their Environment: Irrigation, Flood Control, and Public Health in Late Pahlavi Khuzestan” (the University of Texas at Austin, 2018). I sincerely thank Kamran Aghaie and Faegheh Shirazi for their help and comments at that stage. Another version was presented at the Middle Eastern Studies Association annual conference in San Antonio, Texas on 16 November 2018, at the panel “Science, Medicine, Oral Histories, and Progress in Qajar, Pahlavi and Revolutionary Iran.”

 

Biography


Bryan Sitzes received his Master's from the Center of Middle Eastern Studies in 2018. His thesis, under the direction of Dr. Kamran Aghaie, was titled "Alienating Iranians from their Environment: Irrigation, Flood Control, and Public Health in Late Pahlavi Khuzestan". In Fall 2018 he started the doctoral program in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies.

Bryan is currently pursuing two channels of research. The first involves tracing the development of modern environmentalism/ecological understandings in mid-20th century Iran. The second, longer-term project seeks a better grasp of how the movement of people, animals, plants, and objects between Iran, Central Asia, and South Asia shifted between the 18th and 20th centuries. In turn, this project will explore what roles these shifts may have played in constructing identities and socio-economic structures in the transitional zones between the emerging nation-states.

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