The new president is giving students a longer leash
“AT LEAST one thing hasn't changed“, remarked a Tehran University professor who had recently returned to work after several years. “The faculty still gossips terribly.“ But under President Hassan Rouhani bigger changes on Iran's leading campus—and perhaps in universities elsewhere—may also be on the way.
One sign of this was the recent sacking of Tehran University's conservative chancellor. Appointed in 2008 by Mr Rouhani's populist predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he had overseen the expulsion of independent-minded students and academics, promoting mediocreyes-men and stifling the intellectual atmosphere.
Since his departure, things have loosened up. Last month over 1,000 students gathered to hear a lecture by Immanuel Wallerstein, an 83-year-old, left-wing American sociologist. Widely translated into Persian, he is respected across Iran's intellectual spectrum, albeit under various interpretations. For some, he is a herald of America's decline, affirming Iran's official narrative. For others, he still represents America, even if he challenges the global status quo.
In the early years of this century, under the presidency of Muhammad Khatami, Western intellectuals visited quite often. Under Mr Ahmadinejad, they virtually stopped coming. But since Mr Rouhani was elected last summer, intellectual waters are being tested again. Hosted by the Iranian Sociological Association, Mr Wallerstein's lecture tour included two other notable universities, at ShirazandIsfahan.
Many of the students did not know who he was, but wanted to see an American scholar anyway. When he observed that third-world regimes born out of revolution tended to create the same social and economic problems their founders had promised to solve, a frisson rippled through the Assembly. At the back of the hall, where students craned to see him, whistles and applause erupted.
1. gather up 收集
例句:The gleaners gathered up the loose ears of corns.
2.want to 想去;想要
例句:The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.
3.promise to 承诺;保证
例句:Claire had made me promise to tell her the truth.
4.even if 即使;纵然
例句:Even if the amendment is passed it can be defeated judicially.