The transnational body of a female spy: negotiating alternatives in Tehran (Kan 11, 2020 - )

Ghorbankarimi, Maryam (2021) The transnational body of a female spy: negotiating alternatives in Tehran (Kan 11, 2020 - ). In: BAFTSS Annual Conference:, 2021-04-072021-04-09, University of Southampton Centre for International Film Research (CIFR).

Full text not available from this repository.


The 21st century has seen a meaningful rejuvenation of the political thriller genre and ‘spy narratives’ informed by the aftermath of 9/11 and the new landscape of film and television production, dominated by global streaming platforms. These new political thrillers are marked by interconnectivity and transnationalism, both in their content and production contexts, by greater emphasis on contemporary geo-political concerns, and by seemingly new gender politics, subverting the hitherto masculine typification of the genre. The new Israeli drama series Tehran (Kan 11, 2020 - ) that was bought recently by Apple TV, shares much of these characteristics and joins a secession of recent Israeli espionage thrillers that have been picked up by global streaming platforms and seen international success and critical acclaim; Fauda (2015-2020) being the most prominent example. However, as this paper will seek to show, Tehran has taken the genre into new grounds of transnational exchange, primarily through its main protagonist - the undercover female Israeli agent Tamar. Focusing on the transnational body of the female spy, our paper situates the character of Tamar in the wider context of what Tasker has termed “the postfeminist female spy”, and moves to examine the ways in which her particular positionality as a first generation Israeli of Iranian heritage, sent to Iran on an undercover military mission, serves as a linchpin to the series’ overall exploration of contemporary Israeli-Iranian geo-political relations. The series, we would argue, subverts to a degree both the respective national narratives and dominant representations by creating imaginary brief spaces of longing to renegotiate the past and for different futures.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
BAFTSS Annual Conference:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Jun 2021 09:21
Last Modified:
04 May 2023 14:40