Shari'ati: The Preoccupied Flâneur in Paris



Shari’ati: The Preoccupied Flâneur in Paris is a visual guide to locations that played an influential role in the personal development of Ali Shari’ati, an Iranian revolutionary and intellectual, in Paris from 1959 to 1964.

After earning a PhD in the history of medieval Islam from the Sorbonne in 1964, Shari'ati returned to his hometown Mashhad and some three years later moved to Tehran in where he began his lecture series at the Hosseiniyeh Ershad Institute on 2 December 1969. Shari’ati’s revolutionary lectures were popular among students and young intellectuals and activists, which led to his arrest on 28 September 1973. He left for the UK on 16 May 1977 two years after his release from prison and died in a Southampton hospital on 18 June 1977.

This project was conducted by Maryam Rabiee and Ali Rahnema. Maryam traveled to Paris in early 2014 to complete a semester of French. In Spring of 2014, she was acquainted with Rahnema and audited one of his courses that semester. She expressed her interest in following the footsteps of Shari’ati in Paris and familiarizing herself with the social, political, and physical space in which he journeyed through the process he calls shodan (becoming) in Paris.

Initially, Rahnema provided Maryam with four locations and as her stay in Paris extended, so did her curiosity about Shari’ati’s life in Paris. Over time, they put together a list of forty-two locations, which Maryam photographed between 2014 and 2018.

Each location is accompanied by photographs and a brief story of the location and its connection to Shari’ati. Shari'ati’s recollection of a number of locations is vague and at times he mixes up similar names, which is why some locations may have multiple possibilities. That is due to the time gap between the events in Paris and Shari’ati’s effort to record them years after he moved back to Iran.


A Visual Guide to Shari'ati's Paris

Zoom in to view more locations and follow Shari'ati's movement in Paris on the map below.

List of Locations

Click on any location in the list below to view photographs and read stories about each place.