We are history: historical affect, memory and militancy among revolutionary youth in postwar Iran

‘We are history’ is a declaration that traverses identity labels, generational memories and nation building through history. I demonstrate that announcing we are history is a political-mystical practice, and living with evocative historical affect permeated from the reminiscent of past violence. It allows social actors to indulge in a type of transcendence, which expands them into a cosmological scale that exceeds social imaginaries and banalities of everyday life. I borrow from Iranian revolutionary youth’s experiences and my ethnographic journeys among Iranian volunteer combatants who fought in Iraq and Syria to illustrate how history is localized in settings which socialization occurs in postwar societies. By way of anthropology of history or doing history in anthropology, I explain how the claim we are history is an attempt to become a community of individuals via history and how social actors turn history into a world-making practice that informs political participation and justifies for them to support authoritarian traits of a state.