In this Book

Words Not Swords
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summary
A woman not only needs a room of her own, as Virginia Woolf wrote, but also the freedom to leave it and return to it at will; for a room without that right becomes a prison cell. The privilege of self-directed movement, the power to pick up and go as one pleases, has not been a traditional "right" of Iranian women. This prerogative has been denied them in the name of piety, anatomy, chastity, class, safety, and even beauty. It is only during the last 160 years that the spell has been broken and Iranian women have emerged as a moderating, modernizing force. Women writers have been at the forefront of this desegregating movement and renegotiation of boundaries. Words, Not Swords explores the legacy of sex segregation and its manifestations in Iranian literature and film and in notions of beauty and the erotics of passivity. Milani expands her argument beyond Iranian culture, arguing that freedom of movement is a theme that crosses frontiers and dissolves conventional distinctions of geography, history, and religion. She makes bold connections between veiling and foot binding, between Cinderella and Barbie, between the figures of the female Gypsy and the witch. In so doing, she challenges cultural hierarchies that divert attention from key issues in the control of women across the globe.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, About the Author
  2. pp. iii-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. Prologue: “Yeki Bud, Yeki Nabud”
  2. pp. xv-xxiv
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  1. Introduction: Keeping Women in Their Place
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. Part One: A Legacy of Containment
  2. p. 27
  1. 1. Enclosed Bodies, Trapped Voices, Framed Images: The Poetics of Sex Segregation
  2. pp. 29-49
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  1. 2. The Bonds of Beauty: Immobilizing the Ideal Woman in Iranian Literature
  2. pp. 50-73
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  1. 3. Pardeh Neshin, or “She Who Sits Behind the Screen”: The Spatial Politics of Iranian Cinema
  2. pp. 74-102
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  1. Part Two:
  2. p. 103
  1. 4. Badasht and Seneca Falls: Tahirih Qurratul‘Ayn and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  2. pp. 105-127
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  1. 5. Icarus Reborn: Captivity and Flight in the Work of Forugh Farrokhzad
  2. pp. 128-154
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  1. 6. The Gypsy Poet: Fluidity and Flux in the Poetry of Simin Behbahani
  2. pp. 155-179
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  1. 7. Women on the Road: Shahrnush Parsipur and the Conference of Female Birds
  2. pp. 180-200
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  1. Part Three: Prisoners Awaiting Liberation
  2. p. 201
  1. 8. Reading and Misreading Iranian Women in the United States: On Abducted Daughters, Incarcerated Girls, and Invisible Women
  2. pp. 203-234
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  1. Epilogue: Words as Ambassadors of Peace and Beacons of Hope
  2. pp. 235-245
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 249-302
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 303-321
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 323-345
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