Modernity, Sexuality, and Ideology in Iran
The Life and Legacy of a Popular Female Artist
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Syracuse University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, About the Author
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Preface, Acknowledgments,Translation, and Transliteration
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Since I finished the writing of this project and aft er I submitted the manuscript for publication a few years ago, Iran and its political atmosphere have gone through significant changes. Iran is indeed on the threshold of a postideological era, which I mention at the end of the book. When it was pointed out to me that it seemed I had predicted these recent events, my first thought was that we in our...
1. Academic Writing and Writing about Lives: An Introduction
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On March 8, 1979 (International Women's Day), less than a month aft er the victory of the Islamic Revolution, my friend Azar and I were standing near the front gate of the University of Tehran, which was filled with outraged women. They were preparing to protest the mandatory public veiling of all women. Two days earlier, this demand had been voiced by Ayatollah Khomeini in a speech he...
2. Modernity, Sexuality, and Popular Culture Iran's Social Agony
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In this chapter, I expand my argument that since the beginning of the debate on modernity in Iran, the question of sexuality has mainly been absent from the debates. Instead, only traditionalists and religious fundamentalists have offered their archaic and well-formulated notion of sexuality, often wrapped in anticolonial packaging. Because of this awkward bifurcation, and in the absence...
3. Iranian Women and Public Space in the Seventies: Shahrzad, a Woman of Her Time
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Iranian culture, even in the heydays of the 1960s and 1970s Westernization, lacked an open approach to an indigenous eroticism, disparaged artistic genres that could represent eroticism, and refused to tolerate--let alone embrace--Western eroticism. Classical notions about sex and erotic imageries as represented in classical poetry, in genres such as narrative romance poetry...
4. Seduction, Sin, and Salvation: Spurious Sexuality in Dance and Film
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In her study of tango, Jane Desmond states, "Dance remains a greatly undervalued and undertheorized arena of bodily discourse."1 This is particularly true in the case of Persian or Iranian dance.2 Throughout the medieval period and into the contemporary era, dance remained in the private domain in Iranian culture. Nevertheless, in the contemporary era this private activity has entered into...
5. Shahrzad as a Writer: The Question of Literary Modernity
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Shahrzad's career in dancing and acting in the 1960s and 1970s has provided a case study for understanding the role of women in popular arts and show business in Iran. Her own impression of her career also has added to our knowledge of the place of women artists in Iran. In the same way, her literary works, written in the late seventies, can shed light onto her life and the lives of women of her time by illustrating (or portraying...
6. Social Change in Iran and the Transforming Lives of Women Artists
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This chapter examines the postrevolutionary status of Shahrzad and other women artists (some even in literature, education, and other more "acceptable" forms of social activities; a prosopography, in a sense) who began their artistic activities in the 1960s and 1970s, rose to fame in those decades, and faced a more or less similar dreadful fate aft er the revolution (many of them were born in the...
Ideology, Sexuality, and Sexual Agency: An Afterword
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The study of Shahrzad's life and work indicates that Iranian culture has suffered from highly complex dichotomization between nudity and poetry, sexuality and intellectuality, sex and art, all to locate women's so-called wrong or right place. As I have shown in previous chapters and will reiterate in the pages in this chapter, a true feminist criticism in Iran cannot circumvent the reality of...
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Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 8 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2011