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Two Qajar Tracts
At the close of the nineteenth century, modern ideas of democracy and equality were slowly beginning to take hold in Iran. Exposed to European ideas about law, equality, and education, upper- and middle-class men and women increasingly questioned traditional ideas about the role of women and their place in society. In apparent response to this emerging independence of women, an anonymous author penned The Education of Women, a small booklet published in 1889. This guide, aimed at husbands as much as at wives, instructed women on how to behave toward their husbands, counseling them on proper dress, intimacy, and subservience. One woman, Bibi Khanom Astarabadi, took up the author’s challenge and wrote a refutation of the guide’s arguments. An outspoken mother of seven, Astarabadi established the first school for girls in Tehran and often advocated for the rights of women. In The Vices of Men, she details the flaws of men, offering a scathing diatribe on the nature of men’s behavior toward women. Astarabadi mixes the traditional florid style of the time with street Persian, slang words, and bawdy language. This new edition, the first to be translated into English, faithfully preserves the style and irreverent tone of the essays. The two texts, together with an introduction and afterword situating both within the customs, language, and social life of Iran, offer a rare candid dialogue.
Gender, Passion, and Politics in the Christian Middle East, 1720-1798
Embracing the Divine narrates the transformation of Christianity in the Middle East during the 18th century. It traces the tumultuous events surrounding the life of Hindiyya al-Ujaimi, a visionary nun determined to establish her own religious order in the Levant against the will of the Vatican. This Christ-centered and driven desire led to two inquisitions by the Holy See, a concerted campaign on the part of Latin missionaries to discredit her, turmoil within her Maronite church between supporter and detractor, and tragic exorcisms and deaths. Thus, beyond its compelling cinematic scope, Embracing the Divine presents a critical chapter in the history of Christianity in the Middle East, a history that has been largely absent from both Middle Eastern studies and from histories of Christianity. Moreover, this story relates the radical nature and perceived magnitude of Hindiyya's transgressions across gender lines constructed locally and by a universalizing Roman Catholic Church.
“The Emperor Tea Garden” is a vividly engaging fantasy romance told on several different levels that transcend time, place, gender, and even species. In this enchanted space, the boundaries between life and death, dream and reality, and here and there are all blurred. The eponymous tea garden is one whose customers are mostly deceased, mostly in love, and mostly fade away with the dawn. Eray captivatingly investigates the concepts of love, passion, and loyalty. For example, the narrator exchanges places with Night for a night, and a young man who has committed suicide in the name of love gets to leave his grave and be reunited with his paramour. Eray presents an underlying theme in which love can conquer even death itself.
The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair
From April 1964 to October 1965, some 52 million people from around the world flocked to the New York World’s Fair, an experience that lives on in the memory of many individuals and in America’s collective consciousness. Taking a perceptive look back at "the last of the great world’s fairs," Samuel offers a vivid portrait of this seminal event and of the cultural climate that surrounded it. He also counters critics’ assessments of the fair as the "ugly duckling" of global expositions. Opening five months after President Kennedy’s assassination, the fair allowed millions to celebrate international fellowship while the conflict in Vietnam came to a boil. This event was perhaps the last time so many from so far could gather to praise harmony while ignoring cruel realities on such a gargantuan scale. This world’s fair glorified the postwar American dream of limitless optimism even as a counterculture of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll came into being. It could rightly be called the last gasp of that dream: The End of the Innocence. Samuel’s work charts the fair from inception in 1959 to demolition in 1966 and provides a broad overview of the social and cultural dynamics that led to the birth of the event. It also traces thematic aspects of the fair, with its focus on science, technology, and the world of the future. Accessible, entertaining, and informative, the book is richly illustrated with contemporary photographs.
Ethnicity, Identity, and the Development of Nationalism in Iran investigates the ways in which Armenian minorities in Iran encountered Iranian nationalism and participated in its development over the course of the twentieth century. Based primarily on oral interviews, archival documents, personal memoirs, memorabilia, and photographs, the book examines the lives of a group of Armenian-Iranians—a truck driver, an army officer, a parliamentary representative, a civil servant, and a scout leader—and explores the personal conflicts and paradoxes attendant upon their layered allegiances and compound identities. In documenting individual experiences in Iranian industry, military, government, education, and community organization, the five social biographies detail the various roles of elites and non-elites in the development of Iranian nationalism and reveal the multiple forces that shape the processes of identity formation. Yaghoubian combines these portraits with theories of nationalism and national identity to answer recurring pivotal questions about how nationalism evolves, why it is appealing, what broad forces and daily activities shape and sustain it, and the role of ethnicity in its development.
The essays in this collection examine issues of gender, family, and law in the Middle East and South Asia. In particular, the authors address the impact of colonialism on law, family, and gender relations; the role of religious politics in writing family law and the implications for gender relations; and the tension between international standards emerging from UN conferences and conventions and various nationalist projects. Employing the frame of globalization, the authors highlight how local and global forces interact and influence the experience and actions of people who engage with the law. By virtue of a "south-south" comparison of two quite similar and culturally linked regions, contributors avoid positing "the West" as a modern telos. Drawing upon the fields of anthropology, history, sociology, and law, this volume offers a wide-ranging exploration of the complicated history of jurisprudence with regard to family and gender.
On April 14, 1865, the night of President Lincoln’s assassination, Booth’s conspirator Lewis Powell attempted to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward in his home just blocks from Ford’s Theatre. The attack, which left Seward and his son seriously wounded, is recounted in poignant detail in Fanny Seward’s diary. Fanny, the beloved only daughter of Seward, was a keen observer, and her diary entries from 1858 to 1866 are the foundation of Krisher’s vivid portrait of the young girl who was an eyewitness to one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. Fanny offers intimate observations on the politicians, generals, and artists of the time. She tells of attending dinner parties, visiting troops, and going to the theater, often alongside President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary. Through Fanny’s writings, Krisher not only skillfully brings to life the events and activities of a progressive political family but also illuminates the day-to-day drama of the war. Giving readers a previously unseen glimpse into the era, Fanny Seward: A Life broadens our understanding of Civil War America.
Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature
Although there is a history of rich, complex, and variegated representations of female illness in Western literature over the last two centuries, the sick female body has traditionally remained outside the Arab literary imagination. Hamdar takes on this historical absence in The Female Suffering Body by exploring how both literary and cultural perspectives on female physical illness and disability in the Arab world have transformed in the modern period. In doing so, she examines a range of both canonical and hitherto marginalized Arab writers, including Mahmoud Taymur, Yusuf al-Sibai, Ghassan Kanafani, Naguib Mahfouz, Ziyad Qassim, Colette Khoury, Hanan al-Shaykh, Alia Mamdouh, Salwa Bakr, Hassan Daoud, and Betool Khedair. Hamdar finds that, over the course of sixty years, female physical illness and disability has moved from the margins of Arabic literature—where it was largely the subject of shame, disgust, or revulsion—to the center, as a new wave of female writers have sought to give voice to the “female suffering body.”