The Poetics and Politics of the Veil in Iran (Book)

An Archival and Photographic Adventure

This volume explores the lives of women in Iran through the social, political and aesthetic contexts of veiling, unveiling and re-veiling. Through poetic writings and photographs, Azadeh Fatehrad responds to the legacy of the Iranian Revolution via the representation of women in photography, literature and film. 

Edition

This volume explores the lives of women in Iran through the social, political and aesthetic contexts of veiling, unveiling and re-veiling. Through poetic writings and photographs, Azadeh Fatehrad responds to the legacy of the Iranian Revolution via the representation of women in photography, literature and film. The images and texts are documentary, analytical and personal.

The Poetics and Politics of the Veil in Iran features Fatehrad’s own photographs in addition to work by artists Hengameh Golestan, Shirin Neshat, Shadi Ghadirian, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Adolf Loos, Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault and Alison Watt. In exploring women’s lives in post-revolutionary Iran, Fatehrad considers the role of the found image and the relationship between the archive and the present, resulting in an illuminating history of feminism in Iran in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Dr Azadeh Fatehrad is an artist and curator based at the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre, Kingston University London, working primarily with still and moving images in the context of historical representation. She was the St. John’s College artist in residence 2018 at the University of Oxford.

About the Book
Preface
Introduction

Chapter One
1.1 Iran in 1936
1.2 The Hijab in Iran
1.3 On Feminism in Iran
1.4 The Islamic Revolution of 1979
1.5 On Photography

Chapter Two
2.1 On Veiling and Writing
2.2 Veiling and the Sense of Protection
2.3 On Veiling and Modesty
2.4 On Looking

Chapter Three
3.1 Mobile Architecture
3.2 On the Garden: Away from the Crowd
3.3 Drapery: Displacement from the Body to the Fabric
3.4 Today in Iran: The Contemporary Public Life

Appendix: The Showroom Project September 2015
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Index

'Fatehrad does more than provide an archival view and photographic analysis of the significance of the veil in Iran. Rather, she takes the reader on an adventure—one I would like to call 'an experimental journey.' [...] This book is a welcome addition to current scholarship on the topic of veiling in Iran as its main contribution is the examination of the cultural productions on the topic of veiling. In that sense, Fatehrad’s book is suitable for adoption in humanities and social science courses dealing with women’s rights and the question of veiling in Iran and the Middle East. Although the book will be of significant interest to students of Iranian studies, it can also be of interest to those concerned with the significance of the veil generally.'

Claudia Yaghoobi, Iranian Studies

'This refreshing and evocative book brings new light to the study of how women in Iran are represented at home and abroad. Tracking images of Iranian women in photography, film, poetry, fiction, and philosophy, Azadeh Fatehrad locates the experience of state-mandated unveiling and veiling within the spaces of the home and society, revealing how changes to the urban fabric coalesce with new veiling regulations to foster and inhibit access to public life for women in Iran.  Bringing her own artist's eye to the subject, Fatehrad explores how visual behaviours of looking and averting the gaze - often indiscernible to outsiders -are learned, imposed, and resisted by women and men across the generations and across the political spectrum.'

Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies, London College of Fashion, UAL. Author of Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures (Duke University Press, 2015)

'Azadeh Fatehrad shares her research with great sincerity. Her book gives a rare glimpse into some of the day-to-day affairs of Iranians - Iran is a huge topic and this is a very welcome addition to the growing literature about the country.'

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, professor, SOAS, University of London. Author of Psycho-Nationalism: Global Thought, Iranian Imaginations (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
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