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Women with Mustaches and Men Without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity
Drawing from a rich array of visual and literary material from nineteenth-century Iran, this groundbreaking book rereads and rewrites the history of Iranian modernity through the lens of gender and sexuality. Peeling away notions of a rigid pre-modern Islamic gender system, Afsaneh Najmabadi provides a compelling demonstration of the centrality of gender and sexuality to t ...more
ebook, 377 pages
Published April 25th 2005 by University of California Press
(first published 2005)
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Relying primarily on textual references & visual representations, mainly-art and poetry, Afsaneh Najmabadi convincingly argues, how interaction with Europe changed the sexual landscape of Iran during the nineteenth-century, transforming the normalcy of homoerotic desires and practices into an abominable act and a national shame, ultimately culminating into heteronormalization. And, how the Iranian modernists came to accept the standards of European modernity and civilization. Najmabadi also ...more
Through a careful study of art, poetry, literature, and travelogues, Afsaneh Najmabadi demonstrates the prevalent non-heteronormative character of sexual desire in Qajar Iran. Modernists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries shunned male-male desire, usually characterized in poetry and art by the coupling of an adolescent male (amrad) and older male, as proof of Iran’s backwardness. With the end of gender segregation, modernists argued, males would no longer be forced to pursue yo ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Recommends it for: Feminists, Historians, Students of the Middle East
Recommended to Michael by: Karen Hagemann
I read this book late in my career as a grad student in history, and it was one of the better recent studies I saw demonstrating the use of gender as a category of analysis where previous scholars had found little to say about gender or even women. "The sources," feminist historians are frequently told, "are all about men." Najmabadi turns this conception of its head, as she demonstrates that Iranian notions of gender, gender-desire, and the role of women were far more fluid traditionally, and o ...more
Dec 24, 2010 Hafsa rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Najmabadi draws upon visual and literary material from nineteenth-century Iran during the Qajar period to demonstrate the centrality of gender and sexuality to the shaping of modern culture and politics in Iran. Najmabadi’s book has transformed and moved beyond the traditional historiography of gender in Muslim societies. Unlike other feminist historians of Iran who have traditionally been dedicated to exploring the role of women and their agency within heterosexual and patriarchal relations of ...more
One of the best histories of Iranian modernity and of 19th century Iran that pays particular attention to gender and sextuality. Highly recommended even if you are not particularly interested in Iranian history--this is a great analysis of modernity (whose other name might be globalatinization) as heteronormalization of eros, as the necessary violence for the establishment of heteronormative family as the habitat of homo modernus (that is to say homo economicus).
Apr 12, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women's/Gender/Sexuality Studies, historians
Recommended to Amy by: Read it for "History of Masculinities" with Louise Newman
This book's argument is pretty convincing, engaging, interesting, etc., but it's not the most well-written or well-organized book I've ever read. I think she uses too much passive voice and should have moved this one chapter to the back, but whatever.
Afsāneh Najmābādi (Persian: افسانه نجمآبادی) (born 1946) is an Iranian-American historian and gender theorist. She is professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. At present she chairs the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is further Associate Editor of Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, in six volumes.More about Afsaneh Najmabadi...