A Question of Methodology: Feminist Studies of Gender and the State in Contemporary Iran

A conversation with Shirin Saeidi and Kristin Soraya Batmanghelichi
Thursday, February 23, 2012
6:30 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall

Sponsored by The Barnard Center for Research on Women.

Most feminist studies of post-1979 Iran focus on the legal setbacks that women encountered and their collective strategies for regaining the formal grounds they lost with the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran. Iranian women’s studies should not, however, only examine social movements and elite political action in its effort to decipher the post-revolutionary state. Researchers must also account for nonelite and individual political action in different spheres of daily life. This conversation examines conceptualizations and enactments of citizenship and nation-building in Iran from the 1980s to the present, highlighting the interplay between popular political interventions in local sites and the Islamic Republic’s state-building agendas since 1979 and engendering debates regarding the urgency in continually reconsidering and reinventing methodological approaches used in Iranian studies.

This event is part of BCRW’s Transnational Feminisms Initiative.

Shirin Saeidi’s research concentrates on gender, sexuality, and political violence in the Middle East, with a particular focus on post-1979 Iran. She completed her BA at the University of Maryland, College Park in government and politics and her MA at George Mason University in political science. Her doctoral thesis is entitled, “Hero of Her Own Story: Gender and State Formation in Contemporary Iran,” and has recently been submitted to the Board of Graduate Studies at Cambridge University, UK. She is the recipient of several research awards at Cambridge, and her 2010 paper in the journal Citizenship Studies was selected as the editor’s choice article of the edition. She is currently completing her forthcoming article “Reconsidering Categories of Analysis: Possibilities for Feminist Studies of Conflict.”

K. Soraya Batmanghelichi is a women’s activist and feminist scholar. She is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University in New York. Her research focuses on embodied politics, especially concerning how the body becomes a “taboo” construct in the Islamic Republic of Iran. At Columbia, she earned a Master of Arts in Human Rights, as well as a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies and a M.Phil in the same area. She is a Whiting Foundation Fellow for 2011-2012. Currently traveling between London and Tehran, she is writing her PhD thesis, entitled “Revolutions and Rough Cuts: Conceptualizing Women’s Bodies in Modern Iran.”

Feb. 23, 2012 - 6:30 PM