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Temporary Marriage in Iran
Gender and Body Politics in Modern Iranian Film and Literature


Part of The Global Middle East

  • Date Published: March 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108738439

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About the Authors
  • Proposing a methodology that brings feminist theories of embodiment to bear on the Iranian literary and cinematic tradition, this study examines temporary marriage in Iran, not just as an institution but also as a set of practices, identities and meanings that have transformed over the course of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Based on analysis of novels and short stories from the Pahlavi era, and cinematic works produced after the Islamic Revolution, Claudia Yaghoobi looks at the representation of the sigheh women, or those who entered into temporary marriages. Each work reflects the manner in which the practice of sigheh impacts women by calling into question how sexuality works as a form of political analysis and power, revealing how a sigheh woman's sexual bodily autonomy is used as ammunition against what governments deem inappropriate gendered expression. While focusing mainly on modern Iranian cultural productions, Yaghoobi moves beyond the literary and cinematic realms to offer an in-depth examination of this controversial social institution which has been the subject of disdain for many Iranian feminists and captured the imagination of many Western observers.

    • Brings feminist theories of embodiment to bear on the Iranian literary and cinematic tradition to understand the concept and practise of temporary marriage in Iran
    • Examines the representation of sigheh women within novels and short stories from the Pahlavi era and cinematic works produced after the Islamic Revolution
    • Breaks away from standard narratives about Iranian female sexuality to offer a new perspective on definitions of Iranian womanhood
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Yaghoobi's mastery over her source material is impressive, and the many ways in which she brings Persian realist fiction of the early and mid-twentieth century into meaningful dialogue with post-revolutionary cinema are admirable. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the social and political debates around gender and the female body in contemporary Iran.' Dominic Parviz Brookshaw, University of Oxford

    'What distinguishes Claudia Yaghoobi's winning storytelling and her original contribution to our knowledge of women, sexuality and temporary marriage in Iran, is her skillful analysis and highly engaging interpretations of sigheh women's paradoxical role at the margin of society yet at the center of male fantasy.' Shahla Haeri, Boston University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108738439
    • length: 310 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue: sexpionage and the female body
    Part I. General Overview: Introduction: body politics and sigheh marriages
    1. Sigheh marriages in modern Iran
    Part II. Representation of Sigheh/Sex Work in the Literature of Pahlavi Era:
    2. Gendered violence in Moshfeq-e Kazemi's Tehran-e Makhuf
    3. The volatile sigheh/sex workers' bodies in Jamalzadeh's Ma'sumeh Shirazi
    4. Colonized bodies in Al-e Ahmad's 'Jashn-e Farkhonde'
    5. The grotesque sigheh/sex workers' bodies in Golestan's 'Safar-e 'Esmat'
    6. Bodily inscriptions in Chubak's Sang-e Sabur
    Part III. The Islamic Republic and Sigheh in Film Industry:
    7. Whose body matters in Afkhami's Showkaran
    8. Embodiment, power, and politics in Farahbakhsh's Zendegi-ye Khosusi
    Reclaiming the female body via writing.

  • Author

    Claudia Yaghoobi, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Claudia Yaghoobi is Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Subjectivity in 'Attar, Persian Sufism, and European Mysticism (2017), co-editor of Sex and Marriage in the Medieval Islamicate World: Women, Family, and Love (with Aisha Musa, forthcoming), co-editor of the book series, Sex, Marriage and Culture in the Middle East, and winner of the Hammed Shahidian Critical Feminist prize, awarded by the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation in 2014.

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