Women in Place: The Politics of Gender Segregation in Iran
A Thursday seminar with Dr. Nazanin Shahrokni
While much has been written about the impact of the 1979 Islamic revolution on life in Iran, discussions about the everyday life of Iranian women have been glaringly missing. Through a retelling of the past four decades of the state's gender segregation policies, Dr. Shahrokni throws into sharp relief the ways in which the state strives to constantly regulate and contain women’s bodies and movements within the boundaries of the “proper” but simultaneously invests in and claims credit for their expanded access to public spaces. In this lecture, she takes us onto gender-segregated buses, inside women-only parks, and outside men-only sports stadiums, and pushes us to contemplate the changing place of women in a social order shaped by capitalism, state-sanctioned Islamism, and debates about women’s rights. The Islamic character of the state, she demonstrates, has had to coexist, fuse, and compete with technocratic imperatives, pragmatic considerations regarding the viability of the state, international influences, and global trends.
Nazanin Shahrokni is Assistant Professor of Gender and Globalisation and Director of MSc Programme in Gender and Gender Research at the London School of Economics. She is the author of the award-winning book, Women in Place: The Politics of Gender Segregation in Iran (University of California Press 2020) which offers a gripping inquiry into gender segregation policies and women’s rights in contemporary Iran. Her research interests fall at the intersection of feminist geography, critical policy analysis, and ethnographies of the state. Her publications have appeared in Globalizations, Contemporary Ethnography, Current Sociology, and the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. Nazanin serves on the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association and is on the advisory board of Middle East Law and Governance, as well, the Global Dialogue.