Questioning Liberalisms: Women’s Rights and Politics in Iran

A seminar with Associate Professor Arzoo Osanloo (University of Washington)

This talk will focus on the Iranian government’s aim of improving society through the rehabilitation of women, which was part of the anti-liberal tenor of the 1979 revolution. This discourse situated women’s roles and status as central to post-revolutionary state-building processes. While this agenda unified many revolutionaries and eventual leaders, it nonetheless led to subsequent compromises that have resulted in strategic shifts in citizens’ claims for equity and redress, especially women.

In the ensuing years, the state’s blended Islamic and republican institutions produced a new form of rights talk, one seemingly re-legitimated in the post-revolutionary era. The reform period (1997 – 2005), in particular, motivated a vocal women’s movement to seek redress for grievances in the form of rights. This talk will explore the shifting terrain of rights and the formation of subjectivities among women and activists today.


Arzoo Osanloo is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington’s Law, Societies, and Justice Program with adjunct appointments in the School of Law and Departments of Anthropology, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Women’s Studies, and Comparative Religion.

Published Sep. 11, 2012 3:23 PM - Last modified Sep. 11, 2012 3:23 PM