Volume 46, Issue 1, 2013

  • Articles

  • The Unintended Consequences of US-led Sanctions on Iranian Industries

    This paper aims to understand the consequences of US-led sanctions on two important industries in Iran: the oil and gas industry and power plant construction. Using qualitative methods and providing empirical evidence, this paper demonstrates the shortcomings of the pro-sanctions argument in the Iranian context. This paper argues that pro-sanctions literature is more inclined towards American politics; it ignores socially recurring effects such as empowering self-reliance in the target country. In the Iranian context, while sanctions regimes are beyond the control or power of industry managers, they have acted as a double-edged sword. On one hand, the sanctions have imposed extra costs on domestic companies in acquiring technological knowledge. On the other hand, they have stimulated policy-makers' determination and empowered a self-reliance doctrine amongst them.

  • Women in Praise of Women: Female Poets and Female Patrons in Qajar Iran

    This study examines the poetry of two women of nineteenth-century Iran—one royal, one non-royal—and the women patrons for whom they composed praise poetry. Through the reconstruction of female-centered patronage networks and associated female-only performance venues, and via an examination of the active roles played by female patrons both in affairs of state and in the management of the immense royal harem, this study highlights the various ways in which members of several generations of women in Qajar Iran were involved in the production, dissemination and appreciation of poetry. It is argued here that these patronage and poetry production networks should be read as evidence of a female-centered literary tradition, one that was in dialogue with (and often intersected) the dominant male tradition; one that empowered the women actors within it to create a sisterhood of poets through which their art could be passed on from mother to daughter, and from daughter to granddaughter (and occasionally from mother to son).


  • Guest Editor's Introduction: Iranian Diaspora Studies

  • Good Iranian, Bad Iranian: Representations of Iran and Iranians in Time and Newsweek (1998–2009)

    This article analyzes the ways in which Iran and Iranians are represented in Western news media sources. Through detailed textual analysis of articles in Time and Newsweek between 1998 and 2009, it demonstrates that journalistic representations of Iran and Iranians are not simply efforts aimed at describing the real Iran, but rather form the basis of what Said refers to as a powerful “community of interpretation” that often reflects and reproduces certain xenophobic stereotypes of non-Western foreign subjects. While some shifts in Western media representations of Iranians have occurred in the thirty years since the revolution, the underlying ontological assumptions of these representations have remained remarkably durable. That is to say, the dominant representational discourse found in these newsmagazines depicts the political behavior of Iranians on the basis of essentialized notions of Persian and/or Islamic civilization, while very often emphasizing the taken for granted superiority of the West. Earlier Orientalist discourses focus on the difference of non-Western foreign subjects by denigrating them as fundamentally anti-modern and incapable of political, cultural and economic development without Western intervention. This article presents an unmistakable discursive pattern in American journalism whereby certain Iranians are incorporated into Western civilization by virtue of their embrace of a Western modernity.

  • De-censoring an Iranian-American “Memoir”: Authorship and Synchronicity in Shahriar Mandanipour's Censoring an Iranian Love Story

    In the literature of the Iranian-American diaspora, the memoir genre has become a predominant lens through which Western audiences “read” contemporary Iran. While many bestselling life narratives have relied on hostage crisis-era tropes of gendered repression and subsequent liberation in exile, new amalgams of style and theme, distortions of perspective, and complicated renderings of the “subject” are now beginning to cross borders. One of these is Shahriar Mandanipour's 2009 novel, Censoring an Iranian Love Story, which this paper examines as an auto-fictional commentary on the memoir genre that both arises from and responds directly to censorship using a self-referential and layered text. Through three central dialectics—ambiguous violence, encoded desire and resistance to diachronic historicization alongside the nation—this paper demonstrates how Mandanipour's auto-fictional and often magical realist attempts elude what Gillian Whitlock terms the transnational “economy of affect” that publicizes, protects and ultimately drives the reception of memoir across borders.

  • Locating Home in a “Digital Age”: An Ethnographic Case Study of Second-Generation Iranian Americans in LA and their Use of Internet Media

    This paper explores how children of Iranian immigrants engage with internet media in processes of identity formation. It conceptually centralizes places of home in order to bring together literatures on diaspora and digital media in order to understand the case of the second-generation immigrant home. It argues that this partially mediated home is both connected/mobile and emplaced/embodied. It is in this sense that the article discusses processes of locating home, in the sense of both a narrated discovery and a materially situated formation. The findings are generated from ethnographic fieldwork among second-generation Iranian Americans in Los Angeles carried out over a period of twelve months as part of an ongoing doctoral project with a focus on respondents' everyday practices of internet usage.

  • Coffee Shops and Cigarettes: On the ‘Return’ to Tehran of Young Diasporic Iranians

    This essay explores the experiences of a young community of diasporic Iranians living and working in Tehran during the years 2007–2009 when the author lived there. Through analysis of the lived experiences of this group, the article highlights a unique experience that is often absent from current discussions of “diaspora.” In the preliminary research, a redeployment of often taken-for-granted concepts such as “home” and “abroad” are proposed and a conceptualization of migration and diaspora that problematizes stasis and movement is reconsidered.


  • Blogistan: The Internet and Politics in Iran

  • Women and Politics in Iran: Veiling, Unveiling, and Reveiling

  • On the High Road. The History of Godin Tepe, Iran

  • Testfall fur die “Grossen Drei”: Die Besetzung Irans durch Briten, Sowjets und Amerikaner 1941–1946

  • Shi‘i Jurisprudence and Constitution: Revolution in Iran

  • Kurdish Reader: Modern Literature and Oral Texts in Kurmanji