On September 16, 2022, Mahsa Zhina Amini, a twenty-two-year-old woman from the Iranian province of Kurdistan, died in Tehran due to injuries incurred while in police custody. She was arrested three days earlier by the “morality police” for allegedly violating the state-enforced Islamic dress code. Her death, and the state response, angered many observers in Iran and around the world. It became the occasion of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement and its demands for systematic change. This Hot Spots series, an Editors’ Forum of the journal, Cultural Anthropology, offers a critical anthropology of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement. Curated by Milad Odabaei, it features eight original essays and an introduction. Now some months after its emergence, the collection aims to move beyond the initial framing of the protests in the discourses of the Global North. These discourses tend to treat “women,” “Islam,” and “Iran” as uniform and timeless units. They narrate the movement as the awakening of “Iranian women” against “the regime.” In contrast, the curated essays move closer to the lived realities and everyday struggles for recognitions that are born in the history of revolutionary Iran from the late nineteenth century to the present. They offer theorizations of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement that are internal to Iran as, at once, a geopolitical and imaginative terrain of language and debate with specific histories and traditions. In contrast to the Manichean framing of “women vs. the state,” the forum suggests that the Woman, Life, Freedom movement is a manifestation of the incapacitation of patriarchal “laws” of Iranian society—from the laws of the family to those of religion and the state—and that this unveiling in turn exposes the diversity of Iranian society in Iran and the diaspora.
Read the series here.
- Far Away, by Your Side: An Introduction and a Remembrance by Milad Odabaei
- Rights in the Age of Benevolence: Women's Revolutionary Uprisings in Iran by Arzoo Osanloo
- From the Perspective of Kinship: Violence as Unbearable Closeness by Setrag Manoukian
- Crossing the Red Lines by Chowra Makaremi
- Ambiguous Commitments: The Ambivalences of “Opposition” in Iran to the Women, Life, Freedom Movement by Simon Theobald
- A Global Rap-e Farsi Rises to Speak Truth to Power in Iran by Nahid Siamdoust
- Woman, Art, Freedom by Pamela Karimi
- On Unity & Fragmentation in the Iranian Diaspora by Amy Malek
- Of Common Pains and Common Dreams by Emad Mortazavi