BOOK 1 IRAN - Women_and_Politics_in_Iran-_Veiling_Unveiling_and_Reveiling_Hamideh_Sedghi.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X This page intentionally left blank ii May 21, 2007 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 Women and Politics in Iran Veiling, Unveiling, and Reveiling Why were urban women veiled in the early 1900s, unveiled from 1936 to 1979, and reveiled after the 1979 Revolution? This question forms the basis of Hamideh Sedghi’s original and unprecedented contribution to politics and Middle Eastern studies. Using primary materials gathered from field research, interviews, and oral history collections and secondary sources in Persian and English, Sedghi offers new knowledge on women’s agency in relation to state power. In this rigorous analysis of gender politics from the last years of the Qajar dynasty to the Pahlavi period and the current Islamic regime, she places contention over women at the center of the political struggle between secular and religious forces and compellingly demonstrates that control over women’s identities, sexuality, and labor has been central to the consolidation of state power, both domestically and internationally. In contrast to Orientalist scholars who view Middle Eastern women as victims, and in opposition to Western policy makers who claim that aggressive incursions into the region will help liberate women, Sedghi links politics and culture with economics to present an integrated analysis of the private and public lives of different classes of women and their modes of resistance to state power. For Sedghi, politics matters to gender, and gender matters to politics. Hamideh Sedghi is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a former Visiting Scholar at Columbia University. A professor of political science, her previous teaching venues include Villanova University, University of Richmond, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Vassar College. She is the first Iranian female in the United States who wrote on women in Iran from a social science perspective. Author of numerous publications, Sedghi is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the 2005 Christian Bay Award for the Best Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Meeting. i 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X ii May 21, 2007 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X Women and Politics in Iran Veiling, Unveiling, and Reveiling HAMIDEH SEDGHI iii May 21, 2007 9:38 CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York Information on this title: © Hamideh Sedghi 2007 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published in print format 2007 eBook (EBL) ISBN-13 978-0-511-29503-4 ISBN-10 0-511-29503-0 eBook (EBL) ISBN-13 ISBN-10 hardback 978-0-521-83581-7 hardback 0-521-83581-X Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X To the beloved memory of Baba, Hossein Sedghi (1300/1921–1354/1975), and Maman, Afsar Shishehchi (1307/1928–1375/1996) v May 21, 2007 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X vi May 21, 2007 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 Contents Acknowledgments Transliteration and References Introduction page xi xv 1 PART I. WOMEN IN EARLY TWENTIETH-CENTURY IRAN 1. The Qajar Dynasty, Patriarchal Households, and Women Veiling Women and Work Women and Religion National and International Politics The Constitutional Revolution and Women’s Participation Reforms and Men’s, Not Women’s, Suffrage Feminism 25 26 29 34 40 42 47 50 PART II. WOMEN IN THE KINGDOM OF THE PEACOCK THRONE 2. The Pahlavi Dynasty as a Centralizing Patriarchy 61 Reza Shah: Power and Politics State-Building, Westernization, Repression, and Emasculation Women’s Work, Education, and Legal Reforms Independent Women’s Activities and “State Feminism” Unveiling World War II, Dynastic Changes, and New Feminisms Defeat of Women’s Suffrage, Mosaddegh, and the CIA Coup 62 64 67 76 84 90 95 vii 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X Contents viii 3. 4. 5. May 21, 2007 Economic Development and the Gender Division of Labor 99 Integration into World Capitalism The Shah and Economic Development Urbanization The Gender Division of Labor: The Household The Gender Division of Labor: The Labor Force Division of Labor by Major Economic Sectors and Class The Industrial Sector and Women The Service Sector and Women Division of Labor by Marital Status and Life Cycle 100 103 106 108 112 114 115 119 125 The State and Gender: Repression, Reform, and Family Legislation 128 The State and Gender State-Religion Conflict The White Revolution and the Opposition The Family Protection Laws Adultery, Rape, and Prostitution in the Penal Code Women and Labor Legislation 129 131 133 134 141 145 Women and the State 152 Women’s Suffrage and Political Inequality Women’s Agency Conformist Women Elite Women Women’s Organization of Iran Women in the State Apparatus Nonconformist Women Secular Left Women Secular Independent Women Women of the Religious Opposition 154 160 162 163 168 173 179 181 187 193 PART III. WOMEN IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN 6. 7. Women, the 1979 Revolution, and the Restructuring of Patriarchy 199 The Revolution and Its Discontents State-Building, Islamization, and Gender Reveiling Sexuality, Mobilization, and Gender Police 202 206 209 214 The Gender Division of Labor 221 International Political Economy and Economic Changes Shifts in the Gender Division of Labor 222 225 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X Contents 8. May 21, 2007 ix Women’s Labor The Household The Marketplace The Informal Labor Market Contradictions 228 229 232 237 240 Politics and Women’s Resistance 245 Women’s Resistance Opponent Women Revolutionaries Rebels Reformers Proponent Women Devouts Trespassers 246 249 250 253 255 261 264 267 Conclusion 272 Glossary Selected Bibliography Interviews Documents, Books, and Articles Newspaper and Magazine Articles Films, Videos, Radio Reports, and Web Sites Index 289 295 295 295 315 319 321 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X x May 21, 2007 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 Acknowledgments Over the past two and a half decades when there was hardly material in Persian or English on the subject matter, I began to research and write on women in Iran, which eventually led to the birth of this book. During this time, I have been extremely fortunate to have had the intellectual and emotional support of many friends, colleagues, and relatives in both Iran and the United States. I am deeply grateful for their encouragement, comments, critiques, and constructive suggestions, and their great sense of humor. I would like to thank Ahmad Ashraf, Amrita Basu, the late Christian Bay, Hester Eisenstein, Eric Foner, Lynn Garafola, Amy Hackett, Mary Hegland, Joan Hoffman, Fatemeh Moghadam, the late Dankwart A. Rustow, Anne Sassoon, Jonathan Scott, Madeleine Tress, and Victor Wallace. I am indebted to them for their intellectual rigor, reading chapters or sections or the entire manuscript at its different stages, and offering probing questions, critiques, and editorial advice. I also appreciate the support and interesting remarks that Richard Bulliet, Mark Kesselman, Robert Lieberman, Robert Y. Shapiro, and Jack Snyder provided while I was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Department of Political Science. As a new Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, I am grateful to Roy Mottahedeh, Steven Caton, Susan Kahn, and Sara Roy for their support and valuable interaction. My Women and Development group in New York – some permanent and others temporary members – the late Phyllis Andors, Lourdes Bene¨ ¨ ¯ ria, Gunseli Berik, Nilufer C ¸ agatay, Nadine Felton, Helen Safa, Gita Sen, Jayne Warner, and Nancy Weigersma, offered tremendous energy and appreciation of gender. Our monthly meetings over a decade provided xi 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi xii 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 Acknowledgments not only intellectual nourishment on reading about women and development issues, but an opportunity to read, discuss, and critique each other’s work, including earlier versions of some of the chapters of this book. Colleagues and friends in Middle Eastern women’s studies, Iranian women’s studies, women and gender studies, and Iranian studies contributed important insights on a range of issues related to the book. My gratitude goes to Nancy Breen, Francine D’Amico, Jennifer Leigh Disney, Erika Friedl, Amany Jamal, Jo Freeman, Mehrangiz Kar, the late Parvin Paidar, and Ruth Ross. I owe a special word of thanks to Irving Leonard Markovitz, who, as a superlative human being, the reader of my dissertation, and a mentor and subsequently a friend and colleague, offered his consistent help and support throughout my academic career. I am also grateful to my editor at Cambridge, Lewis Bateman, who remained patient and positive, and members of the production and editorial staff for their tremendous assistance. My biggest debt is to my cherished friend, Marion Kaplan. She read the book, cover to cover, and offered enormous intellectual and moral support. She generously made herself available to read and reread my drafts and made valuable comments. Her tactful and continuous reminder, “how is the book coming along?,” gave me encouragement to move forward with this long journey and the never-ending process of completing this book. I would like to express to her my heart-felt gratitude. Thanks also goes to the American Political Science Association’s Caucus for New Political Science for offering me the Christian Bay Award for the 2005 Best Paper, which was based on the last two chapters of the book. The Gender and Globalization Summer Institute that Sachuta Mazundar organized at Duke University provided valuable feedback on various arguments. Over the years, my students and their willingness to explore new territory contributed much to the energy that went into the making of this book. I thank the participants in my Women and Development, Gender and Politics in the Middle East, and other related courses. My hardworking graduate teaching/research assistant, Nilay Saiya, helped me overcome the technical challenges and last-minute details of producing a book. I could always rely on him to meticulously review material, convert it from Nota Bene to Microsoft Word, and help with its nuances. Thanks also to Goran Peic for converting my bibliography, and to Rachel Schaller for technical assistance. 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi Acknowledgments 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 xiii Many Iranians inside the country contributed to the making of this book. For various reasons I cannot mention all their names. Nevertheless, I acknowledge here my greatest appreciation, particularly to Nooshin Ahmadi Khorasani, Shahla Sherkat, and A’zam Taleghani, as well as editorial members of various feminist publications and many other organizations and institutions. Last but not least, I want to thank my immediate and extended family for their love and sustained support. My sister, Haideh Sedghi, offered continued affection and moral sustenance. She sent me books, manuscripts, and pamphlets from Iran prior to and immediately after the Revolution and kept me updated with her intelligent conversations and news. My brother, Mohammad Ali (Mamal) Sedghi, presented a great gift when he hand copied an entire pamphlet because I could not do so in Iran. My uncle, Abbas Sedghi, introduced me to his colleagues and librarians at the University of Tehran, and his spouse, Fatemeh Erfan, lent her books and shared her experiences as a former Deputy Mayor of Tehran. My late grandmothers and especially my late aunt, Keshvar Shisheh’ie, divulged the stories of their upbringing and lives. More than anyone else, my late mother, Afsar Shishehchi, continued to remind me of her and her relatives’ experiences in a male-dominated society. But the spirit behind this book is that of my father, who from the earliest days encouraged the intellectual commitments of “the dear light of my eyes,” as he referred to me. Unfortunately, neither survived to see this book. 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X xiv May 21, 2007 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 Transliteration and References The transliteration of Persian and Arabic words widely used in Persian generally follows the system suggested by the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. For reasons of simplicity, I have eliminated diacritical signs with the exception of those standing for Persian glottal stops represented by hamze and ein. For these exceptions, as well as for a more precise transliteration of Persian diphthongs, I have consulted L. P. ElwellSutton and have relied on my own knowledge of Persian.1 Translations and transliterations of Iranian titles, words, names, and concepts are given in parentheses (e.g., zan, meaning woman) in the text, notes, and bibliography. Familiar variant names follow the spellings as used by the individuals in question (e.g., Mohammad Reza Shah). In the case of dual languages, I have followed their respective method of transliteration (e.g., Keyhan). Persian and Arabic words commonly used in English are spelled as they sound in Persian (e.g., Qoran), except when they appear differently in citations (e.g., Qur’an). The Glossary highlights my transliteration of the Persian pronunciation of both Persian and Arabic words. Nevertheless, when references are general, the English term, like “clergy,” is used for convenience. Because of space consideration, not all titles are transliterated. But important titles to the reader are transliterated. The footnotes are constructed differently. In order to save space, I merged several references in the same paragraph. An identifying word or phrase is used to refer to the exact sentence I used in the text. If the identifying word or phrase is based on a specific citation, it is in quotes; 1 Elwell-Sutton, L.P., entire. xv 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xpre CUNY636B/Sedghi xvi 0 521 83581 X May 21, 2007 Transliteration and References otherwise, it is not. In addition, titles of books/articles are not generally included in the notes, especially that they appear in the Selected Bibliography. When more than one publication is used by the same author, a portion of the title of her/his work appears in the notes as well. Finally, when I refer to the entire article or a book, I refrain from including any specific page numbers. In contrast, page numbers are included when I refer to a specific citation and/or idea. The Selected Bibliography includes full citations of sources. 9:38 P1: SBT 052183581Xint CUNY636B/Sedghi 0 521 83581 X May 20, 2007 Introduction Born at the turn of the twentieth-century in Tehran and confined to the private world of the family, my veiled grandmother took lessons in her native Persian language from a tutor at her parents’ home. More mobile, my mother welcomed the opportunity to attend school, to and from which she was always escorted. In 1936 when she was almost nine years old, she later recalled, a local gendarme stopped her, admonishing her to abandon the chador in favor of complete unveiling. My own experiences have been vastly different but in some ways similar. I received a superior education, but until the last two years of high school, I was always accompanied. I wore a knee-length school uniform with my hair uncovered, except in mosques or in neighborhoods with major Shi’i shrines, where I had to wear the chador. Hardly changing my appearance when I left my American university for Iran during the 1979 Revolution, I carried a shawl in my bag to ward off unpleasant encounters. Home after twelve years of exile, I was wearing a black, loose and long tunic to conduct interviews at the University of Tehran when I was approached by a contentious Islamic revolutionary guard who had determined that I was improperly veiled: “Sister, pull your scarf over your forehead to hide your hair completely,” he commanded. Hearing similar remarks in 1997 and 2002 but to a lesser degree in 2005, I concluded: history repeats itself, though with twists and not always following the same scripts. These family stories represent cataclysmic experiences in Iranian history and women’s lives during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The first Iranian woman in the United States who wrote on women in Iran from a social science perspective, I am still seeking to delve into new 1 11:35 P1: SBT 052183581Xint CUNY636B/Sedghi 2 0 521 83581 X May 20, 2007 Women and Politics in Iran territory.1 For me, these memories raise a key question. Why were urban Iranian women veiled at the turn of the century, unveiled from 1936 to 1979, and reveiled after the Revolution of 1979? Clearly the veil possessed significance greater than merely a cover to cloak the appearance of a Muslim woman, or – as Frantz Fanon argued – to protect her from the eyes of infidels or colonizers. Conversely, the importance of unveiling transcends its association with secularism, Westernism, and modernism. Reveiling, too, means far more than the resurgence of “Islamic fundamentalism” or a return of cultural authenticity and Islamic revivalism. This book will show the connection among politics, religion, and gender.2 Significant metaphorically and literally, veiling, unveiling, and reveiling illuminate the contest for political power in the course of Iran’s development. During and immediately after the Constitutional Revolution (1905– 11), concerns regarding veiling and women’s subordinate social and political position fostered challenges to the established power structure and the religious establishment. Later, state-sponsored unveiling contributed to the Westernization posture of the Pahlavi dynasty (1925–79) and its apparent victory over the clergy. The state-mandated reveiling embodied the Islamic identity of the succeeding polity (1979–), accompanied by the restoration of juridical and de facto gender segregation. From the early twentieth-century to the present, therefore, various forms of veiling draw attention to the continuing quest for political power between the state and religion especially over women’s sexuality and their labor. Gender remains a core concern of politics. Gender analysis illuminates politics and power struggle: who gets, what, how, when, and why. Veiling, unveiling, and reveiling also deserve special attention because of their extraordinary significance for the history of women’s agency, their responses to the state and clergy, and their attempts to carve out their own place in society and the marketplace. During the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Iranian women displayed varied political positions. Class background, philosophical persuasion, and political alliance often divided women. Yet some women transcended their differences and joined in common causes defying and subverting culture, politics, and institutions. At the turn of the last century, reacting to patriarchal dominatory tendencies and national and political crises, a handful of women from wealthy households joined open or secret societies, while others 1 2 First Iranian woman, Sedghi, “Women in...
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