'Illegal' Traveller

The mixed voices in this book convey a warning for the future

This book is the outgrowth of my own ‘embodied experience of borders’, of ethnographic fieldwork among undocumented migrants between 2004 and 2008, and of teaching courses on irregular migration and the anthropology of borders. It also emerges from my activities outside academia: freelance journalism, helping arrange events such as film festivals about border crossing, and volunteer work for NGOs helping failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Sweden. In my years as an anthropologist, I have been astonished at how my informants’ experiences overlapped, confirmed, completed, and recalled my own experiences of borders>>>


Contemporary Iran

Book looks at sociopolitical landscape in twenty-first-century Iran

According to the back cover blurb, this book collects in one place the results of field work and insights of "both internationally renowned Iranian scholars and rising young Iranian academics ... As evident from the two chapters discussed in depth, the chapters in this volume vary greatly in their objectivity, completeness, and relevance. Nevertheless, this book is a head-and-shoulder above similar volumes published in recent years about the sociopolitical landscape in the twenty-first-century Iran. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about social and political issues in today's Iran>>>


'Rational' Americans vs 'Irrational’ Iranians

John Limbert's "Negotiating with Iran"

27-Jul-2010 (3 comments)
Despite Limbert’s unquestionable mastery of the subject, commendable intentions and deep affection for Iranians, it should be recognized that this book is written by an American diplomat for (primarily) American readers, in the vernacular they are at ease with. Its goal is not to make waves, or to challenge their self-perception, worldview, or institutionalized narrative. For an astute Iranian-American reader however, "Negotiating with Iran," with its mild tint of Orientalism and a patronizing tone, is somewhat unsettling: not necessarily offensive, but more like an alarm clock going off in a hazy Sunday morning>>>


Falling short

War on Error: Real stories of American Muslims

07-Jul-2010 (one comment)
The author decided to write this book when the events of September 11, 2001, created a distorted image of the life aspirations and loyalties of Muslim-Americans in the minds of many. This is clearly a worthy goal that has been addressed by other writers, and filmmakers, with mixed results. The author approaches her subject by presenting the life stories of 12 individuals: 7 women, 5 men. Those chosen include the author herself, her husband, and several very close friends. As such, these 12 people do not represent an unbiased cross-section of the Muslim-American community>>>


Live Generation

Thoughts on the 1979 Revolution

30-Jun-2010 (one comment)
I was only a boy in 1979, but the events that occurred during the overthrow of the Shah would shape how I was educated and would change all our lives almost overnight. When you ask those who lived through the Revolution what it was like, they often will tell you that one day the country was under the Shah’s rule, and the next day we lived under Islamic rule. All bets were off and it was a completely new game. I am often asked by people who are not from the Middle East how the Islamic regime could have taken power, and how they have stayed in power. The answer isn’t a simple one, but one that has many factors involved>>>


عشق واقعی فراتر از دین

ویس و رامین: شاهکار ادبی فراموش شده

25-Jun-2010 (3 comments)
بسیاری از ما ایرانیان از کودکی با داستانهای "لیلی و مجنون"، "یوسف و زلیخا" و حتی "رومئو ژولیت" آشنا بوده ایم، اما با برخی از داستانهای ایرانی الاصل آشنایی نداشته و نداریم. برای مثال، من به طور کاملا تصادفی با منظومه "ویس و رامین" آشنا شدم و متوجه شدم که داستانی از ایران باستان است. پس از خواندن منظومه، شروع به کنکاش کردم ومتوجه شدم که این داستان حقیقتا از نظر غالب مردم دور مانده و بسیاری افراد حتی اسم آن را هم نشنیده اند.>>>


Beyond Conspiracy Theories

Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited

15-Jun-2010 (26 comments)
The fall of Mosaddeq and the role of foreign forces and Iranians are still debated among scholars and politicians alike. Fifty seven years after August 19, 1953, the debate remains as fresh as the day that changed Iran. Darioush Bayandor has come up with a new book "Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited", in which argues the issues surrounding the events that led to the coup d’etat from a different perspective. Mr. Bayandor was an Iranian diplomat who held various posts at the United Nations during the Shah’s government>>>


Oily Relations

Insights into ties between Iran and the United States

15-Jun-2010 (one comment)
Roger Howard has a simple thesis: that it is Iran's natural resources, and not its nuclear program, that should inform the reaction of the West to its manipulative foreign policy and ambition for regional domination. In other words, by pursuing sanctions and other punitive measures, the United States may be misjudging Iran's real weapon (ample natural resources) and undermining its own power. The US trade embargoes on Iran benefit only the US's rivals, who will cheerfully take advantage of the vacuum through investments and trade partnerships. >>>


من و چهار شوهرم

صدای ناخرسندی زنان در باره سنت توهین کننده چند همسری

11-Jun-2010 (5 comments)
به گونه ای تصادفی، مقاله ای در مجله «مری کلر» با عنوان «چند همسری در اسلام» نظرم را به خود جلب کرد که به دیدگاه های یک روزنامه نگار عربستان سعودی به نام « نادین البدیر» پرداخته بود. در این مقاله آمده است که نویسنده فوق تلاش کرد تا با خلق یک ادعای خیالی پر هیاهو به واقعیت دردناک و ضد انسانی چند همسری در اسلام انتقاد کند. به عنوان یک ایرانی به ذهنم رسید که ماجرای فوق ربط زیادی با جامعه ایرانی ندارد ولی ... در بهت تاسف باری متوجه شدم که برداشت اولیه ام از واقعیت به دور است>>>


Rumi and Shams

Tribute to great sons of Persia

08-May-2010 (13 comments)
Delving into an in-depth discussion and analysis regarding the Erfân, Tasavvof, and Sufigary, which in the West, are often collectively referred to as Mysticism, Gnosticism, Sufism, or sometimes Dervishes’ thoughts, would have been beyond the scope of this work titled, “The Greatest Meeting”. Among the numerous books that have appeared in the West in the past few decades (mostly inept translations of Rumi’s poetry, or a few scholarly works on his life and time), it is challenging if not impossible to find a clear and convincing definition for these schools of thought>>>


Apocalyptic Islam

Interview with Abbas Amanat

06-May-2010 (one comment)
the doctrine of the “authority of the jurists” (vilayat-e faqih) was a clear example of this shift from legalism to political power; an attempt to become relevant and regain the lost privileges. Contrary to common misperceptions about the clergy’s opposition to the state, throughout its history the clerical establishment in Iran almost never entertained a claim over political power; an area that traditional Shi’i jurists for centuries tried to avoid... Vilayat-e faqih should thus be seen as an act of empowerment, a discovery of the political potency of an Islamic ideology, while bypassing legal modernity>>>


Hero Pizza

Excerpt from second novel

21-Apr-2010 (one comment)
There was no missing the restaurant on Ventura Boulevard. The typical modern storefront was converted into a Persian Palace by attaching plywood cutouts of columns and pointy arches to the exterior. The gold and white painted attachments looked like they were salvaged from a high school production of Arabian Nights. The restaurant was named after the snow-capped dormant volcano that towers above the city of Tehran, Damavand. My mom grew up at the foot of that mountain in fear it would erupt and take her away in a flood of molten lava>>>


More credit than they deserve

"The Politics of Iranian Cinema"

As I began reading this book in March 2010, I learned of the imprisonment of Jafar Panahi, a New-Wave Iranian filmmaker, along with several friends and members of his family. This made the subject matter of the book highly topical and quite relevant to today's political struggles in Iran. Further evidence of this topicality is the fact that Iranian government ministers have lost their posts or were impeached because of films. We learn from this book about two important genres of Iranian cinema: art films (made for the educated elite and film festivals), and social films>>>


Roxana's Worlds

I have no doubt Saberi was not a spy

08-Apr-2010 (14 comments)
It makes me wonder why a beautiful, successful young lady talented enough to earn the title of Miss North Dakota and seemingly enjoying all of life’s amenities in the United States would decide to live in a country like Iran, a well-known repressive regime with no reverence for human rights. I think only Roxana can answer this question and she has done a good job of doing so in this book. She writes eloquently about her love for her Iranian heritage, love of journalism, and more importantly, her desire to write a book about Iranian society>>>


Meddling Mollahs

Excerpt from "Persia Revisited"

02-Apr-2010 (2 comments)
A change is coming over the country in regard to popular feeling towards priestly interference in personal and secular affairs. The claim to have control of the concerns of all men may now be said to be but the first flush of the fiery zeal of divinity students, fresh from the red-hot teachings of bigoted Moulla masters, who regret the loss of their old supremacy, and view with alarm the spread of Liberalism, which seems now to be establishing itself in Persia. There are now signs of the people resenting the arrogant assumption or power by the Moullas, and freeing themselves from their thraldom>>>