Recorded: December 4, 2023
Event: Bilingual Lecture Series
by Azadeh Kian (University Paris Cité)
Rethinking Gender, Ethnicity and Religion in Iran
Rethinking Gender, Ethnicity and Religion in Iran: An Intersectional Approach to National Identity by Azadeh Kian examines the crucial shifts that affected Sunnite and subaltern women once Shi’ism became the state religion after the Iranian Revolution. Focusing on women in the Baluchistan and Golestan provinces of Iran, Kian analyses and explores issues of cultural racialization, ethno-centrism, Shi’a centrism, and patriarchal and chauvinistic ideologies in Iranian society propagated by the state and sustained by its policies. Based on quantitative and qualitative surveys taken throughout Iran, comprised of over 7,000 married women and 100 interviews with a sample of Sunnite and subaltern Persian women, Kian reveals how social hierarchy and power relations based on gender, class, ethnicity and religion operate. She argues that women have been at the heart of the process of national and ethnic re-construction as women, as potential mothers, are expected to reproduce national and ethnic boundaries. Kian also examines the family institution as a site of power, and argues that by analyzing family dynamics as well as women’s everyday lives, the politics of ordinary Iranians and the relationship between state and society can be better understood.