The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman
Gender, State Policy, and Popular Culture, 1865-1946

Camron Michael Amin

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"Combining the best of archival research, oral history, and textual analysis, . . . Amin's text offers new avenues of inquiry into the relationship between modern states and the lives of their female citizens."--Lisa Pollard, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

"An imaginative and well-documented study of the development of modern Iranian womanhood [that] demonstrates the developing nature of the patriarchal obstacles in the way of women's emancipation as much as it reveals the dynamism and complexity of the Women's Awakening. "--Fatemeh Keshavarz, Washington University

The Women's Awakening Project in late 1930s Iran under Reza Shah Pahlavi is the focus of this historical look at the emergence of the modern concept of womanhood in Iran. Amin's extensive research confirms that Reza Shah's controversial attempt to forcibly westernize Iranian women, and not the pre-revolutionary 1970's, marked the turning point for "the woman question" in Iran.

Drawing on a combination of archival data, oral history, diplomatic sources, and contemporary press reports, Amin's is the first book to explore the Women's Awakening Project in such detail. By illustrating Reza Shah's efforts both to emancipate and to control Iranian women, the book raises new questions about the relationship between the Iranian state and its female citizens. Amin breaks new ground in the study of Iranian history by examining the links between state policy, popular culture, and individual memory. This highly readable book also provides crucial background for understanding the current debate between "hardliners" and "reformers" in Iran.

Camron Michael Amin, assistant professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, is the director of the Modern Middle East Source Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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"an excellent feminist historiography of Iran upon which further research must be built." - Choice

"Since the advent of the Islamic Republic a great number of books and articles have been written on women and Iran. The present book is the most comprehensive and original of them all, both in the sources used and in content." - Middle East Journal
--Middle East Journal

"An excellent source for students of Iranian history from a gender perspective, academics, and those who wish to understand contemporary political issues in Iran." "Also recommended for those who wish to learn about contemporary Iran more generally."
--The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

"Definitely one of the best books that have been written on gender and identity in Modern Iran." "Original, well-researched, and relevant not only for scholars of Iran but also for anyone interested in the problematic constellation of nineteenth- and twentieth-century developing-world nationalisms, gender, and Western-identified modernity more generally." "A superb, focused study."
--H-Net Book Review

"By looking at the origins of women's activism in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Camron Amin's book advances the debate on feminism and women's political empowerment in modern Iranian society and sheds light on the early history of the subject… Carefully researched, well written, and enlightening on numerous issues. It provides a useful discussion of a heated and ongoing debate in modern Iranian and Middle Eastern historiography."
--International Journal of Middle East Studies

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