Adelkhah, Fariba 1959-

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ADELKHAH, Fariba 1959-

PERSONAL: Born April 25, 1959, in Teheran, Iran; immigrated to France, 1977. Education: University of Teheran, baccalaureat in literature, 1976; University of Humanist Science, Strasbourg, France, diploma of French studies, 1979, B.A., 1983; École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, M.A., 1984, Ph.D. (social anthropology), 1990.

ADDRESSES: Office—National Foundation of Political Science, 56 Rue Jacob, 75006 Paris, France. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: National Foundation of Political Science, Paris, France, researcher, 1993—.

WRITINGS:

La révolution sous le voile: femmes Islamiques d'Iran, Karthala (Paris, France), 1991.

Un péril Islamiste? Editions Complexe (Brussels, Belgium), 1994.

Etre moderne en Iran, Karthala (Paris, France), 1998, translation by Jonathan Derrick published as Being Modern in Iran, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With François Georgeon) Ramadan et politique, CNRS Editions (Paris, France), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: A longtime resident of France, Fariba Adelkhah was born in Iran and retains a strong interest in the ways Iranians, especially women, have reacted to the sweeping changes ushered in by the overthrow of the Shah. An active participant in the Iranian Revolution, Adelkhah has traveled back numerous times, bringing her sociological training to bear in studying and explaining the ways Iranians have adjusted to living in an Islamic state.

In La révolution sous le voile: femmes Islamiques d'Iran Fariba presents the results of numerous interviews with Iranian women conducted in the mid-1980s. Many of these women, supporters of the Iranian revolution, see Islam as an essentially egalitarian religion, though in need of new interpretation. Indeed, Adelkhah finds that the whole "women question" has been opened as never before, and the women in these pages have found a new voice as a result of their revolutionary activities and, for some, their participation in the Iran-Iraq War. The diverse voices presented in the book reflect the many ways in which people reshape official doctrines and ideologies in their actual lives. In addition to the interviews, "the book's strength is that it draws on a wide range of sources that include Iranian and Western academic literature, popular Iranian media (especially women's journals), graffiti and Islamic apologetics," explained MAN contributor Azam Torab Kheradpir. It "deserves to be made widely available to English-speaking readers through a competent translation, as a badly needed corrective to the prevalent view of women as mere victims of Iran's revolution," concluded Middle East Journal contributor Nesta Ramazani.

In 1997 the Iranians themselves dramatically exposed the social and political tensions brewing below their society's monolithic surface when they elected Mohammad Khatami as president, firmly rejecting the Islamic regime's approved candidate. For Adalkhah it was another indicator of the complexities in Iranian politics and society, and she sets out to convey some of those complexities in Being Modern in Iran, "a particularly sophisticated and innovative study of contemporary Iranian life," according to Middle East Quarterly contributor Daniel Pipes. Using case studies and an encyclopedic knowledge of Iranian politics, Adalkhah shows how officials are capable of working within supposedly medieval stricture s to administer a modern state. At the same time, she illustrates ways in which the Islamic Republic's social policies have actually created space in which private citizens can redefine and reinterpret Islamic doctrines to accommodate an increasingly urban, educated, and bureaucratic society. "This social perspective on the nature of change, moving away from an institutional and state-centered focus, is indeed refreshing, if occasionally bewildering," wrote Times Literary Supplement reviewer Ali Ansari. Being Modern in Iran "ought to be required reading for anyone wanting to understand the political and social changes in Iran during the past two decades," Eric Hoogland suggested in the Journal of Palestine Studies.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Journal of Palestine Studies, summer, 2000, Eric Hoogland, review of Being Modern in Iran, p. 118.

MAN, December, 1992, Azam Torab Kheradpir, review of La révolution sous le voile: femmes Islamiques d'Iran, p. 893.

Middle East Journal, spring, 1993, Nesta Ramazani, review of La révolution sous le voile: femmes Islamiques d'Iran, pp. 336-37.

Middle East Quarterly, June, 2000, Daniel Pipes, review of Being Modern in Iran, p. 118.

Times Literary Supplement, May 24, 2002, Ali Ansari, "There Is No Religion without Justice," p. 26.*