Ramazani, Nesta 1932-

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RAMAZANI, Nesta 1932-

PERSONAL: Born July 21, 1932, in Manchester, England; U.S. citizen; daughter of Manuchehr (in import-export business) and Winnifred (a homemaker; maiden name, Burton) Shahrokh; married, March 21, 1952; children: Vaheed K., David K., R. Jahan, Sima. Ethnicity: "White." Education: University of Virginia, M.A. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, teaching dance (ballet), playing piano.

ADDRESSES: Home—1140 Mountain Rd., Charlottes-ville, VA 22901; fax: 434-295-2025. E-mail—[email protected] virginia.edu.


CAREER: Independent writer and lecturer. Member of Focus Women's Resource Center and University of Virginia Women's Center.


MEMBER: American Association of University Women, Association for Middle East Women's Studies, Middle East Institute.


WRITINGS:

Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights, Iran-books, 1997.
The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale (memoir), Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 2002.


Contributor to books. Contributor to periodicals, including Middle East Journal, Middle East Insight, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Affairs, and Levant.


WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on women in Iran and their human rights.


SIDELIGHTS: Nesta Ramazani told CA: "As the daughter of an Iranian Zoroastrian father and an English mother, and as one who grew up largely in Iran but attended an American missionary school, I have always had a bifurcated view of events in the Middle East. As a consequence, I have often found myself in a unique position to portray and interpret Middle Eastern societies to Western audiences. Thus my first book, Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights, introduced the savory fragrances and exotic delights of Persian cuisine to American kitchens. In my numerous articles on Middle Eastern women I have tried to empathize with the feelings and outlook of my interlocutors, many of whom are struggling with the dilemma of adhering to tradition even while modernizing at a dizzingly rapid pace. In my latest book, The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale, I attempt to weave social, cultural, and political history into a memoir covering my early life in Iran. What inspired me to write this memoir was the unusual experience I had as a young teenager when, as a founding member of Iran's first ballet company, I broke ancient taboos by dancing on the stage in a Muslim country where such performances by 'good girls' were unthinkable."

"Now more than ever before, Americans, understandably, view the Muslim world with suspicion. In my writings, I hope to bring some measure of appreciation to my American readers of the rich and diverse cultures of the Middle East, of the extraordinary ways in which rapid modernization is tearing at the social fabric of these societies, upsetting their equilibrium, and of the heroic efforts these people are making to address the numerous problems and dilemmas they face.


"The literary influences on my writing have been many, including not only the giants of Western literature whose works I spent many happy hours reading, but also the great poets of Persian literature, whose works I heard recited by those around me, including the legends of Ferdowsi, the mystical poems of Rumi, the lyrics of Hafez, and the wisdom of Saadi."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis, November, 2002, Haleh Vaziri, review of The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale, pp. 94-96.

Middle East Journal, autumn, 2002, Shireen Mahdavi, review of The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale, pp. 723-724.