Articles

Articles

Obama, Ahmadinejad, and the Women of Iran

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Women's Learning Partnership

This month, for the first time in 30 years, formal negotiations between the United States and Iran took place in a relatively positive atmosphere. As President Obama had promised during his campaign, dialogue took the place of diatribe. This is an important development. Why now and why during the term of the holocaust-denying, US-bashing President …


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A Beaten Path

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, The Berlin Journal (Number 18 Fall 2009)

At the time of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, Iran was a society organized on precepts that for centuries has defined the subordinate position of women as the natural order of things. The nascent civil society faced the issue of women mostly as a problem between traditionalism and modernism. But as the moderns grew in …


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Women are Driving Iran Toward Democracy

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Women's Learning Partnership

The images from Iran in the last two weeks have stunned the world: hundreds of thousands of women and men marching peacefully, first in support of reformist candidates and later protesting the government’s version of the results. Women played a prominent role at every level in this movement; in fact what unfolded in Iran would …


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Women, Rights, and Security in Iran

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Der Tagesspiegel  

Women in Iran must be free to choose what to think, what to say, what to do, and, of course, how to relate, or not to relate, to God In the past, human security was defined mainly in terms of state security. A half-century of international dialogue on rights, development, and peace, however, has led …


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Information and Communication Technologies for Women’s Empowerment and Social Change

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, Women's Learning Partnership

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution that the world has witnessed in the past decades has been potent and widespread. Today, we are living in an information age where technologies have drastically reduced the size of the globe by practically overcoming barriers of distance and time. We connect, communicate, and collaborate at speeds and …


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Searching for the Sources of the Self

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, The Scholar and Feminist Online

In Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1989) Charles Taylor introduces the concept of identity as follows: “…the question is often spontaneously phrased by people in the form: Who am I? But this can’t necessarily be answered by giving name and genealogy. What does answer this question for us …


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The Women’s Organization of Iran: Evolutionary Politics and Revolutionary Change

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, University of Illinois Press

This article is an account of the women’s movement in pre-revolutionary Iran. The focus is on the activities of the Women’s Organization of Iran (WOI) and its interactions with the government, the court, the clergy, and other conservative forces during the two decades preceding the Islamic revolution. Much of the article, particularly where the story …


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Human Security: A Conversation

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, The New School

On May 12, 2002, Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP), an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to empowering women living in the Global South, organized a conversation to map out an approach to a definition of the concept of human security. The participants–Mahnaz Afkhami (Iran/ U.S.), Kumi Naidoo (South Africa), Jacqueline Pitanguy (Brazil), …


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Epilogue: Our Shared Human Values

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, White Pine Press

The century just passed was marked by unprecedented violence and cruelty. Most nations suffered or contributed to war, destruction, and genocide, the most egregious of which– the two world wars and the Holocaust–began and occurred mainly in the West. Untold numbers were sacrificed at the altar of ideology, religion, or ethnicity. Innocent people were led …


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Death of the Patriarch

Author : Mahnaz Afkhami, University of Texas Press

I was born in Kerman, a sleepy desert city in the south of Iran known for its carpets and pistachios. In those days, these native commodities also determined the position and attitude of those whose lives depended on the production and marketing of each. My nanny Fatima, who instilled in me my first notions of …


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