Mahnaz Afkhami’s memoir, which appears as a series of interviews by Shahla Haeri and Fereshte Noorai and is edited by her husband, is a moving narrative in Persian that competes with some classics of Middle East women’s studies such as Huda Shaaravi’s Harem Years. Afkhami was head of the Women’s Organization of Iran (WOI) and the first Minister of Women’s Affairs under Pahlavi regime. While in exile in the United States after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Afkhami became one of the founding members of the Sisterhood is Global Institute.
The Historian / Book Review by Jonathan G. Katz
The ten chapters of this book, a sequel to the editors’ Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800, reflect several disciplinary approaches. Historians Guity Nashat and Shireen Mahdavi deal with royal marriage and European contacts during the Qajar period. Mansoureh Ettehadieh discusses the participation of women in the 1906 Constitutional Revolution and the faltering gains made during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Mahnaz Afkhami, a former secretary-general of the Women’s Organization of Iran, outlines the work of the semiofficial social service agency during the last decade of the Pahlavi period. Haleh Esfandiari examines the role of women parliamentarians both before and after the Islamic revolution.
“Mahnaz Afkhami: A Memoir” Reviewed by Janet Afary Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies Afkhami, Gholam Reza, Ed., Jame’eh, Dowlat, va Jonbech-i Zanun-e Iran, 1357-1342: Mosahebeh ba Mahnaz Afkhami [Women, State, and Society in Iran 1963-1978: An Interview with Mahnaz Afkhami] Bethesda: Foundation for Iranian Studies, 2003. Pp. IXX + 278. Mahnaz Afkhami’s memoir, which [...]
Book review by Ivette Valdés In Feminist Collections, A Quarterly of Women’s Studies Resources, Volume 17, Nos. 3-4, Spring/Summer 1996 Mahnaz Afkhami, WOMEN IN EXILE. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1994. 210p. $35, ISBN 0-8139-1542-2; pap., $12.95, ISBN 0-8139-1543-0. Jill M. Bystydzienski and Estelle P. Resnik, eds., WOMEN IN CROSS-CULTURAL TRANSITIONS. Bloomington, IN: Phi [...]
The Independent / Book Review by Shusha Guppy
DURING THE upheavals that led to the 1979 revolution in Iran, women’s support is supposed to have been the decisive factor in the overthrow of the Shah and the seizure of power by Ayatollah Khomeini. Every day in the news we saw images of women wrapped in black chador shaking their fists and shrieking slogans, like birds of bad omen in a horror movie. This was all the more astonishing as Iranian women were among the most emancipated in the Islamic world.
By Nan Levinson Women in Exile, by Mahnaz Afkhami, Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1994, 208 pp., $35.00 hardcover, $12.95 paper. “My earliest memories are of unrest and chaos,” says Ho Ngoc Tran, a doctor, who flees Vietnam in 1978, trusting her life to smugglers with a boat and eventually making her way to [...]