This article aims to contextualise music as it was experienced in Tehran in 2004 (when the research for this work was conducted) - music that comes from various ethnic groups within Iran, and music coming from the diaspora. The relationships between various genres of music and people, as well as between music and the government, are examined. The malleability of musicians and their capacity to coordinate their expertise with popular and governmental expectations and limitations are then analysed. In this way, a fascinating yet little studied area in the anthropology of Iran at the time of research is addressed.
Translation of the French Serial Story and Its Effect on the Persian Serial Story
Manizheh Abdollahi and Ehya Amalsaleh
This article examines French-Iranian literary interactions in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, which arguably had ongoing effects in Iran on attitudes towards links between morality and social and economic inequality. Some of the earliest fictional stories published in Persian-language newspapers, in the 1850s, were French. This trend continued, through Iran’s Constitutional Revolution (1906), into the early decades of the twentieth century. During this period, Morteza Moshfeq-e Kazemi began writing the first Persian serial story and novel, Tehran-e Makhuf (Appalling Tehran). The present study investigates the effects of the translation of French serial stories on Persian ones, with a specific focus on the impact of the novel Les Mystères de Paris (1842– 1843), by Eugène Sue, on the Persian novel Tehran-e Makhuf (1924).
Rhinoplasty and Identity in Tehran
Tehran currently hosts one of the largest rhinoplasty markets in the world, and rhinoplasty is the most sought after cosmetic surgery in the country. This article examines whether the rhinoplasty trend reflects a shift in Iranians' attitudes towards their ethnic and cultural identity. It is argued that fashion and beauty norms in Tehran are certainly informed by globalised images, but these are mediated by Iranian moralities of prestige, image consciousness and class awareness. Thus, while many of the persons interviewed described 'Iranian noses' as aesthetically inferior to 'European noses', their statements were not necessarily coupled with a desire to negate Iranian identity.
This article presents a survey of Persian music known as ‘learned’ – or better yet, ‘literate’ – that is currently practised, but from a perspective acquired over the past three decades. e subject is approached here not from a ‘scientifically neutral’ point of view, but rather in a subjective and narrative manner, through anecdotes, observations, personal reflections and especially aesthetic judgements. These are based on the author’s familiarity with Persian musical culture and on the broad consensus that his analyses and his critical approach have received among the community of Iranian artists and amateurs. is point of view emphasises the ‘post-modern’ character of the contemporaneous musical culture, thus surpassing the ancient-modern dispute while at the same time acknowledging certain requirements for quality.
The Artistic and Diasporic Afterlife of the Iran-Iraq War
How do the cultural and emotional after-effects of the Iran-Iraq War influence artistic production among Iranian artists living outside of Iran? How do Iranian diaspora self-portraits act as socio-political memoirs? This article addresses these questions by looking at some examples of diaspora artists who through their art somehow remain political 'subjects' of contemporary Iran, even as they grapple with the complexities of 'being away' - if that is ever really possible.
Films and Conferences
Soheila Shahshahani and Mary Elaine Hegland
First Film Exhibition of Tehran’s Quarters, 30 October–2 November 2006.
Sixth Biennial of Iranian Studies Conference, 3–5 August 2006, London, U.K.
Babak Rezvani, Sophie Accolas, Mary Elaine Hegland and Clemence Scalbert Yucel
Steppe Magazine: A Central Asian Panorama (Nettlebed, Oxfordshire: Steppe International), £10/$20.
Omidvari, Mohammad Mehdi (2006), La plainte des bateaux enchaînés, Iran, vidéo, couleur, 38 minutes.
‘Kinship in Iran and Neighbouring Countries’, 20–22 June 2008, Tehran, Iran
Books and Conferences
Kamyar Abdi, M. Chloe Mulderig, A. Rouhbakhshan, Adham Ashirov and Catherine Alexander
Postage, J. N. (ed.) (2007), Languages of Iraq: Ancient and Modern (London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq). ix + 187 pp., figs. ISBN. 978-0-903472-21-0. £15.00.
Reid, Donald Malcom (2002), Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I (Berkeley: University of California Press). ix + 409 pp., 46 illus. ISBN 0520240693. $21.95.
Vivier-Muresan, Anne-Sophie (2006), Afzad: Ethnologie d’un village d’Iran (Tehran: IFRI). xxvii + 446p.
Scientific Conference, Karim Shaniyazov Lecture Series, 14 December 2007, Namangan, Uzbekistan
Scientific Workshop, ‘Anthropological Theories, Ethnic Nationalities’, 8–9 December 2007, Tehran, Iran
Kamyar Abdi, Sophie Accolas and Rémi Berthon
Berman, Ilan (2005), Tehran Rising: Iran’s Challenge to the United States (Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield). xx + 218 pp. ISBN 0-7425-4904-6. $24.95.
Friedmann, Daniel (2005), Que sont les immigrants devenus ? France, vidéo couleur, 49 minutes, CNRS Images.
‘Anthropozoology and Archaeozoology in the Ancient World’, 9th ASWA International Conference, 16–20 November 2008, Al-’Ain, United Arab Emirates
Medical Anthropology of the Middle East?
Soheila Shahshahani and Mohammad Shahbazi
In a region in which everyday life is under different kinds of threat, issues related to health are of prime importance. Preserving life, which is the least human right to be respected, is the last resort, yet it seems human life is an insignificant matter. For example, in everyday discourse in Tehran, we o en hear, “Human life doesn’t count.” Within this local world view the opposite can also be observed: an obsessive preoccupation with aesthetic aspects of the human body (see AME, vol. 1, no. 1). In between lies all that can be studied by medical anthropologists.