The current political climate of confrontation between Islamistregimes and Western governments has resulted in the proliferation ofessentialist perceptions of Iran and Iranians in the West.
Suchperceptions do not reflect the complex evolution of Iranian identitythat occurred in the years following the Constitutional Revolution(1906-11) and the anti-imperialist Islamic Revolution of 1979.Despite the Iranian government's determined pursuance ofanti-Western policies and strict conformity to religious principles,the film and literature of Iran reflect the clash between a nostalgicpride in Persian tradition and an apparent infatuation with a moreEurocentric modernity.
In Familiar and Foreign, Mannani and Thompsonset out to explore the tensions surrounding the ongoing formulation ofIranian identity by bringing together essays on poetry, novels, memoir,and films.
These include both canonical and less widely theorizedtexts, as well as works of literature written in English by authorsliving in diaspora. Challenging neocolonialist stereotypes, these critical excursionsinto Iranian literature and film reveal the limitations of collectiveidentity as it has been configured within and outside of Iran.
Throughthe examination of works by, among others, the iconic female poetForugh Farrokhzad, the expatriate author Goli Taraqqi, thecontroversial memoirist Azar Nafisi, and the graphic novelist MarjaneSatrapi, author of Persepolis, this volume engages with the complex andcontested discourses of religion, patriarchy, and politics that are thecontemporary product of Iran's long and revolutionaryhistory.