The Politics of Gender and Democracy in Iran: Between Rights and Honor

Lecture by: Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy is proud to present a lecture by Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini on “The Politics of Gender and Democracy in Iran: Between Rights and Honor.” Since the 1979 Revolution, Iranian politics has conventionally been viewed as a polarized conflict between ‘secular’ and ‘Islamic’ ideologies. Dr. Mir-Hosseini argues that this perception has masked the real battle: despotism and patriarchy versus democracy and feminism. In this light, Dr. Mir-Hosseini re-examines the course of the 2009 presidential elections and their aftermath.


Date: Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Time: 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Location: 281 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Moderator: Dr. Farzin Vahdat, Chief Research Officer of Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy


This event is in English, free and open to the public.


Dr. Ziba Mir-Hosseini ( is a legal anthropologist, specializing in Islamic law, gender and development. She has a BA in Sociology from Tehran University (1974) and a PhD in Social Anthropology from University of Cambridge (1980). A Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Law, University of London, she has held numerous research fellowships and visiting professorships, including Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004-5), and Hauser Global Law Visiting Professor at New York University (2002-8). She is a founding member of the Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. Her publications include Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law in Iran and Morocco (I. B. Tauris, 1993, 2002), Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran (Princeton University Press, 1999), Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform (with Richard Tapper; I. B. Tauris, 2006), Control and Sexuality: the Revival of Zina Laws in Muslim Contexts (with Vanja Hamzic; Women Living Under Muslim Laws, 2010), and Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law: Justice and Ethics in the Islamic Legal Tradition, edited with Lena Larsen, Christian Moe and Kari Vogt (I. B. Tauris forthcoming April 2013). She has also directed (with Kim Longinotto) two award-winning feature-length documentary films on contemporary issues in Iran: Divorce Iranian Style (1998) and Runaway (2001).



Dr. Farzin Vahdat is the chief research officer of the Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy (NID). Dr. Vahdat holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University and is an authority in the analysis of the concepts and conditions of modernity and their application to Iran, Islam and the Muslim world. Vahdat is the author of God and Juggernaut: Iran’s Intellectual Encounter with Modernity (Syracuse University Press, 2002), of the forthcoming Islamic Ethos and the Specter of Modernity, and of numerous articles in English and Persian, a number of which have been translated into various languages, including Swedish, Italian, and Spanish. Dr. Vahdat has taught at Tufts, Harvard and Yale Universities and Vassar College and is currently conducting research at Vassar.




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