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Chapter 2 argues that the term khanevadeh, or “family,” did not carry connotations of intimacy and instead would be better translated as “household.” Piecing together moments from the lives of both free and enslaved Black peoples in Iran during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this chapter argues that enslavement remained the dominant social association of visibly Black peoples in urban centers. Enslaved African domestics served as the face of enslaving families in public spaces. In turn, enslaving households wielded photographs and portraits to further intertwine their images together. This chapter demonstrates how the “family” served as a complicated locus of entrapment, manipulation, loss, and survival and sheds light on the different spaces afforded to the Black people in Iran. This chapter highlights the limited notion of the “family” and shows how enslaved peoples instead sought intimacy and safety in their own found families.

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