Ida Meftahi’s Gender and Dance in Modern Iran is the first book-length study of dance in Iran, analyzing nationalist, leftist, and Islamic constructions of staged dancing bodies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Blending discourse and movement analysis with rigorous historiography, Meftahi demonstrates how dance and particularly female dancers have consistently been sites for contending discourses within the Iranian nation-state in the Pahlavi era (1925–79) and the post-1979 Islamic Republic. Meftahi employs the Foucauldian framework of biopolitics to analyze how dancers on national stages embody moral, aesthetic, and gendered corporeal norms. The production of the national dancer, Meftahi argues, has necessarily involved othering performers and genres deemed antithetical to the dominant ideologies of particular historical junctures.

Chapter 1 introduces the key movement traditions of Iran and surveys the performance forms, bodies, and spaces addressed in the book: pre-twentieth-century...

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