Under guise of an ethnography of transsexuality in contemporary Iran, Afsaneh Najmabadi has written a nuanced ethnography of the transition of the Iranian state and public sphere from one type (jins) to another. Building on Joan Scott's (1986) observation that gender is a useful category for historical analysis, Najmabadi goes beyond showing that sex and sexuality are also useful categories for historical analysis to suggest that somatic-constitutional transformation can be as well. Interestingly, these are all better categories for analysis of the pre- and post-op (Islamic revolution) state of Iran than they are for comprehending a class of transsexual Iranians. This book is a nuanced study of the ways in which the most stigmatized and least conforming of Iran's citizens evade but also embody rigid binaries of sex and gender. But it is even more an analysis of how science, law, journalism, and eventually Shi'i fiqh...
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February 1, 2015
Paisley Currah Susan Stryker
Book Review| February 01 2015
Transsexuality as a Window on and a Metaphor for Contemporary Iran
Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary IranNajmabadi, Afsaneh
Duke University Press,
vii + 450 pp.
Leila Hudson is an associate professor of Middle Eastern and North African studies at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Transforming Damascus: Space and Modernity in an Islamic City (2008) and coeditor of Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring (forthcoming).
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TSQ (2015) 2 (1): 179–184.
Leila Hudson; Transsexuality as a Window on and a Metaphor for Contemporary Iran. TSQ 1 February 2015; 2 (1): 179–184. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/23289252-2849144
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