The transition from Qajar rule in Iran to that of rule by the Pahlavi dynasty set in motion a number of shifts in the political, social, and cultural realms. Focusing on masculinity in Iran, Dr. Sivan Balslev's book Iranian Masculinities: Gender and Sexuality in Late Qajar and Early Pahlavi Iran interweaves ideas and perceptions, laws, political movements, and men's practices to spotlight the role men as gendered subjects played in Iranian history. It shows how men under the reign of Reza Shah dressed, acted, spoke, and thought differently from their late Qajar period counterparts. Furthermore, it highlights how the notion of being a "proper Iranian man" changed over these decades. Demonstrating how an emerging elite of western-educated men constructed and promoted a new model of masculinity as part of their struggle for political, social, and cultural hegemony, Dr. Balslev shows how this new model reflects wider developments in Iranian society at the time including the rise of Iranian nationalism and the country's modernisation process.
Sivan Balslev is a historian of modern Iran, focusing on the cultural and social history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her fields of interest include gender, sexuality, childhood studies, and everyday life. Her current project, funded by the Israel Science Foundation, focuses on the history of children and childhood in Iran, circa 1870-1970. Since 2018, Dr. Balslev has been a lecturer (assistant professor) at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Iranian Masculinities: Gender and Sexuality in Late Qajar and Early Pahlavi Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2019) is her revised dissertation. The book offers the first study of the emergence of a new model of hegemonic masculinity in Iran. In addition to Iranian Masculinities, she published two translations to Hebrew from the work of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad: Another Birth and Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season.
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