|In the summer of 1999, as I was working on this project, another wave of student protests shook Iran. Young bodies took to the streets again, just as I became a traveler, journeying in defiance of common notions of time as linear and unidirectional and space as marked by such time. As I feverishly followed the daily news streaming out of Iran, I felt the mounting anxiety of a realization about our revolt-ridden history:
That lack of a clearly articulated agenda and effective organization toward disruption and change in the male-dominated socio-political discourses of power has worked to perpetuate the very structures and relations that keep women, as women, in positions of relative powerlessness. This productive lack raises significant contradictions and tensions in our understanding of the continuing turmoil in Iran if we remember two repeatedly neglected facts in our recent history:
1. Less than a month after the fundamentalist take-over of the state power, in March of 1979, it was women who staged the first significant challenge to the Islamic hegemony in response to the increasing state-initiated assaults on their rights.
2. Throughout the past twenty years, in myriad of ways women have resisted the misogynist practices of the Islamic government and have remained in the public sphere in spite of the systemic measures to veil their social and political existence.
In Iran, in the summer of 1999, at great risks to themselves, once again women participated, body and soul, in a political movement. Once again it is clear that in its androcentric agenda and male-dominated leadership this movement is unable to articulate specific demands for effective change in the sexually segregationist and oppressive practices of the state. Once again, women's voices are submerged in cries for a freedom that doesn't recognize their right to be free of the daily oppression they are subjected to, as women, body and soul, in public and inseparably in private.
The twins, of shifting shadows and Foucault, Atoussa and Me, On Sexuality of History were born inevitably marked by my effort to rise above the paralyzing anxiety I felt in a process of transformation: From silence into language and action. In this process, remembering is the condition for breaking through the barriers of narrow, androcentric narratives of history in order to envision, construct and explore our sites of agency.
|of shifting shadows: a reading|