Analyzing the representation of sigheh (temporary marriage) women literature of the Pahlavi era (1924-1979) and cinematic works produced after the Islamic Revolution (1979-), Claudia Yaghoobi will argue that these cultural productions reflect the manner in which the practice of sigheh impacts women by calling into question how sexuality works as a form of political analysis and power.
She will also move beyond the literary and cinematic realms and examine in-depth a rather controversial social institution which has been the subject of disdain for many Iranian feminists and captured the imagination of many Western observers. Despite their legality and legitimization, sigheh marriages carry a social stigma that marks the couple, particularly the woman, who enter such marriages.
Seen within the context of gender inequity and segregation, she situates temporary marriage at the intersection of submission and resistance, transgression and compliance, obstacles and possibilities. The literature and films of modern Iran manifest the female body as the locus for socio-cultural policing – a site of social inscriptions, both subordinate and passive. She will illuminate how the female body is produced through an interaction of disciplinary institutions and governments within a patriarchal system that inscribes sociocultural codes and power structures on the female body. Nonetheless, while the female body is an embodiment of sociocultural, political, and historical possibilities that are part of the regulatory discourse of the larger power structure, she will also highlight the fact that the female body has agency.
Claudia Yaghoobi is a Roshan Institute Associate Professor in Persian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, author of several books, and co-editor of book series "Sex, Family and Culture in the Middle East" (with Janet Afary) and winner of the Hammed Shahidian Critical Feminist prize, awarded by the Iranian Women’s Studies Foundation in 2014.