From the Blog


Janet Afary

Janet Afary is among the most important literature exports from Iran. She has significantly contributed to the development of women in Iran. Janet now lives in the United States, but her efforts are still visible in the history of Iranian literature. Afary is an Iranian author, a researcher in religious studies, women studies, history and a feminist activist. Some of her works in research include the sexuality in the modern Middle East and the politics of contemporary Iran. Afary is famous for her writings and in-depth analysis of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. She now lives in the United States where she is a professor of religious studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. She obtained her MA from the University of Tehran.

Afary also received her Ph.D. in History and Near East studies from the University of Michigan. She is also one of the recipients of the Honorary Horace H. Rackham Distinguished Dissertation Award from the University of Michigan. She is happily married to K.B. Anderson, a renowned professor of Political Science, Sociology and Feminist Studies at the University of California. They are blessed with a daughter and a granddaughter. Amirshahi was raised in Tehran. She had her primary and secondary education there before traveling to Charters Towers, a private institution with boarding facilities in Bexhill-on-Sea Sussex, England. She obtained both her O- and A- levels from the institution and went on to Woolwich Polytechnic where she studied physics.

Mahshid Amirshahi

During the later parts of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Amirshahi took sides with the subject of democracy against the usual fundamentalism which travelled the country. She wrote several articles to support her believe and openly warned against the dangers of a religious regime. She fought against the Islamic republic with her words and publications until she was forced out from Iran on exile. She kept sounding her warnings against the negative impacts of retaining fundamentalism as a system of government in the wake of a democratic dispensation happening around the world. She kept fighting her way with her words even in exile. She backed her political struggles with lots of books and publications in top-notch papers around the world. Some of her books like Dar hazard and Dar safer (home and away) and some other of her classics were all written while she was in exile.

Mahshid has given several lectures in an intellectual gathering like the Palais du Luxembourg (French Senate) and has also lectured at Harvard University. She had so many publications in Persian and used to be an occasional contributor to prominent newspapers like the Les Temps Modernes (France) and the Newsday (United States) in both English and French.

She is responsible for the instigation of the declaration of the Iranian intellectuals and artists to come to the defence of the unfortunate British author Rushdie Salmon. Salmon came under fire after releasing his book “The Satanic Verses” and was hunted by Ayatollah Khomeini for his publications. Mahshid founded some other committees in defence of hunted writers and intellects all over the world. Some of these committees are “Comite de defense de Salman Rushdie en France” and another committee in the protection of Taslima Nasreen.