Axis of Hope

Axis of Hope

Iranian Women's Rights Activism across Borders

Decolonizing Feminisms

by Catherine Z. Sameh

Series edited by Piya Chatterjee

Published by: University of Washington Press

200 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9780295746326
  • Published: December 2019

£22.99

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Political tensions between Iran and the United States in the post-9/11 period and the Global War on Terror have set the stage for Iranian women’s rights activists inside and outside Iran as they seek full legal equality under the Islamic Republic. Axis of Hope recounts activists’ struggles through critical analysis of their narratives, including the One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discriminatory Law, the memoirs of human rights lawyer and Nobel Prize–winner Shirin Ebadi, and the life story of feminist Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and her activist project ZananTV. Catherine Sameh examines how Iranian women’s rights activists have cultivated ways of thinking of and being with each other that rupture the relentless difference-making and violence of coloniality through local and transnational networks along axes of feminist solidarity, friendship, and love.

Crucial to countering despair and cynicism about Iran as well as the dangerous interventions by Western powers “on behalf of” Iranians, activists’ experiences speak to the possibilities and challenges of transnational alliances in confronting oppressive regimes. These stories are particularly germane in such precarious times, marked by war, isolation, sanctions, and the intense demonization of Iranians and Muslims, as well as authoritarianism, militarism, and patriarchal nationalisms around the world. Situating postreform women’s rights activism within the unfolding, decades-long project to democratize Iran from within, Axis of Hope makes a timely contribution to studies of feminist movements, women’s human rights in Muslim contexts, activism and new media, and the relationship between activism, civil society, and the state.