Women, Art, and Literature in the Iranian Diaspora by Mehraneh Ebrahimi
Does the study of aesthetics have tangible effects in the real world? Does examining the work of diaspora writers and artists change our view of “the Other”? In this thoughtful book, Ebrahimi argues that an education in the humanities is as essential as one in politics and ethics, critically training the imagination toward greater empathy. Despite the surge in Iranian memoirs, their contributions to debunking an abstract idea of terror and their role in encouraging democratic thinking remain understudied. In examining creative work by women of Iranian descent, Ebrahimi argues that Shirin Neshat, Marjane Satrapi, and Parsua Bashi make the Other familiar and break a cycle of reactionary xenophobia. These authors, instead of relying on indignation, build imaginative bridges in their work that make it impossible to blame one evil, external enemy. Ebrahimi explores both classic and hybrid art forms, including graphic novels and photo-poetry, to advocate for the importance of aesthetics to inform and influence a global community. Drawing on the theories of Rancière, Butler, Arendt, and Levinas, Ebrahimi identifies the ways in which these works give a human face to the Other, creating the space and language to imagine a new political and ethical landscape.