Islamic Feminism in Iran: The Case of Zanan Magazine

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Siavash ROKNI, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
Islamic Feminism in Iran

the case of Zananmagazine

This paper takes a look at the role of Zanan Magazine as a subaltern counter-public (Fraser, 1990) that articulated women's issues in Iran from 1992 until 2008. First published in 1992, Zanan was the first magazine since the Islamic Revolution to introduce feminist discourse within the Islamic context in the country (Sherkat, 2009). The paper first looks at the historic context through which Zanan magazine was created. It then briefly introduces its three categories of content: religious discussions, feminist discussions, and social discussions (Eftekhari, 2003). It finally looks at the impact of Zanan in shaping Islamic feminism in the public sphere in Iran. Follwing Fraser (1990), we show that Zanan and its contributors formed a subaltern counter-public within the patriarchal sphere of the country by putting forward the importance of women's issues within the public sphere of the country. This meant that, as a medium, Zanan was the communicator of the political discourse in the politics of the country (Mouffe, 2005). As a space dedicated to a subordinate social group, Zanan was able to question normative assumptions surrounding religious, social and women's issues in the country by articulating the feminist discourse as an alternative way of looking at women's rights in the country.


Eftekhari, R. (2003). Zanan: Trials and Successes of a Feminist Magazine. In Middle Eastern Women on the Move(Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.). Washington, DC.

Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text, (25/26), 56. doi:10.2307/466240

Mouffe, C. (2005). The return of the political. London ; New York: Verso.

Sherkat, S. (2009). Zanan: le journal de l’autre Iran (CNRS Edition.). Paris.