Azar Nafisi : biography
Azar Nafisi(), born ca. 1947,Following eighth grade, Nafisi's parents sent her to England for schooling from 1961-1963. Nafisi 2010, chapter 8, pp. 69-70; chapter 13, p. 115 is an Iranian academic and bestselling writer who has resided in the United States since 1997 when she emigrated from Iran. Her field is English language literature. Nafisi's 2003 book Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books has been translated into 32 languages. It was on the New York Times Bestseller list for 117 weeks, and has won numerous literary awards, including the 2004 Non-fiction Book of the Year Award from Booksense. The book also led to controversy about Nafisi's alleged connections to neoconservatism and colonialism. She published an autobiography, Things I've been silent about: memories of a prodigal daughter (2008), focusing on the impact on her throughout her life of her relations with her parents (her mother peevish and cold, her father affectionate and companionate) and of decades of political upheaval in Iran, including the father's incarceration under the Shah on trumped-up charges of financial irregularities.
Nafisi has been a visiting fellow and lecturer at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and served on the Board of Trustees of Freedom House.
- Azar Nafisi's CV
Azar Nafisi is the daughter of Ahmad Nafisi, a former mayor of Tehran (1961–1963) who was the youngest man ever appointed to the post up to that time.
She was educated in Switzerland and received her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.
Time in Iran
Nafisi returned to Iran in 1979 where for a brief time she taught English literature at the University of Tehran.
In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the subsequent rise to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Nafisi soon became restless with the stringent rules imposed upon women by her country's new rulers. She spoke of the freedom that she believed women in some countries took for granted, which women in Iran had now lost as the Khomeini regime enacted laws curtailing women's rights.
In 1995, she states that she was no longer able to teach English literature properly without attracting the scrutiny of the faculty authorities, so she quit teaching at the university, and instead invited seven of her female students to attend regular meetings at her house, every Thursday morning. They studied literary works including some considered controversial in postrevolutionary Iranian society such as Lolita alongside other works such as Madame Bovary. She also taught novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James and Jane Austen, attempting to understand and interpret them from a modern Iranian perspective.
When asked by an interviewer in 2003 if there was "ever a time, when you were living in Iran, when you would have welcomed the idea of a regime change implemented by foreign forces", Nafisi claimed, "Some Iranians were so desperate that they would have wanted the foreign powers to come in, but I didn't feel that way. ... in Iran, I don't think that we needed foreign intervention at any point."
- Nafisi, Azar. "Images of Women in Classical Persian Literature and the Contemporary Iranian Novel." The Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran. Ed. Mahnaz Afkhami and Erika Friedl. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1994. 115-30.
- Anti-Terra: A Critical Study of Vladimir Nabokov’s Novels (1994).
- Nafisi, Azar. "Imagination as Subversion: Narrative as a Tool of Civic Awareness." Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation. Ed. Mahnaz Afkhami and Erika Friedl. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1997. 58-71.
- "Tales of Subversion: Women Challenging Fundamentalism in the Islamic Republic of Iran." Religious Fundamentalisms and the Human Rights of Women (1999).
- Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003).
- Things I've Been Silent About (2008; in paperback 2010)
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