The Women's Awakening Project in late 1930s Iran under Reza Shah Pahlavi is the focus of this historical look at the emergence of the modern concept of womanhood in Iran. Amin's extensive research confirms that Reza Shah's controversial attempt to forcibly westernize Iranian women, and not the pre-revolutionary 1970's, marked the turning point for ""the woman question"" in Iran. Drawing on a combination of archival data, oral history, diplomatic sources, and contemporary press reports, Amin's is the first book to explore the Women's Awakening Project in such detail. By illustrating Reza Shah's efforts both to emancipate and to control Iranian women, the book raises new questions about the relationship between the Iranian state and its female citizens. Amin breaks new ground in the study of Iranian history by examining the links between state policy, popular culture, and individual memory. This highly readable book also provides crucial background for understanding the current debate between ""hardliners"" and ""reformers"" in Iran.
Camron Michael Amin, assistant professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, is the director of the Modern Middle East Source Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.