Sediqeh Dowlatabadi: An Early Twentieth Century Advocate of Iranian Modernity (1882-1961 CE)
AuthorEllison-Speight, Julie Marie
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation provides an understanding of Sediqeh Dowlatabadi's notion of modernity and her contribution to the Iranian women's movement by an examination of her life and writings. In particular, the dissertation pays attention to her role as a newspaper publisher of Zaban-e Zanan (Women's Tongue) and director of the Kanun-e Banuvan (Women's Society.) Dowlatabadi's understanding of her social condition was based on the space she found herself within at different phases of her life; the concept of modernity she held in her youth, which was partially inhibited by societal expectations, was not the view of modernity she ascribed to in the later stages of her career and has become known for as a pioneer of Iranian women's rights.In Chapter Two, Dowlatabadi's formative environment and benefits from a politically and culturally fluid space because of her family's heterodox religious ties and participation in events leading up to and during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911 CE) are examined. In this environment Sediqeh received a strong education but continued to adhere to many common cultural practices. Thereafter, in Chapter Three, Dowlatabadi's actions and writings during the first run of her publication are examined. "A Pitiful Story," which is a piece of Dowlatabadi's fiction from the period, is analyzed utilizing neo-historicist criticism. During this time period the public space allowed her to imagine a somewhat more liberal notion of modernity than many of her contemporaries. In Chapter Four, Dowlatabadi's support to go abroad and reasons for moving to an international space are considered. Her interactions with the international women's movement and the new space she found herself in are analyzed in Chapter Five; regardless, she remained true to her own Iranian-ness above all else. Finally, in Chapter Six, Dowlatabadi's return to Iran is deconstructed as is her behavior of working within the Pahlavi system to oppose it.Dowlatabadi made many unique contributions to the Iranian women's movement and the international women's movement. Dowlatabadi, in her role as an advocate of Iranian modernity, created a façade for herself as an "every woman" which other Iranian women could identify with and aspire to be.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Near Eastern Studies