The Struggle between Modern and Old Sports in Iran

Until the first decade of the twentieth century, physical education practices in Iran were almost exclusively concentrated in the so-called Houses of Strength, Zurkhaneh, privately owned gymnasia where men congregated to exercise. This institution probably came into being under the Safavids (1501-1722) and had its heyday under the Qajars (1795-1925), when members of the imperial family, including the Shah himself, exercised in them and patronized the champion wrestlers, known as pahlavans.

The Process of Bureaucratization of Religion in Iran and its Consequences

Focusing on post-revolutionary Iran, where a fundamentalist Islamic state swept across a relatively secular society in 1979, the author has surveyed the gradual change of organization and management of independent Shi'ite institutions and rituals into a fully managed state religion through its total bureaucratization. Utilizing the Weberian theory of bureaucracy, the author argues that state management of the religious practices and institutions has resulted in the formation of new patterns and sources of legitimization, rationalization, hierarchy, ritualism, and seminary practices.

From Subject to Farmer

Every now and then an author and a book appear that must be read widely but are threatened with neglect and oblivion because of their unconventional approach, and lack of easy disciplinary classification. The late Japanese scholar, Professor Morio Ono, the founder of Japanese rural fieldwork in Asia, and his magnum opus, Kheyarbad-nameh (The 25 Year Drama of Iranian Agriculture) belong to this category.

A Most Controversial Book on Hafiz

This article offers a critical analysis of "Mysticism and "Rendi" in the Poetry of Hafiz: A Hermeneutical Interpretation." The author, Daryoosh Ashuri, refers to his book as "the most controversial book ever written on Hafiz." The article starts with a statement about the main theme of the book that reveals the original sources of the mystical philosophy as depicted in some of Hafiz's poems. Ashuri’s analysis falls within the traditional notions of "literary influence" that involves the study of the sources, and this is where the true value of his research lies.

The Icon and the Man: In Quest of Rumi

In trying to fathom the crux of Rumi’s mystical ghazals, there is the thrill of investigation, the mental challenge of evaluating discordant sources, and the prospect of a better understanding of what Rumi wanted to say to his disciples, and by extension, what he might have wanted to say to us. Rumi tells a famous story, ultimately from a Buddhist source, in which people encounter an elephant for the first time in their lives, but it is in a pitch-black room, so that they are forced to feel it with their hands.

Oil and Gas After the Revolution

This paper discusses Iran's oil and gas sector since the revolution. For a country with 5 percent of the world's oil and 14 percent of the natural gas reserves, Iran is not likely to run out of hydrocarbons any time soon. But at present Iran has to make do with only about one-tenth of oil revenues per capita in real terms compared to the boom years of the 1970's. While the country's dependence on oil exports has by no means diminished since the revolution, the government is not in a position to reverse the downward trend in revenues per person.

The Iranian Film Culture

Throughout its existence, the Islamic government has shown a surprising degree of flexibility and a great capacity for learning from its own mistakes and since 1983 it has steadfastly sought to rationalize the film industry and to provide support and leadership for it. Filmmakers and audiences, too, have demonstrated both resolve and ingenuity in face of incredible constraints. In fact, it is through a process of cultural negotiation and haggling--not just through hailing--that a new cinema is emerging, which embodies much of the aforementioned Islamic values.

Cinematic Identity in Iran, Egypt and Turkey

The cinema of Iran, Egypt and Turkey while different in many ways share a number of common characteristics. This article is an attempt to review and compare these differences and similarities. According to the author, in all these countries introduction of cinema led to similar resistance mostly inspired by religious authorities. Yet, eventually in all three the film became a powerful cultural and social medium.

Writing Women's Lives in Iran

When walls surround houses, taqiyeh protects faith, ta'arof plunges the addressee and the addresser into factual suspense, feelings get disjointed in zaheri/bateni, when abstractions supplant concreteness, generalities replace the specific, and indirection is a common practice, autobiographies become a rare commodity in the literary arena. The rather rare attempts at autobiography found among Iranians, until recently, are the logical literary extensions of a culture that creates, expects, and values a certain separation between the inner and the outer, the private and the public.