Iran-related publications, teaching, conferences, and lectures

My Iran-related publications, teaching, conferences and lectures include: Tutor for ISEA Programme at Leighton House: Collecting and Display of Islamic Art. Lecturing on the 1910 Munich exhibition; the 1931 Burlington House exhibition; and Poland as a portal for ‘oriental’ trading in the seventeenth century. Oct-Dec 2014. Air pollution in Iran, British Medical Journal 2014; 348: …

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How to do hejab in Iran

Hejab always seems a big deal for women travelling to Iran. So I thought it might be useful to share what I myself wear. I’ve visited Iran multiple times during the last decade. And can still remember the challenges I faced the first time I went to Iran! So here’s some practical advice for any woman lucky enough to …

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Fighting hijab in Iran

As a foreign woman in Iran, the most common question I’m asked is: “What do you think about hijab?” I can often work out what answer I’m expected to give, simply by looking at whoever is asking. Some obviously pious women, usually without a single strand of hair showing, want to tell me how they have been liberated …

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Some Iranian women are actively choosing hijab

Although a lot of women (and men) despise the hijab in Iran, many like it, and are actively choosing hijab. Some of this is generational — the oldest women may be able to remember the forced unveiling of women by Reza Shah and how shocking that was: some women remained in their homes for months. Others …

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Hijab in Iran: the basics

The word hijab is often used, in the West, for the headscarf – but in Iran women over the age of 9 also need to cover their bum. The most common ways of doing this are with a manto or a chador. Manto are short or long coats: Many female Government employees wear long, loose …

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Polo in Isfahan

Polo in Isfahan used to be a big thing. The maydan at the centre of today’s city was originally an out-of-town garden. Then when Shah Abbas visited in 1590, he ordered it levelled and spread with river sand, to convert it into a polo field. In 1595, a French steward called Pinçon saw how: “The King of Persia …

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