Shirin Gerami

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9510

Approve Date

October 9, 2017

Project Title

Gerami, Shirin S., U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Troubling Heterosexuality: Framing the 'Divorce and Marriage Crisis' in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Janice Boddy

This dissertation project aims to examine how the shift in marriage and divorce rates and patterns in Iran has come to serve as an articulation of a crisis and to what effect. By looking at state’s interventions in the domain of marriage and divorce, which have been engendered by the claim of the ‘divorce and marriage crisis’, my project aims to understand how heterosexuality is shaped, embodied, and challenged in Iran through various technologies and practices. Central to this investigation are two main questions: 1) Why and how has marriage and divorce been framed as a crisis in the contemporary moment; and 2) How is normative heterosexuality variously embodied, contested, and reformed in the lives of Iranian subjects engaged in negotiations of their familial and sexual ties? The framing of the shift in patterns of marriage and divorce as ‘the divorce and marriage crisis’ in Iran is, in effect, a form of problematization through which ‘normal’ comes to be defined. As such, attention to the Iranian state’s interventions into marriage and divorce, and the responses to and interactions with those interventions will offer a critical frame for the understanding of Iranian society’s definitions, negotiations, and/or contestation of normative heterosexuality and its proper sexual arrangements. The current historical moment in Iran enables my research to speak and contribute to conversations within the anthropology of sexuality and the state by re-conceptualizing heterosexuality, the seemingly ‘normal’ and ‘natural’, as it interacts with dominant discourses of sexuality in Iran. The aim here is to complicate the conception of heterosexuality as an undifferentiated ground for inculcating and doing normativity by exploring its instability and, in a sense, its queerness in relation to the state.