Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet


Oxford University Press, USA

While Iranian women have most frequently been viewed through the politics of veiling, Conceiving Citizens interprets modern Iranian politics and society through the history of women's health and sexuality. Drawing on archival documents and manuscript sources from Iran and elsewhere, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet illustrates how debates over hygiene, reproductive politics, and sexuality in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries explained demographic trends and put women at the center of nationalist debates. Exploring women's lives under successive regimes, she chronicles the hygiene campaigns that cast mothers as custodians of a healthy civilization; debates over female education, employment, and political rights; government policies on contraception and population control; and tensions between religion and secularism.