Farzaneh Milani named as woman of the year by IWSF

University of Virginia professor Farzaneh Milani, who chairs the Department Middle of Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts & Sciences, named “Woman of the Year” by the Iranian Women Studies Foundation at the group’s annual conference in Cambridge, Mass. Last year, Milani authored “Words Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement.” The book challenges what she sees as the narrow Western stereotype of the shrouded, oppressed Muslim woman, who is a captive of her faith and her veil. Milani — born and raised in Teheran and educated in French and American schools — used the lens of poetry, literature and film to argue in the book that Iranian women’s true struggle is not against the veil, but for freedom of movement — the ability to choose where to go. Her 1992 book, “Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers,” is also widely acclaimed and now in its 16th printing. This documentary produced by the IWSF and directed by Hasan Sarbakhshian.
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