In the early twentieth century, a group of artists and intellectuals reinterpreted the Middle Eastern trickster figure Nasreddin in their periodical Mollā Nasreddin. They used folklore, visual art and satire to disseminate a consciously radical and social democratic discourse on religion, gender, sexuality and power in Transcaucasia and Iran. The periodical reached tens of thousands of people in the Muslim world, impacting the thinking of a generation.
This highly-illustrated book explores the milieu in which Mollā Nasreddin was born, the way the periodical recreated the trickster trope, and the influence of European graphic artists, especially Francisco Goya, on the journal. It focuses on the most creative period, 1906-11, when the journal reflected the social and political concerns of three major upheavals: the 1905 Russian Revolution, the 1906-1911 Iranian Constitutional Revolution, and the 1908 Young Turk Movement.
About the Author
Janet Afary is Mellichamp Chair and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. She is author of Sexual Politics in Modern Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2009) (Winner of the British Society for Middle East Studies-British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize), Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (with Kevin B. Anderson) (University of Chicago Press, 2005) (Winner of Latifeh Yarshater Award: Best Book in Iranian Women's Studies-Persian Heritage Foundation) and The Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-11: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism (Columbia University Press, 1996). Kamran Afary is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. He is co-editor (with A. Marianne Fritz, ) of Communication Research on Expressive Arts and Narrative as Forms of Healing: More than Words (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2020) and co-author (with Shirazi, Ziba) of Iranian Diaspora Identities: Stories and Songs (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2020).