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Last Scene Underground: An Ethnographic Novel of Iran

Last Scene Underground: An Ethnographic Novel of Iran REVIEW Roxanne Varzi Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016 263 pages. ISBN 9780804796880 Reviewed by NIMA NAGHIBI Last Scene Underground draws the reader’s attention to the devastating repercussions of the post-1979 revolutionary period for secular people and the upper-middle classes in Iran; the traumatic aftereffects of the 1980–88 Iran-Iraq War; and the 1999 and 2009 student uprisings and their violent quashing by the government. In addition to the theme of postrevolutionary trauma, Varzi explores the lack of artistic freedom and freedom of expression in contemporary Iranian society. Last Scene Underground considers the risks taken by writers, playwrights, directors, and actors as they practice their art in a heavily censored environment where government agents scrutinize every performance and shut most of them down. The story begins with an incident that effectively conveys the atmosphere of fear and oppression in which the protagonists negotiate their everyday lives. Leili, a student at the University of Tehran, waits anxiously to pass through the gates to campus. A long line forms behind another young woman wearing a flamboyant pink headscarf who stubbornly refuses the directive to remove her nail polish. A student jokes that the authorities should hurry up and arrest her so that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Middle East Women's Studies Duke University Press

Last Scene Underground: An Ethnographic Novel of Iran

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies , Volume 15 (1) – Mar 1, 2019

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Copyright
Copyright © 2019 by the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies
ISSN
1552-5864
eISSN
1558-9579
DOI
10.1215/15525864-7273748
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

REVIEW Roxanne Varzi Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016 263 pages. ISBN 9780804796880 Reviewed by NIMA NAGHIBI Last Scene Underground draws the reader’s attention to the devastating repercussions of the post-1979 revolutionary period for secular people and the upper-middle classes in Iran; the traumatic aftereffects of the 1980–88 Iran-Iraq War; and the 1999 and 2009 student uprisings and their violent quashing by the government. In addition to the theme of postrevolutionary trauma, Varzi explores the lack of artistic freedom and freedom of expression in contemporary Iranian society. Last Scene Underground considers the risks taken by writers, playwrights, directors, and actors as they practice their art in a heavily censored environment where government agents scrutinize every performance and shut most of them down. The story begins with an incident that effectively conveys the atmosphere of fear and oppression in which the protagonists negotiate their everyday lives. Leili, a student at the University of Tehran, waits anxiously to pass through the gates to campus. A long line forms behind another young woman wearing a flamboyant pink headscarf who stubbornly refuses the directive to remove her nail polish. A student jokes that the authorities should hurry up and arrest her so that

Journal

Journal of Middle East Women's StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2019

References