The Art of Resistance in Iran

A missing page in the history of Iranian women’s studies since the 1970s is the struggle of women political prisoners. With the coming to power of the Islamic theocracy in Iran in 1979, women became the first target of political and social suppression. There were many women among the several thousand prisoners who were executed in the 1980s.

Over the years, some of the prisoners who served their prison terms were able to leave the country. They, unlike those who remained in Iran and were not free to write about their prison experience, have produced a momentous literature, which provides detailed accounts of both the theocratic disciplining and punishment of prisoners, torture, rape, execution of husbands, sisters, brothers, parents, comrades and the unceasing resistance within the prison. This literature is written predominantly in Persian, and is thus not widely accessible to international prison rights activists, prison abolitionists, feminists and academics. These prisoners have also spoken about their ordeal in art forms such as music, film, painting, and photography that visually depict their individual and collective resistance and the atrocities committed against them. The prison literature is significant in its own right, although it is perhaps unique in its details about Islamic theocracy and the gender dimension of its penal practices and policies.

This website is a space for the voices of political prisoners. It archives books, films, music, art productions, journal articles, and web-based materials and as well lists the events, conferences, and seminars on the topic of prison in the Middle East.

Shahrzad Mojab

Project Coordinator