What Counts as Singing in Public? Making Room for Women’s Solo Singing in Iran


Zahra Abedinezhad Mehrabadi (The Ohio State University)

Can Iranian women sing in public? Official Sharia doctrine, created by male clerics, prohibits women’s solo singing in public domains, though communal singing alongside men is conditionally permitted. Furthermore, both family restrictions and qeyrat—possessiveness out of love—have long kept women folksingers out of the public eye. Women singers defy these restrictions in both imagination and reality, and circumstances are also changing: men have changed their style of support and social media have opened up new modes of being “in public.” This paper explores the social negotiation of new performance spaces for women within a hierarchical system.

Part of 11-01 Dynamics of Belief and Practice in the Ritual Context: Five Cases from Contemporary Iran, Monday, October 18, 9:30 am–11:00 am