The opening hours of the new year—of the new decade—have been wrought worldwide by feelings of confusion, outrage, and a pervasive and tactile anxiety of escalating violence between the United States and Iran.

Following the United States’s assassination of a high-ranking Iranian military official in the sovereign territory of an ally, citizens throughout the world fear that this latest act of violence has pushed the two countries that much closer to full-scale war, a conflict seemingly desired only by those with power.

In its effort to defend its actions, the United States administration has distilled its portrayal of Iran into familiar binaries: good versus evil, security versus terrorism, American democracy versus Iranian theocracy. Regardless of these arguments’ efficacy, they do not provide an accurate representation of Iran or its people; they overlook centuries of Iranian history, religion, art, and culture, and they overlook the critical contexts that have led to this moment.

Collected here then is a selection of UC Press publications detailing those contexts, contexts that will surely become pressing in the coming days, weeks, and years.

A Social Revolution
Politics and the Welfare State in Iran

by Kevan Harris

A Social Revolution acts as a much-needed corrective to a lot of the academic and policy literature on contemporary Iran, which tends to view the country’s political and social geography in binary terms: namely, a top-heavy, ideological, and oppressive state versus a resistant, cosmopolitan society.”
The Middle East Journal

Women in Place
The Politics of Gender Segregation in Iran

by Nazanin Shahrokni

“Shahrokni mobilizes rich ethnographic and archival research to track the ways political struggles produce social space in postrevolutionary Iran. This is a theoretically rigorous work that takes readers through Tehran to challenging analytical and ethical terrains.”
Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University

Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards
Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity

by Afsaneh Najmabadi

“This is an extraordinary book. It rereads the story of Iranian modernity through the lens of gender and sexuality in ways that no other scholars have done.”
Joan W. Scott, author of Gender and the Politics of History

Roving Revolutionaries
Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds

by Houri Berberian

“A refreshingly innovative work. Drawing on untapped and largely unknown resources, it analyzes hitherto overlooked interconnections between three revolutions with erudition and panache.”
Houchang Chehabi, author of Distant Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the Last 500 Years

Music of a Thousand Years
A New History of Persian Musical Traditions

by Ann E. Lucas

“Ann E. Lucas’s research and analysis offer a new basis for understanding the significance of Persian music history in relation to the larger contexts that define Persian history.”
Mohsen Mohammadi, Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles

The Iranian Expanse
Transforming Royal Identity through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE–642 CE

by Matthew P. Canepa

“This book is as expansive in scope as the phenomenon it explores. Never before have landscapes of power in Persia and the wider Iranian world received such exhaustive treatment. Canepa’s ambitious work will take its rightful place as a definitive text in the art, archaeology, and history of ancient Iran.”
Lori Khatchadourian, author of Imperial Matter: Ancient Persia and the Archaeology of Empires

The Life and Times of the Shah

by Gholam Reza Afkhami

“This book rises above common misconceptions to tell an important story, one that forged the destiny of Iran and changed the course of Middle East history. There is no better book on the Shah, his rule and legacy, and none more enjoyable to read.”
Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival

Essays on the Islamic Republic

by Ervand Abrahamian

“Fanatic,” “dogmatic,” “fundamentalist”—these are the words most often used in the West to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. The essays in this book challenge that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism—a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern age.