Opinion: DeSantis' defunding of diversity programs threatens college life as we know it

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that promises to defund diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public colleges throughout the state. The bill has drawn criticism from policymakers and free speech advocates, and it also raises concern from higher education administrators like me. Without these programs, graduates will be less prepared to enter the workforce.

Decoding Protest Fashion in Iran

When Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, stepped off the train this past September for her vacation in Tehran, she wore a loose, black chiffon headscarf with five strands of hair showing. The hair was a statement—the five strands symbolizing bold defiance of the regime, en route to a removal of the headscarf altogether. She chose a deep red gloss to cover her lips, a decision that seemed to foreshadow the bloodshed that came next. Within minutes, she was taken aside by the Guidance Patrol

What to Know About Iran's Morality Police

In 2007, Pardis Mahdavi was 13 minutes into her lecture at a university in Tehran about gender and sexuality in post-revolutionary Iran when the morality police stormed through the auditorium doors. “Pandemonium erupted. I was…pulled off stage. I was frozen in a state of suspended animation and…turned to look at one of them who had raised a hand and then I blacked out,” Mahdavi says. Iranian authorities charged Mahdavi, who is provost of the University of Montana, with trying to foment a revolut

Opinion | When Iran’s morality police came for me

Audience members ran every which way. I should have been shredding my lecture notes, running from the lectern into the nearby street. But the sight of a dozen bearded men in dark green uniforms rooted me to the floor. Two of the thugs climbed the steps to the stage; one raised his hand above my head, and then everything went black. When I came to, in the back seat of a car, their voices reverberated in my aching skull. “You are a ruined woman who is here to ruin our country,” one growled at me.

The Syntax of Belonging: On the Profound Connection Between Identity and Language

I decided to write my new book, Hyphen, after years of struggling to find belonging. I’m a hyphenated American. Iranian-American to be exact. And for much of my life, I tried to fit on one side of the hyphen or the other. But I failed over and over again. I was too Iranian in America, too American in Iran. And then in 2007 I was kicked out of my ancestral homeland of Iran after writing a book about sexual politics in the Islamic Republic. I was stripped of my citizenship, told never to return.

Iran’s Presidential Election Threatens to Undo Decades of Feminist Organizing

A closed Iran led by Ebrahim Raisi—known for squashing any and all attempts at human rights—will be a devastating blow to feminist organizing. Iran’s presidential election—or what some feminist activists are referring to as a “selection”—has cast a dark shadow on the feminist movement in the Islamic Republic. It started with the selection of candidates earlier this year. Over 130 women (and almost 1,500 men) put their names forward to be considered for the election. In April, the Council of Gu

Under attack from all sides, where does feminism go next?

We are at a turning point in how we think about feminism, womanhood, and resistance. In the US, feminism is under attack from the right, the left, and from within—causing American feminists a “triple bind”. As has historically been the case, the conservative right attacks feminism by trying to incite a moral panic. Feminists are cast as scheming women tearing the fabric of family life by putting their careers and aspirations ahead of procreation or child-rearing, without a care for “life” as tho

When Hate Attacked My Home —

My mother was late for work again. Just another warm spring day in Minnesota, 1985. After bringing us home from school, she asked if we could get out and walk to the front door so that she didn’t have to pull into the garage. As her blue Volvo crept away, my little brother and I slowly walked up to the front door hand in hand. (I was seven and he was only four.) We were careful not to step on the cracks in the pavement—a game we loved to play, where we pretended that they contained molten lava.

"Hell on Earth": Feminist Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Returned to Iran's Qarchak Prison

Nasrin’s family, her advocates, and Nasrin herself won’t be silenced. On Wednesday, as celebrations erupted around the world in response to the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian human rights attorney, was quietly moved back to Qarchak women’s prison—known as one of the worst and most harrowing carceral institutions in the world—after a brief respite in the hospital where she was seeking medical care. While Jan. 20, 2021 was a lar