Iranian Studies Book Launch: Familial Undercurrents - Untold Stories of Love and Marriage in Modern Iran

When and Where

Friday, October 21, 2022 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
In-Person & Online


Afsaneh Najmabadi
Leila Pourtavaf
Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi


The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies & York University Department of History present Iranian Studies Book Launch, featuring Professor Afsaneh Najmabadi's Familial Undercurrents: Untold Stories of Love and Marriage in Modern Iran on Friday, October 21, 2022, 1 PM Eastern Time (Canada and the US).


  • Afsaneh Najmabadi, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Emerita
  • Leila Pourtavaf, Assistant Professor of Global Public History, York University
  • Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Director, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies

In Familial Undercurrents, Najmabadi uncovers her family’s complex experiences of polygamous marriage to tell a larger story of the transformations of notions of love, marriage, and family life in mid-twentieth-century Iran. She traces how the idea of “marrying for love” and the desire for companionate, monogamous marriage acquired dominance in Tehran’s emerging urban middle class. Considering the role played in that process by late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century romance novels, reformist newspapers, plays, and other literature, Najmabadi outlines the rituals and objects---such as wedding outfits, letter writing, and family portraits---that came to characterize the ideal companionate marriage. She reveals how in the course of one generation, men’s polygamy had evolved from an acceptable open practice to a taboo best-kept secret. At the same time, she chronicles the urban transformations of Tehran and how its architecture and neighborhood social networks both influenced and became emblematic of the myriad forms of modern Iranian family life.

In-person Meeting: William Doo Auditorium (45 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 2H3)
Online Registration:

* After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.