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Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran's Culture and Customs

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9781931930901: Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran's Culture and Customs
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The eyes of the world are on Iran, from nuclear issues to women's rights to Iran's perspective on Palestine. Yet a strictly political view does not allow for an accurate or complete outlook on this important and facinating country. In Among the Iranians, Greek-born author Sofia A. Koutlaki shares the lessons she's learned firsthand as a foreigner living in Tehran.

Through memorable anecdotes and in-depth explanations of Iranian customers, Koutlaki presentd a side of Iran that foreigners rarely see. The author's insight challenges readers to dispel their previous notions and judgements to see Iran at its heart--warm, inviting and rich with tradition. Among the Iranians is also an indispensable practical guide, offering insight about Iranian dress, etiquette and even food.

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"An excellent, useful introduction to Iranian culture and customs for people who have never been to Iran." - Michael Axworthy, author of A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind In the wake of the current media focus on Iran's nuclear technology development and its place in Middle East politics, the West continues its quest to understand this paradoxical nation—its politics, yes, but also its people, their culture, and even the everyday customs and rituals. Among the Iranians presents an inside look at the hidden “rules” that exist among Iranians, from polite behavior and the underlying cultural notion or face to gender roles to the image that every Iranian wants to project to the world. Western readers may be familiar with a stereotyped view of Iran's unchanging “high culture” in its great mosques and squares and to some extent its classical literature in the poems of Hafez and Khayyam. However, this book aims to convey the nitty-gritty of everyday life in Iran: how to queue for bread, how to get a job done in a government office, dress codes and degrees of piety, marriage as a connection between families, the elaborate system of Persian politeness. Written with a mix of personal observation and intercultural theory, the goal of Among the Iranians is to open people's eyes about the fascinating everyday reality of Iran—in short, the book seeks to explain everything you ever wanted to discover about Iran's culture and customs, but didn't even know to ask. Praise for Among the Iranians “Sofia Koutlaki has opened a window onto ordinary Iranians and their everyday lives. She takes us inside the home, but also out into public spaces, and shows us, with love, an Iran rarely seen by outsiders.” – Ziba Mir-Hosseini, author of Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran, and co-director of the award-winning film Divorce Iranian Style “A sympathetic and evocative portrait of the Iranian people, their habits, customs and histories....Essential reading.” – Dr. Stephanie Cronin, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

About the Author:

Sofia A. Koutlaki was born in Athens in 1964 and has called Greece, Britain and Iran home. She is an independent researcher and writer whose work often explores cultures and how they function. She also works as a freelance translator and English teacher, is currently at work on a novel set in Greece and maintains a blog at www.amongtheiranians.blogspot.com

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