Fataneh Farahani

Fataneh Farahani

Forskare, Wallenberg Fellow

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Works at Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 E, plan 7
Room E 727
Postal address 106 91 Stockholm 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am an Associate Professor of Ethnology and Wallenberg Academy Fellow at Stockholm University. Within my research program “Cartographies of hospitality” funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation (2016-2021), I examine the political, philosophical and cultural aspects of hospitality (and hostility) in regards to contemporary migration and forced exile.

My research interests and teaching experiences are shaped by gender and sexualities, postcolonial theories, diaspora and transnationalism, Hospitality and hostility, critical race and whiteness studies, Middle Eastern studies and Islam, queer and masculinities studies, hospitality and migration, diverse research methodologies and processes of knowledge productions.


My work builds on critical cultural theories and methodologies that seek to conceptualize the divergent and contingent intersections of the complex discourses through which femininities and masculinities are constructed in different diasporic contexts. By placing gender and sexuality at the centre of my focus, I engage with issues of otherness, subjectivity, agency and marginality within different Western multicultural contexts. In doing so, I analyse how and in what ways gender and sexuality are constitutive to migratory process and the other way around. Through a multi-sited ethnographic approach, I aim to illuminate what ethnological methodologies bring into research contexts of transnational migration and diaspora.

Trained in Ethnology at Stockholm University and gender studies (at Department of Women Studies at York University, Toronto), my doctoral thesis - Diasporic Narratives of Sexuality: Identity Formation among Iranian-Swedish woman (2007) - is an ethnographical account of sexuality among Iranian women living in Sweden. My thesis was awarded for 2007 best dissertation of faculty of humanities at Stockholm University and is a pioneering study of the subject. My thesis contributes to the underresearched area of sexuality in diasporic settings among women from Iran and is based on extensive fieldwork and is enriched through participant observations, in-depth interviews and narrative analysis, textual analysis of documentary films, proverbs, novels and internet sources.

My postdoctoral research, Cultural and Racial Politics of Representation: A Study of Diasporic Masculinities among Iranian Men seeks to examine the underresearched area of (re)presentation of masculinity and sexuality of Iranian men in Stockholm, Sydney and London.  Besides UWS and Goldsmiths College, for my postdoc project I also have been affiliated with the Centre of Gender Excellence at Linköping University and Centre for Research on International Migration and Ethnic Relationships (CEIFO) at Stockholm University. After completing my PhD, I was awarded a prestigious 2008 Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Federal Government to undertake a postdoctoral research at the University of Western Sydney (UWS).

Since 2011, I am also member of CoHaB; The Marie Curie Initial Training Network - Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging. The project unites world-leading experts in diaspora field in the conviction that interdisciplinary training as well as international and intersectional cooperation is key to any productive study of diaspora.

Some of my recent publications are: “Home and Homelessness and Everything in between: A Route from One Uncomfortable Zone to another One” in European Journal of women Studies (2015),  “Iranian Born Men’s Navigations of Race, Masculinities and the Politics of Difference” in Rethinking Transnational Men: Beyond, Between and within Nations (2013), “ Reflections on Gendered, Raced, and Classed Displacements” (Nordic Journal of Migration 2(2)-2012), “On Being an Insider and/or an Outsider: A Diasporic Researcher’s Catch-22” in Education Without Borders: Diversity in a Cosmopolitan Society (2010), and “Sexing Diaspora: Negotiating Sexuality in Shifting Cultural Landscape” in Muslim Diaspora in the West: Local and Global Perspectives (2010). Dr. Farahani’s forthcoming book, Gender, Sexuality and Diaspora, will be published by Routledge.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2015. Fataneh Farahani. The European Journal of Women's Studies 22 (2), 241-247
  • 2013. Fataneh Farahani. Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap (4), 97-116

    This article is about diaspora. Through an analysis of the narratives of first generation Iranianwomen living in Sweden, I demonstrate how migratory experiences impact sexuality and howand in what ways sexuality is constitutive to the migratory process. By discussing some of thekey subjects raised by the interviewees, such as intimacy in the diasporic space, contradictorygender discourses, the dominating impacts of existing Orientalist stereotypes, and their senseof (be)longing or lack of (be)longing, I examine how the women experience their sexualitythrough the intersecting and sometimes contradictory discourses.By focusing on entangled issues involving subjectivity, sameness, difference, otherness,domination, agency, and marginality, I destabilize essentialist approaches of identity. Withgender and sexuality as the main subjects of the analysis, I discuss how moral values of thewomen regarding (in)appropriate sexual behaviour undergo various transformations. Theytake part in multiple (Iranian and Swedish) discourses and discard others while striving tomake space for themselves ‘inside’ these constraining norms. The women experience adiscrepancy as a result of being thwarted by two seemingly different cultures – while bothcultures construct discourses filled with stereotypes of so-called natives and outsiders.However, living in Sweden, where intersecting racist and sexist discourses come to life on adaily basis, it is actually not a thwarting by ‘two cultures.’ It is, in fact, a merger ofSwedishness with Iranianness (with all their complexities), along with other characteristics. Itis a complexity within the culture(s) in which the women live.

  • 2013. Fataneh Farahani. Rethinking Transnational Men, 147-162
Show all publications by Fataneh Farahani at Stockholm University

Last updated: June 1, 2020

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