From Books Combined:
My mother used to say that I wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for a book my aunt suggested she read back in 1965. My aunt at the time was in Afghanistan where my uncle was a U.S. diplomat. The book, Persia is my Heart, written by Najmeh Najafi with the help of Helen Hinckley is a beautiful story of discovery and enterprise, about a young Iranian woman who comes to the Pasadena, CA in the 50’s where she learns about mass production and management. She returns to Iran and sets up the first all female factory in an Iranian village. A bold move for an Iranian woman in 1950s Iran and a story that especially appealed to my mother, who had her own difficulties as a female chemist in 1960s America. My mother read the book, applied for a Fulbright to Iran, married an Iranian and soon after I entered the world. [Roxanne Varzi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.  Her latest book is Last Scene Underground: An Ethnographic Novel of Iran (Stanford University Press, 2015).]

For the full story, please visit

connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766