June 15, 2012 — University of Virginia professor Farzaneh Milani, who chairs the Department Middle of Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts & Sciences, will be named "Woman of the Year" by the Iranian Women Studies Foundation today at the group's annual conference in Cambridge, Mass.
The three-day conference will feature a ceremony honoring Milani, who will be introduced by her daughter, Farnaz Milani Gazoni, according to the conference schedule.
Last year, Milani authored "Words Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement." The book challenges what she sees as the narrow Western stereotype of the shrouded, oppressed Muslim woman, who is a captive of her faith and her veil.
Milani – born and raised in Teheran and educated in French and American schools – used the lens of poetry, literature and film to argue in the book that Iranian women's true struggle is not against the veil, but for freedom of movement – the ability to choose where to go.
Her 1992 book, "Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers," is also widely acclaimed and now in its 16th printing.