Archive for publications, 2020

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[Commlist] new book: Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California's Iranian Pop Music

Wed Apr 22 22:44:54 GMT 2020

New book /Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California's Iranian Pop Music/ with Duke UP (

There is plenty in the book about dancing and singing through hard times (in this case, the postrevolutionary and Iran-Iraq War period in Iran and diaspora), some of which may be relevant to the present moment.

I have made a YouTube playlist of most of the songs and videos I discuss in the book:
A devoted book website will follow sometime this summer.

Duke happens to have a 50% off sale going on until May 1. If you are so inclined, you can buy this and so many great books (including Tyler Bickford's wonderful new book Tween Pop) <> for about $13 USD each. Enter the code SPRING50 for the discount at checkout.

Wishing you and your loved ones health and safety,

Farzaneh Hemmasi
Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology
University of Toronto Faculty of Music <>

/Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California's Iranian Pop Music/
Tehrangeles, a name that combines Tehran and Los Angeles, is the home of an extensive Iranian expatriate culture industry. The music and popular culture created in Tehrangeles is broadcast by satellite television around the globe and has been immensely popular in Iran and throughout the Iranian diaspora. In TEHRANGELES DREAMING, Farzaneh Hemmasi traces the sources of the music's popularity, showing the ways it is unquestionably Iranian yet able to express ideas and affects not possible within the country itself. The attachment to homeland comes through the Iranian rhythms, but the music frequently features female solo singers or dancers, which are forbidden within the Iranian state. At the same time the music is associated with stereotypes of rich emigres and Southern California, and thus dismissed by others. The music is unabashedly pop and generally apolitical, which Hemmasi shows to be the source of its politics. The introduction sets up the argument and tells the story of the growth of the industry and the Los Angeles Iranian community in the context of post-revolutionary Iran. Chapter 2 describes the origins of Tehrangeles dance pop and its use of the "six/eight" (/shesh-o-hasht/) groove, a traditional Iranian dance rhythm long-associated with intimacy. Hemmasi argues that the practices and attitudes around the six/eight groove establish a sense of common sociality among cultural insiders but are also a sometime source of embarrassment. Chapter 3 focuses on expatriate narratives of Iranian popular music history. Hemmasi provides three views on the history of Iranian popular music prior to the revolution from four men involved with the music business since the 1950s and 1960s. Chapter 4 is about homeland, and the desire to return to the homeland of Iran through music and the reinvention of culture. Cultural producers in Tehrangeles operate within multiple moral, legal, and transnational regimes that they often only partially predict or comprehend. Chapters 5 and 6 focus on two expatriate musical celebrities who have claimed to reach and represent the nation from afar: Googoosh, who is a popular female singer; and Dariush Eghbali, who is an activist whose music and media exist in the space between political and personal transformation. The book concludes with a chapter on the changes that have occurred in Iran since the Iranian Revolution and the establishment of expatriate industries in Southern California, affirming the dreaming space of music, creation, and negotiation of both expatriates and people living in Iran. This book will be of interest to scholars in ethnomusicology, transnational media studies, Middle Eastern studies, and cultural studies.

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