Volume 2022 Number 3
  • EISSN: 2223-506X


Persianate cultures have been greatly influenced by the “mirror for princes” genre, which offers monarchs advice on how to treat their subjects justly and methods of being an ideal ruler. While scholars have chosen to study this genre from a male-centered perspective, how royal women shaped this genre has remained under-examined by current scholarship. This presentation argues that (1884-1936) by Iranian Qajar Princess Taj al-Saltana, offers new ways of seeing how women used memoir writing to challenge the dominance of their male counterparts during times of pandemics. As the daughter of Naser al-Din Shah, Princess Taj al-Saltana, was able to carefully document one of the many cholera epidemics that ravaged late 19th century Iran from her unique perspective as a recognized intellectual and activist who advocated constitutionalism, freedom, and women’s rights in Iran. In addition to chronicling a cholera epidemic in Iran over one hundred years ago, Taj al-Saltana’s memoir holds interest for modern scholars interested in her handling of genre conventions, specifically how she indicts the ruling patriarchy of the Qajar government of Iran and its corruption which led to the failure to control cholera in the country, while simultaneously instructing female readers about the conduct of an ideal female ruler to build a healthier Iran. This presentation aims to show the way functions as a “mirror for princesses” and how we can come up with better strategies of resistance especially in the age of COVID-19 with the failures of patriarchal governments to stop pandemics.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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