The Relationship between Gender and Space in the Public and Private Realms in the Qajar Era

Document Type : Research Article



  Gender is a social and cultural concept that changes in different times and places. Various factors such as beliefs, religious teachings and customs are involved in shaping it. The present paper, applying historical approach and relying on an interpretation of historical texts and travelogues and focusing on the culture and religion in Iranian society, investigates changes in the gender realms of urban, rural and tribal communities in the Qajar period. Considering this pre-hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between "gender identity" and "spatial identity", this paper response to a main question: Which factors have influenced in shaping of gender realms and their transformation in various situations? In this respect, we first find gender realms in the public and private places in the Qajar period. Then, we explain and analyze the comments of travel writers. The findings of the study indicate that cultural factors such as ritual beliefs, dressing way, women’s education and cultural influence of the West in the late Qajar era, social factors, including the structure of power, class, and social norms, and also economic factors including livelihood and geographic region have changed the relationship between gender and space. This paper discusses that how these factors influence on gender and space. Study of the Safavid and Qajar history and comparison of travelogues written during this period; give us the conclusion that the position of women in this period was similar in many aspects. The formation of movements and organization of women just after the constitutional revolution have changed this situation. Thus, in the present study, 6 travelogues of the Qajar dynasty, 6 travelogues of the Safavids, 8 memoirs and biographies have been investigated. In this paper, determining the influence of gender identity on spatial identity and the confounding factors in the relationship between gender and space are considered. Identifying domains as the basis of social and relative relations in public and private spaces have particular importance to detect possible changes in the gendered spaces. This research is based on historical texts, travelogues and biographies to explain the changes in spatial organization and classification of public and private realms according to changes in gender definition. This paper investigated these maters during the Qajar era. The main research question is that how features of space and the use of private and public realms affected of gender identity, social and cultural position, and status of women and men during the Qajar era.