Dr. Sivan Balslev

Areas of specialization:

Iranian Studies, Middle Eastern History, Masculinity Studies, Gender History

Areas of competence:

Middle Eastern History, Iranian History, Gender in the Middle East


Personal website

I’ve completed my PhD from the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies and the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University. My dissertation, entitled “Fokoli, Javanmard, Boy Scout: Changing Masculinities in Modernizing Iran, circa 1870-1940” offers the first study of the emergence of a new model of hegemonic masculinity in Iran.

The dissertation sheds light on several key processes in Iran of the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, which were tightly linked to the question of Iran’s position vis-à-vis the West: modernizing reforms, the growth of the Iranian nationalist movement, westernization and changes in the ideals of love, sexuality and the body. In addition to the influence these processes had on notions of citizenship and on society as a whole, it is my claim that such processes created a new male gender ideal in Iran.

Furthermore, I show how the masculine identity of Iranian reformists greatly influenced the changes they promoted. My research analyzes how a small group of western-educated men of the elite used their privileges and experiences to construct a new model of masculinity. They employed this new model in their struggle for social, political and cultural hegemony in Iranian society. Portraying men of the traditional elites and the rest of the population as uneducated, unpatriotic, socially and sexually immoral, and with deformed and unhygienic bodies, this emerging cohort cemented their position by excluding all others from hegemonic masculinity.

In addition, I published two translations to Hebrew from the work of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad – “Another Birth” and “Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season”.


  • “Dressed for Success: Hegemonic Masculinity, Elite Men, and Westernisation in Iran, c. 1900-1940” (Gender & History 26 (3), November 2014, pp. 545-564)
  • Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season (Hava Na’amin beh Reshit HaOna HaKara). (Hebrew) A translation of Forough Farrokhzad’s book of poems. Keshev Publishing House, 2014
  • Another Birth. (Leda Acheret). (Hebrew) translation of Forough Farrokhzad’s book of poems. Keshev Publishing House, 2012