Book cover designed by Matt Tauch, Duke UP


My book Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California’s Iranian Pop Music received the inaugural Hamid Naficy Book Award granted by the Association of Iranian Studies on behalf of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University. The award honours work in the vein of distinguished scholar of Iranian diaspora Dr. Hamid Naficy.

Read the Introduction to Tehrangeles Dreaming.

Access the Tehrangeles Dreaming YouTube playlist, including almost every musical and video example discussed in the book in the order they appear.

Tehrangeles Dreaming has been taught at UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, UC Santa Barbara, University of Toronto, Reed College, Kalamazoo College, and more. Teaching the book? Get in touch!

About the book

Los Angeles, called Tehrangeles because it is home to the largest concentration of Iranians outside of Iran, is the birthplace of a distinctive form of postrevolutionary pop music. Created by professional musicians and media producers fleeing Iran’s revolutionary-era ban on “immoral” popular music, Tehrangeles pop has been a part of daily life for Iranians at home and abroad for decades. In Tehrangeles Dreaming Farzaneh Hemmasi draws on ethnographic fieldwork in Los Angeles and musical and textual analysis to examine how the songs, music videos, and television made in Tehrangeles express modes of Iranianness not possible in Iran. Exploring Tehrangeles pop producers’ complex commercial and political positioning, and the histories, sensations, and fantasies their music makes available to global Iranian audiences, Hemmasi shows how unquestionably Iranian forms of Tehrangeles popular culture exemplify the manner in which culture, media, and diaspora combine to respond to the Iranian state and its political transformations. The transnational circulation of Tehrangeles culture, she contends, transgresses Iran’s geographical, legal, and moral boundaries while allowing all Iranians the ability to imagine new forms of identity and belonging.

Praise for Tehrangeles Dreaming
“In this important book Farzaneh Hemmasi offers a novel reading of Iranian exilic pop music, raising insightful conceptual questions about the notion and significance of pop culture and diasporic imagination. By taking pop music seriously, she opens up a space for conversations about transnational networks of artistic production, the construction of nationhood and nationalism, and the politics of identity.”
Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, author of Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment

Tehrangeles Dreaming deftly analyses what circulates and translates around and across this most complex and refractive of diasporic spaces. It is a subtle book, a model of how to weave popular music and dance into a field still largely dominated by film and literature. And a real pleasure to read. That shesh-o-hasht groove can be felt on every page.”
Martin Stokes, author of The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music

“Farzaneh Hemmasi’s book is a deft and insightful analysis of Tehrangeles, viewed as a geography, a music scene, a pop industry, a transnational cultural production field, and a post-revolutionary diasporic cultural formation…. Conceptually rich, theoretically nuanced, with its lucid demonstrations of the mobilization of affect, Hemmasi’s Tehrangeles Dreaming makes a valuable contribution to a wide range of scholarship.”
Mehdi Semati, Cultural Studies

Tehrangeles Dreaming offers a compellingly argued and accessibly written ethnography of exile, cultural production, and the politics of identity in the Iranian context. It no doubt will be useful for those in ethnomusicology, anthropology, cultural studies, and Middle East Studies…”
  — Amy MalekInternational Journal of Middle East Studies

“[Tehrangeles Dreaming] is an invaluable contribution to the study of Iranian popular culture…. Hemmasi is a truly powerful narrator in her ethnographic work and she provides a profoundly deep and pointed analysis….”
Siavash Rokni, Lateral

“[Tehrangeles Dreaming] is particularly interesting when it discusses the impact of Tehrangeles pop on Iranians within, in political, social and moral terms…. The writing is engaging, filled with stories about fieldwork and encounters.”
Laetitia Nanquette, Abstracta Iranica


Talks, Media, & Reviews

Interview in

Virtual book launch with Prof. Amy Malek of Princeton University’s Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.

Review in Cultural Studies by Mehdi Semati.

Review in International Journal of Middle East Studies by Amy Malek.

Review in Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association by Siavash Rokni.

Review in Jadaliyya by Ida Yalzadeh.

Podcast interview with New Book Network’s Dr. Aaron Hagler.

Podcast interview with Del beh Del: Heart to Heart Conversations with the Iranian Diaspora, produced by San Francisco State University’s Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. Part 1.

Tehrangeles Dreaming YouTube playlist.