Tehrangeles Dreaming

Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California's Iranian Pop Music

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 40 illustrations Published: April 2020

Cultural Studies, Middle East Studies, Music > Ethnomusicology

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.


“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 analyzes 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 Malek, International Journal of Middle East Studies


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Farzaneh Hemmasi is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
1. The Capital of 6/8  38
2. Iranian Popular Music and History: Views from Tehrangeles  67
3. Expatriate Erotics, Homeland Moralities  98
4. Iran as a Singing Woman  122
5. A Nation in Recovery  153
Conclusion: Forty Years  186
Notes  201
References  223
Index  235
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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