This site is an ethnographic project. It is a workshop for communication of texts, images and sounds regarding the history, society and culture of the Turkic speaking Qashqai people of the Fars region of southern Iran.

This project is dedicated to the people who taught me about the Qashqai and the Fars region, and also to those who supported this pursuit.

manouchehr shiva


What does it mean to engage in an ethnographic project in a time when ethnographic writings, "empirical or positive knowledge" and "ethnographic facts" are viewed as constrained by their historical, social, political and linguistic contexts and colored by their authorships?

Who speaks for “the Qashqai culture” and whose voices are not presented here?

The Qashqai are mostly settled and semi-settled. Those who migrate rely increasingly on mechanized means of transportation (trucks of various sorts, etc.). Why is it the case that in so many contemporary photographs the Qashqai are shown migrating without the use of mechanized means of transportation?


Photo: A. Shiva, 2002

During the nineteenth century the Qashqai developed into a large confederacy of pastoral nomadic Turkic speaking tribal groups in the Fars region. During the last several decades the Qashqai "traditional" tribal hierarchy and bonds have dissolved and gone through various transformations. The Qashqai are now mostly settled. They are Shia Muslims and also identify themselves as Turks in the region, and as Iranians. They have actively participated in the various social dramas of constructing the Iranian modern nation. They are, at least, bilingual.

In what ways the Qashqai, in today's Iran, are constructed as a "tribal" society" a "tribe" a "confederacy" of "tribes," a "pastoral nomadic population," or an "ethnic minority" community?