What We’re Reading: Russia in the Arctic and Ghosts in Tehran

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

Under the Shadow Written and directed by Babak Anvari Shideh, an aspiring doctor living in Tehran at the height of the Iran-Iraq War, grabs her daughter, Dorsa, and flees her apartment building in the dead of night. Panicked and unthinking, she forgets her hijab. Unmarked police find her, arrest her and bring her to a shabby detention center, where the captain lets her off with a warning before coldly telling her, “A woman should be scared of exposing herself more than anything else.” It’s unclear whether she told the authorities why she was running, alone and immodest, in the streets of the capital. I suspect she didn’t, because they wouldn’t have believed the truth: Shideh was trying to save her daughter from a ghost, only to be turned back by the very social forces that created so much fear in the first place. “Under the Shadow” is just drenched in metaphors like these. Indeed, the ghosts in question – traditional Persian boogeymen called djinn – are said to travel on the wind, which in this film is less a meteorological event than an avatar of change. Change, after all, is at the heart of the story. Iran had just undergone […]

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Cole Altom
Cole Altom is the managing editor at Geopolitical Futures. He oversees the publishing department, which curates the website, develops Geopolitical Futures’ editorial strategy, consults with analysts, liaises with marketing and maintains the integrity of all published material. Before joining Geopolitical Futures, Mr. Altom worked at Stratfor for seven years, during which time, as managing editor, he handled special projects, served as personnel director for the publishing department, ran the internship program, managed website taxonomy, tracked website analytics, developed new content types and edited and copyedited published material. Mr. Altom earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science at Trinity University in San Antonio. He is a certified English teacher and is conversant in Spanish.
Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.