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The Life and Afterlife of Tahirih: Eastern and Western Perspectives 

A Lecture by Dr. Sasha Dehghani, Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School

Thursday, March 30 @ 5 pm - Admissions Center, Room 189      poster here

In honor of Women's History Month and the bicentenary of the birth of the noted poet, scholar and martyr, Qurrat al-‘Ayn Tahirih (1817/8 - 1852), "the first Iranian woman to preach equality of the sexes and religious freedom" (Encyclopedia of Religion).

Sponsored by the Departments of Classical & Near Eastern Studies (CNES), Judaic Studies, Comparative Literature, and History, the Middle East and North Africa Program (MENA), the Religious Studies Program, with special thanks to the Dept. of Judaic Studies’ Bernard Lasky Lecture Fund, the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), and the Harpur College Visiting Speaker Fund

Questions?  Please email Omid Ghaemmaghami:

About the lecture:  This presentation will provide a glimpse into the astonishing life and afterlife of the Babi poet, scholar, and martyr, Qurratu’l-Ayn Tahirih (1817/8 – 1852). From E.G. Browne to Muhammad Iqbal, from Sarah Bernhard to Charlotte Despard, to such an extent did her name and fame spread across diverse religions, cultures and disciplines that one cannot but describe her as one of the most significant women of the 19th century.

About the speaker:  Sasha Dehghani completed his PhD in the Arabic Department of the Free University of Berlin, where his research was conducted as part of the DFG project, “Figurations of the Martyr in European and Middle Eastern Literature.” He has also carried out graduate work in Islamic Studies, Political Science, and Protestant Theology/Religious Studies at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, following a DAAD fellowship at the Centre for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies of the American University of Beirut. Dehghani has been a research associate at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Berlin, and has taught courses on Shiite Islam, Islamic intellectual history, and the Baha’i Faith at the Free University of Berlin and the Christian Albrechts University of Kiel, where he was a visiting assistant professor. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.

From the poetry of Tahirih:

"The search for truth shall drive out ignorance

Equality shall strike the despots low

Let warring ways be banished from the world

Let justice everywhere its carpet throw

May friendship ancient hatreds reconcile

May love grow from the seed of love we sow!"     

- Tahirih (trans. Amin Banani)

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Last Updated: 4/20/17