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Lecture: The Cultural Politics of Martyrdom in Iran and the Middle East

The First Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series
By Dr. Ali Banuazizi

March 5-10, 2007 at The Center for Persian Studies, University of Maryland

Dr. Ali Banuazizi, Professor of Social Psychology at Boston College and former MESA President, will be first Ehsan Yarshater Lecturer in Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. The prestigious biennial lecture series is made possible by a generous endowment established by he Persian Heritage Foundation in the name of the most celebrated living scholar of Iranian Studies in the world Editor-in-Chief of the monumental Encyclopaedia Iranica. It promises to bring to the UMCP an outstanding expert in an area of Persian and Iranian Studies relevant to current issues of international interest for a week-long stay and in series of academic lectures in English and, where possible, an additional lecture in Persian for the benefit of the Iranian-American community in the area.

Dr. Banuazizi's lectures on the Cultural Politics of Martyrdom in Iran and the Middle East promises to place a timely topic of intense relevance in its various religious and historical contexts. The three lectures, scheduled for the week of March 5-9, 2007, will explore the theological meanings of the concept of martyrdom in the sacred traditions of major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, examining the social, cultural, and psychological dynamics through which martyrdom acquires its symbolic power. It will then analyze some of the ways in which the powerful symbolism of martyrdom has been used to advance political and social objectives across time and space.

Finally, Professor Banuazizi will argue that the current surge of jihadi movements in many parts of the Muslim world represents the most extreme exploitation of the concepts of martyrdom and jihad for purely political objectives under a puritanical Islamic guise. The ready resort to terrorist tactics by these groups has done incalculable damage to the contemporary image of Islam around the globe. As such, it demonstrates the dangers, in the extreme, of using religion as political ideology-a tendency that finds its counterparts in other religions in today's world.

To download abstract of the lecture please click here
To downoald PDF version of the invitation card please click here
Map and Directions please click here

Ali Banuazizi is Professor of Cultural Psychology at Boston College and Codirector of the Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. After receiving his Ph. D. from Yale University in 1968, he taught at Yale and the University of Southern California before joining the Boston College Faculty in 1971. Since then, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Tehran, Princeton, Harvard, M.I.T., and Oxford University. He served as the founding editor of the journal of Iranian Studies, from 1968 to 1982.  He is a past President of the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) and of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA).
Ali Banuazizi is the author of numerous articles on society, culture, and politics in Iran and the Middle East, and the coeditor (with Myron Weiner) of three books on politics, religion and society in Southwest and Central Asia, including The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (1986), The Politics of Social Transformation in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (1994), and The New Geopolitics of Central Asia and Its Borderlands (1994).


... Payvand News - 2/11/07 ... --

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