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Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran: A Digital Window to Women's History

A lecture by Afsaneh Najmabadi, Harvard University
Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA
Sunday, May 01, 2011 at 5:00 PM
121 Dodd Hall, UCLA

Lecture in Persian -- Free and Open to the Public
Please visit the event's page for further details.

Afsaneh Najmabadi is the principal investigator working on the Women's World in Qajar Iran project.

Women's World in Qajar Iran project

About Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran project:

The goal of Women's World in Qajar Iran is to address a gap in scholarship and understanding of the lives of women during the Qajar era (1796 - 1925) in Iran by developing a comprehensive digital resource that preserves, links, and renders accessible primary-source materials related to the social and cultural history of women's worlds in Qajar Iran. Through the use of technology it brings together little known archives scattered across the world.

Given the dearth of available primary-source materials related to women in the Qajar era, it is not surprising that, to date, the vast majority of Qajar social histories have focused almost exclusively on the struggles, achievements, and day-to-day realities of the men of that period. This is in part a matter of expediency; while men's writing have been easily accessible in various national archives for decades (and many have in more recent years been published in edited volumes), most women's writings, photographs, and other personal papers have to date remained sequestered in private family hands.

WWQI aims to open up the documented social and cultural histories of Qajar women, thus allowing for the examinations of broader patterns of life during this era. Our collection has paid specific attention to materials that will illuminate women's relations to each other and to family members of various generations, their roles in life cycle rituals, their perceptions of women outside Iran (the Ottoman Empire, South Asia, and Europe, in particular), and the interconnections that women's activities, networks, and allegiances wove between various ethnic and religious communities. The Qajar period is known for a flourishing of all forms of artistic expression, most notably calligraphies and a distinctive, European-influenced style of portraiture; for a diversity of religious beliefs and practices; and for a new opening of Iran to other nations and cultures. Beyond simply historians of women's studies and/or the Qajar period, we hope that scholars and students of art and art history, religion, comparative literature, and languages-to name just a few broad areas of study-will find much within this archive that deepens or expands their work.

In 2009, Women's World in Qajar Iran received a two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that has enabled the current phase of the project.

Please visit to read more and to view the photo collection.

... Payvand News - 04/19/11 ... --

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