Join us for a dialogue between Janet Afary (Religious Studies) and Dwight Reynolds (Religious Studies) about Afary’s new book, Mollā Nasreddin: The Making of a Modern Trickster, 1906-1911. Refreshments will be served.
In the early twentieth century, a group of artists and intellectuals reinterpreted the Middle Eastern trickster figure Nasreddin in their periodical Mollā Nasreddin. They used folklore, visual art, and satire to disseminate a consciously radical and social democratic discourse on religion, gender, sexuality, and power in Transcaucasia and Iran. The periodical reached tens of thousands of people in the Muslim world, impacting the thinking of a generation.
This highly-illustrated book explores the milieu in which Mollā Nasreddin was born, the way the periodical recreated the trickster trope, and the influence of European graphic artists, especially Francisco Goya, on the journal. It focuses on the most creative period, 1906-11, when the journal reflected the social and political concerns of three major upheavals: the 1905 Russian Revolution, the 1906–1911 Iranian Constitutional Revolution, and the 1908 Young Turk Movement. Afary received the 2023 Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize in the History of Journalism from the American Historical Association, awarded annually to the author of the most outstanding book published in English on the history of journalism. The book also received the 2023 British-Kuwait Friendship Award, given to the best scholarly work on the Middle East published in the U.K.
Janet Afary is Professor of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara and the author of Sexual Politics in Modern Iran,Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, and The Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-11: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism.
Cosponsored by the IHC’s Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment