Prof. Dr. Leila Papoli Yazdi, an Iranian archaeologist, is the Dahlem International Network Professor for Gender Studies at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2014/15 fall/winter semester. In her research, Yazdi, 36, focuses on Iranian gender history and body history from antiquity to the present day as well as art historical themes. She publishes her findings in conventional academic journals and also presents them through performances or exhibitions with political and humanitarian objectives. When more than 30,000 people died after the earthquake in Bam in 2003, she drew on her various methods to draw attention to the suffering.
Because of her feminist position, Leila Papoli Yazdi had to give up her job as a professor of archaeology at a research university in Iran, Ali Ibn Sina University of Hamadan, a position she had held from 2005 to 2011. She then taught at the smaller University of Neishabur. Since 2012 she has been working at the Institute for Near Eastern Archaeology, Freie Universität Berlin, as a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In her current research project, Yazdi is studying the female body as an object of political propaganda for the period of time ranging from the Sassanian period in Persia (i.e., from the 3rd to the 6th century AD) to the present.
As part of her visiting professorship, she will hold an inaugural lecture on October 21, 2014, entitled "My Body, A Female One, and Not Dressed in Black: An Iranian Archaeologist Abroad." During the semester she will teach a seminar on gender politics in archaeology in the Middle East.