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Views of an Iranian Archaeologist Abroad

Inaugural Lecture by Leila Papoli Yazdi as International Visiting Professor of Gender Studies on October 21, 2014

№ 350/2014 from Oct 14, 2014

On October 21, 2014, Professor Leila Yazdi Papoli will give her inaugural lecture as the Dahlem International Network Professor of Gender Studies at Freie Universität during the 2014/2015 fall/winter semester. Yazdi, an archaeologist from Iran, aims in her presentation to correct the image of women in Iran. According to her, both in the West and in Iran itself, the prevailing view about women in the region is very limited. In her lecture, Yazdi will trace the social and political transition processes that began after the discovery of oil in the Middle East at the beginning of the 20th century. In her presentation entitled “My Body, A Female One, and Not Dressed in Black: An Iranian Archaeologist Abroad,” she will utilize performance elements. The inaugural lecture is public. It will take place on October 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Topoi Villa in Dahlem.

Since 2012 Leila Yazdi Papoli has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Freie Universität doing research on the woman's body as an object of political propaganda in the region that was Persia in antiquity and is present-day Iran. Her research covers the entire time period. As an archaeologist, she has examined the lives of past eras, but also those from more recent times: Following the devastating earthquake in the southern Iranian town of Bam, she undertook archaeological excavations in an attempt to reconstruct the diversity of women's lives in private spheres.

Because of her anti-government stance, Yazdi was forced to give up her chair in archaeology at a research university, Buali Sina University in Hamadan, Iran, which she had held from 2005 to 2010. She was allowed to teach at the smaller Neishabur University. In her inaugural lecture at Freie Universität she will describe, among other things, how she dealt with the restrictions imposed on her in 2011.

For more than three decades gender equality and the promotion of gender studies have been firmly rooted in Freie Universität Berlin’s core values. They are central features of the university’s institutional development strategy, which in 2012 won special funding for the second consecutive time in Germany’s federal and state excellence initiative for universities. As part of the implementation of the university's development strategy, the Dahlem International Network Professorship for Gender Studies has been advertised annually since 2013. It is awarded to an outstanding scholar in this field. The professorship supports activities that enhance the international orientation of gender studies research at Freie Universität. The chair was occupied for the first time during the 2013/14 fall/winter semester by the Canadian political scientist and expert on Latin America, Professor Verónica Schild from Western University London, Ontario.

Time and Location

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 6:30–8:00 p.m.
  • Topoi Villa Dahlem, Freie Universität Berlin, Hittorfstraße 18, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Thielplatz, U 3

Link to Further Information

Further Information

Dr. Nina Diezemann, Office of News and Public Affairs, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-73190, Email: