On May 30, 2012, Professor Afsaneh Najmabadi gave a presentation on her project Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran at an event at the White House titled “Exploring Communities of Muslim Women Throughout History.” Hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the event showcased NEH-funded scholarship that explores places and moments in time when communities of Muslim women have flourished. Najmabadi was joined by Professor Mounira Charrad of the University of Texas, who discussed her forthcoming book examining family law reform in Morocco in 2004 and 1950’s Tunisia. The event was moderated by Professor Azizah Al-Hibri, founder of KARAMAH and law professor at the University of Richmond.

Afsaneh Najmabadi is the Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard and a member of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies Steering Committee. With help from a NEH grant, Najmabadi and a team of scholars and students have created Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran, a visually stunning and historically expansive digital archive of artifacts from women living during the time of the Qajar dynasty in Iran (1796–1925). The online archive is unique in that the objects and materials it contains are not physically collected or housed in single museum or institution; instead they have been gathered by researchers on the ground from a variety of private and family collections around the world.

More information is available on the White House’s blog: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/05/30/exploring-communities-muslim-women-throughout-history

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