February 20, 2004 Women in Iran Is Subject of March 16 Lecture
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Azar Nafisi will deliver a lecture titled "Women in Iran: Past, Present and Future" at the Library of Congress at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16, in the West Dining Room, sixth floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Near East Section of the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division, the lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Nafisi was sent by her parents to England at the age of 13 to finish her studies. Upon completing her degree in English and American literature, she returned to a changed Iran after the 1979 revolution. She began teaching at the University of Tehran, where she struggled with the impact of the revolution while earning national and international recognition for her advocacy on behalf of Iran's intellectuals, youth and women. She was expelled from the university in 1981 for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil and did not resume teaching until 1987. A decade later, she came to the United States, where she currently teaches culture and literature at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
For several years before leaving Iran, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every week to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. The experience is recounted in her recent book, "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books" (Random House, 2003). The book is a personal account of the struggle for intellectual freedom in Iran before, during and after the revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power.