Jews and Education in Modern Iran: Upward Mobility, Integration, and Identity

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Lecture with Daniella Farah (Rice University)

In 1947, 95% of the students in the Alliance Israélite Universelle’s network of Jewish schools in Iran were Jewish. However, by 1977, only 51% of Alliance students were Jewish, and more than half of all Jewish children in Iran were attending non-Jewish schools. What accounts for these changes? This talk will explore Jews and education in twentieth-century Iran through the intersecting themes of upward mobility, identity formation, integration, and national belonging. In addition to examining several Jewish-run schools in Iran, such as the Alliance, Ozar Hatorah, and ORT vocational schools, the talk will also address the eventual preference of many Jewish parents to send their children to non-Jewish schools. By applying an educational lens to Iranian Jewish history, this talk will demonstrate how Jews navigated the educational sphere to find their place in the broader Iranian nation.

Dr. Daniella Farah is a Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at Rice University, and a recipient of a 2021 Salo Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies Award and a 2021-2022 Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Grant. She received her Ph.D. in Jewish History from Stanford University in July 2021. Dr. Farah’s scholarship lies at the intersection of modern Jewish history, education history, Middle Eastern history, and transnational studies, focusing on Jewish-Muslim relations, national belonging, and Jewish identity formation in modern Iran and Turkey. As an Iranian-American Jewish woman, her work aims to give voice to Middle Eastern Jews’ experiences.

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Duration: 00:39:05


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Published: Thursday, November 4, 2021