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Lost Souls: Photography of African Eunuchs & Female Servants in Qajar Iran
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States + Google Map
©The Farhad Diba Collection of Qajar Photographs.
Caption: Malek Jahan Khanom/ Mahd-e Olia, the mother of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
A lecture in English by Pedram Khosronejad
The focus of scholars of photography of Qajar Iran, remains fixed solely on photographic content, without any consideration of the materiality of photographic form. Recognizing photographs as material culture is a way to address such a blind spot, and suggests that any methodological use of them requires a more complex and subtle approach. Photographs of enslaved children, women and men in Iran during the Qajar period provide compelling and haunting documentation of individuals (African slaves) otherwise lost to the written historical record. Yet the history of such photographs is firmly embedded in the dynamic of exploitation and dehumanization that lay at the core of African slavery in Qajar Iran.
Pedram Khosronejad is Farzaneh Family Chair and Associate Director for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies Program (IPGS) at the Oklahoma State University and also associate member of Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laicités, CNRS-Paris, France. He obtained his PhD at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His research interests include cultural and social anthropology, the anthropology of death and dying, visual anthropology, visual piety, devotional artefacts, and religious material culture, with a particular interest in Iran, Persianate societies and the Islamic world. He is author of Les Lions en Pierre Sculptée chez les Bakhtiari: Description et significations de sculptures zoomorphes dans une société tribale du sud-ouest de l’Iran, The Anthropology of Persianate Societies, Volume 2 (Sean Kingston Publishing, U.K.). He is also the editor of several publications: The Art and Material Culture of Iranian Shi’ism: Iconography and Religious Devotion in Shi’i Islam (I.B. Tauris); Saints and their Pilgrims in Iran and Neighboring Countries (Sean Kingston); Iranian Sacred Defence Cinema: Religion, Martyrdom and National Identity (Sean Kingston); Unburied Memories: The Politics of Bodies, and the Material Culture of Sacred Defense Martyrs in Iran (Routledge). He is also chief editor of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia (ACME).
This event is made possible with the generous support of Farhang Foundation
Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies