Please note that due to scheduling conflicts, this talk will start at 12:20 PM.
In the early 20th century, according to Jewish aid agencies, the Iranian Jewish communities were largely disenfranchised, marginalized, and impoverished. About 80 percent of the Jewish population belonged to the lowest social and economic classes,10 percent were part of the merging middle class, and 10 percent were counted among the countries industrial and intellectual elites. By the 1979 revolution, that situation was radically changed. Ten percent of Iran’s Jews were impoverished, 80 percent comfortably belonged to the middle classes, and 10 percent remained the country’s elites. Moreover, by the 1979 revolution, Jews played a role in all the Iranian political camps: as supporters of the monarchy or part of the revolutionary movements. This talk analyzes the institutional history of the Jewish communities in Iran—and the pivotal role these institutions played in facilitating integration and other social developments.
Lior Sternfeld is an assistant professor of history and Jewish Studies at Penn State. He is a social historian of the modern Middle East with particular interests in the histories of the Jewish people and other minorities of the region.
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