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Distinguished Lecture Series

Monday, September 25, 2017: Azar Nafisi

Author Azar Nafisi. Photo Credit: Stanley Staniski

The Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series at Boise State University presents Iranian-American Bestselling Author, Azar Nafisi at 7 p.m. Monday, September 25, in the Jordan Ballroom. Her remarks are titled “The Republic of Imagination.”

This event is free and open to the public. Parking at no charge.

Azar Nafisi is also the author of one of this year’s Campus Read essays. Her essay Liberal Education & the Republic of the Imagination and the rest of the 2017 essays, are available to read here.

Azar Nafisi’s Bio

Azar Nafisi is best known as the author of the national bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which electrified its readers with a compassionate and often harrowing portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and how it affected one university professor and her students. Earning high acclaim and an enthusiastic readership, Reading Lolita in Tehran is an incisive exploration of the transformative powers of fiction in a world of tyranny. The book has spent over 117 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Reading Lolita in Tehran has been translated in 32 languages, and has won diverse literary awards, including the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, Non-fiction Book of the Year Award from Booksense, the Frederic W. Ness Book Award, the Latifeh Yarsheter Book Award, the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, and an achievement award from the American Immigration Law Foundation, as well as being a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Memoir. In 2006 she won a Persian Golden Lioness Award for literature, presented by the World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media. In 2009 Reading Lolita in Tehran was named as one of the “100 Best Books of the Decade” by The Times (London).

Between 1997 and 2017, Azar Nafisi was a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, where she was a professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature, and taught courses on the relation between culture and politics, she was also Director of The Dialogue Project & Cultural Conversations. She studied in the US in the 1970s and earned her Ph.D. at University of Oklahoma. She returned to Iran and taught at the University of Tehran, and in 1981, she was expelled for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil and did not resume teaching until 1987. She taught at the Free Islamic University and Allameh Tabatabai, and then held a fellowship at Oxford University, teaching and conducting a series of lectures on culture and the important role of Western literature and culture in Iran after the revolution in 1979. Dr. Nafisi returned to the United States in 1997 — earning national respect and international recognition for advocating on behalf of Iran’s intellectuals, youth, and especially young women. Read her full bio.

Her most recent book is entitled The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books (October 2014), a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction in America today.

“I was enthralled and moved by Azar Nafisi’s account of how she defied, and helped others to defy, radical Islam’s war against women. Her memoir contains important and properly complex reflections about the ravages of theocracy, about thoughtfulness, and about the ordeals of freedom—as well as a stirring account of the pleasures and deepening of consciousness that result from an encounter with great literature and with an inspired teacher.”Susan Sontag

Thank you to the following sponsors for their support:

The Boise State Distinguished Lecture Series was created to promote the discussion of important issues.

The Distinguished Lecture Series brings eminent speakers to Boise State University from the realm of politics, academics, and humanitarian activism to promote the discussion of important issues and to enrich our campus and community.

The lectures are free of charge. The Distinguished Lecture Series is presented by the Honors College and President’s Office at Boise State University.