March 28, 2011, 12:00pm
The Tarbiyat Girls’ School of Tehran: Baha’i, American, or Nationalist Iranian Education?
Presenter: Jasamin Rostam Kolayi, Dept. of History Cal-State Fullerton
Location: Fisher Bennett Hall 244

Tarbiyat, one of Iran’s most influential and pioneering girls’ schools of the early twentieth century, was a joint venture of Iranian and North American Baha’is.   Opened in 1910 and shut down by the state in 1934, it showcased a secular and modern-style curriculum, and educated a Baha’i and non-Baha’i student body in Tehran.  Scholarly references to Tarbiyat tend to credit American Baha’i administrators and teachers for the school’s exceptional performance and success.  However, primary sources indicate that Tarbiyat’s achievements were due more to the school’s conscious attention to an indigenous, Iranian nationalist outlook than to Western modernist (American) ideas and models.  Moreover, a reexamination of this school’s institutional history and intellectual contribution sheds new light on US-Iranian relations, as well as on the role of Iranian religious minorities in modern nation building.  

Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi completed her Ph.D. in Near East History at UCLA in 2000. Before coming to Cal State Fullerton, she taught history at Cal State Long Beach (2000-03) and Cal State San Marcos (2003-06). Dr. Rostam-Kolayi was a Keddie-Balzan Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at UCLA in 2006-07. Her teaching and research interests focus on the Modern Middle East and include women's history and film in Iran and the world.

The Middle East Center