Engleman Hall - Room A120
Aramech Dustdar, the influential Iranian philosopher, will speak on the topic, "What Kind of Culture is Religious Culture?"
This lecture examines the concepts of language, culture and nationality in the pre-and post-Islamic Middle East, and how and why the Islamic religion has influenced all three.
Dr. Aramech Dustdar is one of the most influential thinkers in the history of modern Iran. He was destined to be an iconoclast from the time he was born into a family of practicing Baha'i -- an outlawed religion conceived in Shiite Iran. This tenuous early life as a threatened minority under highly intolerant Islamic rule turned the notion of religion and religious thinking into a lifelong intellectual preoccupation. That preoccupation led him into a career as a journalist at Deutsche Welle in Germany while he pursued a Ph.D. in philosophy with a minor in comparative religions. Having received his doctorate degree in philosophy, he returned to Iran to become one of a handful of professors who founded the school of philosophy at the University of Tehran. As an atheist faculty member, already renown for his anti-religious views, Dustdar became a target of radical Islamic activists when the 1979 Islamic revolution swept through Iran. Like so many other university professors, he left a career, a home, and a homeland, to begin a life of exile in Germany. His first manuscript, "Some Philosophical Remarks on Religion and Science," was lost in the tumult of the revolution and departure. But that proved only a boon to this ceaseless thinker, who then went on to recapture the lost book and produce three major volumes. Banned in Iran, the first of these, Lightless Sparks: The Impossibility of Thinking in a Religious Culture, has caused fiery debates among Iranian intellectuals for two decades. With the rise of radical Islamism as a global nemesis, Aramech Dustdar is proving to have been long ahead of his time and a great philosophical visionary.
Phone: (203) 392-6615