Austin College will host guest lecturer Dr. Faegheh Shirazi to discuss Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood—the common read for incoming Austin College freshmen. The presentation will begin at 10 a.m. September 17 in Ida Green Theatre of Ida Green Communication Center and will be followed by a 40-minute question-and-answer session with students. The event is free and open to the public.
Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Dr. Shirazi’s lecture will emphasize how the image of the Iranian woman was used as political propaganda to promote Islamic piety during the Iran-Iraq War. As a result of the revolution and the war, many young women and their families left Iran. Dr. Shirazi will explain how the resulting diaspora has now produced many women authors, such as Marjane Satrapi herself, who have found a variety of ways to tell their stories and express the dilemma of negotiating two different cultures and identities.
As part of its unique “Communication/Inquiry,” or C/I, mentoring program, incoming Austin College freshmen take part in a common read to be discussed in the fall semester. The C/I program serves as the foundation course of Austin College’s undergraduate curriculum and provides each student a faculty mentor who serves as the student’s mentor for the full four-year experience and instructor for the first-year student in the C/I course. C/I helps students develop communication skills and intellectual inquiry, and promotes student-faculty collaboration with research and writing opportunities that can position students for success well beyond college. Also, the program encourages students to motivate and teach each other, and promotes collaboration over competitiveness.
Dr. Shirazi is the author of The Veil Unveiled: Hijab in Modern Culture and Velvet Jihad: Muslim Women’s Quiet Resistance to Islamic Fundamentalism, and she edited Muslim Women in War and Crisis: From Reality to Perception. An expert on popular religious practices and Muslim societies, with a primary focus on Iran, Dr. Shirazi serves as associate professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
“We are thrilled Austin College students will experience the opportunity to discuss Persepolis with Dr. Shirazi,” said Dr. Marjorie Hass, president of Austin College. “Our C/I faculty chose Persepolis as the freshman common read because it offers a variety of discussion points that can be debated by a diverse range of students. Additionally, the graphic novel format prepares students to use and understand visual literacy, a skill that is becoming as important to communication as reading, writing, and public speaking.”
The first graphic novel common read at Austin College, Persepolis introduces themes of cultural and religious difference; coming of age and identity issues; the role of women in the family and society; growing up with war and violence; the complex nature of family relationships; and the importance of stories in shaping our lives and identities.
Austin College C/I students will view a film version of the book at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 13, in Ida Green Theater in the Ida Green Communication Center.
About Austin College
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges that Change Lives.