Archaeology, Diaspora, and Identity:
New Frontiers in Zoroastrian and Parsi History and Culture
Dr. Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina
Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 7 p.m.
Piggott Hall (Bldg 260), Room 113, Stanford University
This lecture will explore the ways in which the experiences of diaspora
and migration have acted as powerful factors in Zoroastrian history,
culture, and religious identity in both the past and the present. The
first half of the lecture will survey the recent archaeological
discoveries in rural Gujarat that are transforming our understanding of
the early history and religious culture of the Parsi community in India.
The second half of the lecture will discuss issues of demography,
immigration, and changing religious practice in the most recent
diasporas of Zoroastrians out of India and Iran to England, North
America and beyond. The truly global nature of Zoroastrianism in the
21st century can be best appreciated by a deeper understanding of the
rich migratory patterns and cultural adaptations of Zoroastrian
communities through the centuries.
Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina received his Ph.D. from the Department of
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University in 2007.
After completing his dissertation, Studies in Zoroastrian Exegesis and
Hermeneuticswith a Critical Edition of the Sudgar Nask of Denkard Book
9, Dr. Vevaina served as a Core Fellow in the Core Curriculum in Harvard
College and as a Lecturer at Harvard from 2007-2008. He has taught a
number of courses related to Zoroastrianism including, Old Persian and
Middle Language and Literature, an Introduction to Zoroastrianism and a
seminar course on Contemporary Zoroastrianism. His research interests
include: critical approaches to the study of Zoroastrianism; the history
and development of Zoroastrian interpretation; the interplay between
text and liturgy in ritual practice; colonial and post-colonial
constructions of religion; and religion in diaspora. He is currently
working on a number of articles and a book project.