Dr. Azar Nafisi will give a lecture for the 25th Martin Bucksbaum Lectureship Series this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Knapp Center.
Nafisi is the author of the international bestseller “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” a novel about the Islamic revolution in Iran that has spent over 117 weeks on the “New York Times” bestseller list. It tells the story of a group of seven female students she secretly gathered to read forbidden Western classics in her house in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“My favorite topic [to speak on] is literature and the role imagination can play in it,” Nafisi said. “And I always try to incorporate things into the talks I give that come up in conversations I have with students beforehand.”
Nafisi will be meeting with a small group of students before she speaks at the lecture.
“Speaking with students before the event is fantastic because the event is so big, you cannot have an intimate conversation,” she said. “I don’t like to give a talk [in the small group], I prefer to have a real conversation where the students let me know what they think.”
Nafisi is a visiting professor and the director of the Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
She has conducted workshops in Iran for women and girls on the connection between culture and human rights and has lectured on the implications of the human rights and significant roles of Iranian women and girls.
“If we don’t have knowledge of what goes on in our world and the world around us, it is very easy for us to be deceived,” Nafisi said. “Literacy is a way of controlling your own life and a way of connecting with other people.”
Martin and Melva Bucksbaum created the lectureship series in 1996 with a substantial gift to Drake University. The endowment supporting the lecture series now honors the memory of Martin Bucksbaum.
Wednesday will be the 25th Bucksbaum lecture to take place at Drake, the first given in March of 1997 by Thomas Friedman. Previous speakers include Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. Jane Goodall and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. The lectures typically occur twice a year, but there are no plans for an April lecture as of now.
A book signing is scheduled for right after the lecture. For more information go to www.drake.edu/bucksbaum.