MILLEDGEVILLE — Growing up in Iran as a Christian in a majority Muslim country, Georgia College professor Dr. Claudia Yaghoobi had what she calls a normal life.
“When I came to the U.S. for my graduate program, I found that many people looked at me as though I was an oppressed Middle Eastern woman,” said Yaghoobi. “That was shocking to me, especially since I was in Los Angeles where there was a large Middle Eastern population.”
Yaghoobi did not see herself as a victim; instead she viewed herself as a free woman who actively made choices about her life and future.
“I was unaware of the fact that my Persian-Armenian identity would put me in the category of the oppressed as a Middle Eastern woman in the Western society. Everyone I met expressed concerns about my victimization in Iran and wanted to liberate me,” she said.
That life experience of facing cultural biases led Yaghoobi on a journey to research the cultural diversity, history and literature of her native country.
“Both my research and teaching are geared toward helping future generations in developing an attitude which transcends all dichotomies and biases,” said Yaghoobi.
Her background and life experience led her to participate in a dynamic special series funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys” is a free five-part reading and discussion series that looks at the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.
Yaghoobi and Dr. Mary Magoulick, both of Georgia College, will lead a discussion of one book at each session. Dr. Magoulick developed and teaches a course for Georgia College on Literature of the Islamic World. Dr. Yaghoobi specializes in modern and medieval Persian and English mystical literature from a modern comparative and theoretical perspective, as well as Iran-Armenian studies.