Dissident Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush will discuss “Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam” on Monday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Community Foundation Theater in Gund Gallery.
Soroush also will host a conversation on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 11:10 a.m. in the Community Foundation Theater on “Rumi: Prophet of Love.” Soroush will share his thoughts on Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet.
Soroush was a supporter of Iran’s 1979 revolution but in 1995 was banned from publishing, teaching, and giving public lectures in Iran after he began expressing ideas the regime considered controversial or heretical. Since then, he has taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Georgetown, Columbia and the University of Chicago. He is now a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland. Among other accolades, Soroush has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” and one of Foreign Policy’s “top global thinkers.” An article in the New York Times in 2008 called him Iran’s “leading public intellectual.” He gives lectures around the world.
Professor of Religious Studies Vernon Schubel helped generate support among campus groups and academic departments to bring Soroush to Kenyon. “It’s often stated that [Soroush is] a foremost Muslim intellectual, but I’d go further than that,” Schubel said. “He’s one of the foremost thinkers on issues of democracy and religion ... in the world today.”
Schubel encouraged all students and community members to attend the talk, especially given the relevance of the topics Soroush will discuss. “For people who think the only important intellectual thought takes place in Europe or America, and that there are no serious intellectuals in the rest of the world, this should be an eye-opener,” Schubel said.
Both events are free and open to the public.
— Madeleine Thompson '15