The Importance of Being Aryan:: Confronting Nazi Racial Law and the Determination of Iranian National Identity

Lecture | April 3 | 5-6:30 p.m. | 254 Barrows Hall

 Mohammad Rafi, PhD, UC Irvine

 Near Eastern Studies

This lecture builds on Germany's historical relationship with Iran, specifically the politics of the Aryan discourse between Nazi-Germany and Iran in the 1930/40s, thereby exposing the tension between geopolitical strategy and racial politics. After an overview of the history of the term Aryan as it relates to Germany and Iran, this paper traces the Nazis struggle to
define the term Aryan in order to appease some of its allies in the Middle East. The correspondence between Nazi and Iranian officials to determine the status of Jewish Iranians (as Aryans) is especially illuminating in exposing the precariousness of Nazi racial law and the importance of being
viewed as Aryans for Iranians living in Germany.