Tahirih Qurrat al-ʿAyn and the Women’s Avant-garde in Europe

In: Hawwa
Sasha Dehghani Visiting Research Professor, Bahá’í Chair for World Peace, University of Maryland College Park, MD USA

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Tahirih Qurrat al-ʿAyn has come to be seen as the first Iranian woman to openly advocate for the rights of women and the first feminist of her country. But it was among the women’s avant-garde in Europe that she first gained the stature of a feminist heroine. Discussing five cases in five nations, this article will show how Tahirih became, across cultural borders, a source of inspiration to Europe’s women avant-garde, especially throughout the second half of the long 19th century, and will suggest some reasons for the decline of public interest in the figure of Tahirih, especially in the period after the second world war.

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