AUK Hosts Second Talk of Faculty Speaker Series
AUK hosted the second talk of its Faculty Speaker Series entitled “Beyond the Shari’a: The Changing Concept of Romance and Marriage in the Islamic Republic of Iran” presented by Dr. Gholamreza Vatandoust, professor of Near Eastern Studies and History at AUK. The talk’s attendees included AUK’s president Dr. Rawda Awwad, members of the president cabinet, faculty members, students, and members of the general public.
The talk shed light on the pivotal influence of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. Dr. Vatandoust began his talk by revealing that the Islamic revolution of Iran was a remarkable event in global history; in other words, the revolution preceded some significant global events such as the rise of Al-Qaa’eda—an Islamic fundamentalist group, the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the emergence of the internet and mass media before the new millennium. “Iran was the first country in recent times that embraced Islam as a political ideology and putting in motion a series of shock waves never seen before,” said Dr. Vatandoust.
One of the emerging trends in Iran during that time was the concept of white marriage that led to the widespread of questions and debates on whether it is legal and whether people should opt for it. According to Dr. Vatandoust, white marriage happens when, “...men and women will entirely choose to live together in partnership without fear of social and religious stigma or prosecution.” In this case, the marriage is not registered in governmental public offices which holds no legal ties for both spouses.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods of research were conducted to come up with findings that revealed Iranians’ perspectives pertaining to white marriage. In terms of the qualitative research, a group of Iranian women who came from different backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses were interviewed. Their thoughts varied between supporting white marriage and opposing it due to their conventional and religious perspectives that prevented them from having a relationship outside of marriage.
On the other hand, the quantitative research involved 172 young Iranians living in both Iran and Canada who offered their opinions on white marriage. The conclusion illustrated that Iranians’ views about white marriage differed between agreement, conditional agreement, and disagreement.
The talk wrapped up with a Q&A session with the attendees, and concluded with Dr. Vatandoust announcing that he would be working on a follow-up study for further information and updates on white marriage in Iran.
The Faculty Speaker Series is a platform that enables faculty members to showcase their research and scholarly accomplishments. The event also allows AUK to make a difference in the community both in Kuwait and beyond by spreading knowledge and awareness about various topics while offering an opportunity to the general public to take part in the AUK experience.