Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina | Curriculum Vitae

Lecturer
Department of Religious Studies
Building 70, Main Quad, Room 72A2
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2165
Telephone: +1-650-723-2168
Fax: +1-650-725-1476
email: vevaina@stanford.edu
http://stanford.academica.edu/YuhanVevaina

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Areas of Scholarly Interest and Teaching Experience

The history and religions of Ancient Iran; History of the Achaemenid Empire and the rise of Alexander the Great; Sasanian history, religion, and culture and the rise of Islam; Zoroastrian textual traditions and practices, focusing on late antique hermeneutics; Modern Zoroastrian thought and the reception of Pre-Islamic Iran; Boundary maintenance and the Insider/Outsider problem in the study of religion

Academic Positions and Affiliations

Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies (Affiliated with Classics), Stanford University, 2011-2016
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, National Council for the Humanities, 2010
Lecturer on Old Iranian, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, Fall 2008 & 2009
Research Associate, Department of History, University of California at Irvine, Spring 2009
Lecturer on Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Core Fellow, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Harvard College Core Curriculum, Harvard University, 2007-2008

Education

Ph.D., Harvard University, Iranian and Persian Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, June 2007
Dissertation: Studies in Zoroastrian Exegesis and Hermeneutics with a Critical Edition of the Sūdgar Nask of Dēnkard Book 9 [High Distinction]
A.M., Harvard University, Iranian and Persian Studies, NELC, June 2003
B.A., Tufts University, International Relations (East Asian Area Studies), November 1998

Awards and Fellowships

Visiting Fellowship, The Martin Buber Society of Fellows, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, June 2013
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, National Council for the Humanities, 2010
Visiting Research Fellowship, University of Bergen, Norway, August-September 2008
Core Fellowship, Harvard Core Curriculum, Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard University, 2007-2008
Graduate Society Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Harvard University, 2006-2007
Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship for Persian, U.S. Department of Education, 2005-2006
Excellence in Teaching, Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009
Aga Khan Fellowship, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, 2001-2002

Publications

Books

Zoroastrian Hermeneutics in Late Antiquity: The Sūdgar Nask of Dēnkard Book 9. Text, Translation, and Commentary (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016).

Co-editor with Michael Stausberg, The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).

Articles, Published and In Press

“Resurrecting the Resurrection: Eschatology and Exegesis in Late Antique Zoroastrianism,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 19 (2005 [2009]): 215-223.

“Relentless Allusion: Intertextuality and the Reading of Zoroastrian Interpretive Literature,” in The Talmud in Its Iranian Context, eds. Carol Bakhos and M. Rahim Shayegan, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 135 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010), 208-234.

 “‘Enumerating the Dēn’: Textual Taxonomies, Cosmological Deixis, and Numerological Speculations in Zoroastrianism,” History of Religions 50:2 (Nov. 2010): 111-143.

“Hubris and Himmelfahrt: The Narrative Logic of Kay Us’ Ascent to Heaven in Pahlavi Literature,” in Ancient and Middle Iranian Studies. Proceedings of the 6th Conference of Iranian Studies, held in Vienna, 18-22 September 2007, eds. Maria Macuch, Dieter Weber and Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, Iranica 19 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010), 231-243.

“Miscegenation, ‘Mixture,’ and ‘Mixed Iron’: The Hermeneutics, Historiography, and Cultural Poesis of the ‘Four Ages’ in Zoroastrianism,” in Revelation, Literature, and Community in Late Antiquity, eds. Philippa Townsend and Moulie Vidas, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 146 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 237-269.

“Scripture Versus Contemporary (Interpretive) Needs: Towards a Mapping of the Hermeneutic Contours of Zoroastrianism,” in Shoshannat Yaakov: Jewish and Iranian Studies in Honor of Yaakov Elman, eds. Shai Secunda and Steven Fine, The Brill Reference Library of Judaism 35 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 465-485.

“‘The Ground Well Trodden But the Shah Not Found…’: Orality and Textuality in the ‘Book of Kings’ and the Zoroastrian Mythoepic Tradition,” in Orality and Textuality in the Iranian World, ed. Julia Rubanovich (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 169-190.

“Theologies and Hermeneutics,” in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism, eds. Michael Stausberg and Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 211-234.

with Michael Stausberg, “Introduction: Scholarship on Zoroastrianism,” in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism, eds. Michael Stausberg and Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 1-18.

“No One Stands Nowhere: Knowledge, Power, and Positionality across the Insider-Outsider Divide in the Study of Zoroastrianism,” in Looking Back: Zoroastrian identity formation through recourse to the past, eds. Almut Hintze, Sarah Stewart, and Alan Williams (London: I.B. Tauris), in press.

Articles In Preparation

“Words and Worlds and Those in Between…: Questions of Philology, Historiography, and Disciplinarity in the Study of Zoroastrianism.”

“‘Surely the Prophet Intended…’: Authority and Legitimation in the Study of Zoroastrianism.”

“Pahlavi and Periodization: The Use and Value of the Term ‘Late Antiquity’ for Zoroastrian Middle Persian Literature.”

Encyclopedia Entries

“Sūdgar nask and Warštmānsr nask,” in Encyclopædia Iranica, ed. Ehsan Yarshater.  http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/sudgar-nask-and-warstmansr-nask

“Avesta,” and “Zurvan” in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, eds. R. Bagnall et al (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 996-997 and 7187-7188.

“Ahriman,” “Amahraspandan,” “Anahid,” “Climes, Persian,” “Demons in Middle Iranian Religions,” “Education and Schools, Zoroastrian,” “Herbed,” “Mihr,” “Mowbed,” “Ohrmazd,” “Sosyans,” and “Zurvan and Zurvanism,” in The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, eds. O. Nicholson and M. Humphries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), in press.

Review Articles

Rev. of Jenny Rose: The Image of Zoroaster: The Persian Mage Through European Eyes (New York, 2000), in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, vol. 13/1 (2003): 118-122.

Rev. of John R. Hinnells: The Zoroastrian Diaspora: Religion and Migration (Oxford, 2005), in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, vol. 17/3 (2007): 344-349.

Contributed to Prods Oktor Skjærvø’s Rev. of Bruce Lincoln: Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Post-Script on Abu Ghraib (Chicago, 2007) in The American Historical Review 113 (June 2008): 946-947.

Rev. of John R. Hinnells and Alan Williams (eds.): Parsis in India and the Diaspora (London, 2007), in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, vol. 20/1 (2010), 100-106.

Rev. of Satnam K. Mendoza Forrest: Witches, Whores, and Sorcerers: The Concept of Evil in Early Iran (University of Texas Press, 2011) in Journal of the American Oriental Society 134.2 (2014), 64-66.

Teaching Experience

Seminars (Lecturer, Stanford University)

RelSt. 229/329 & Classics 159/259: Winged Bulls and Sun Disks: Religion and Politics in the Persian Empire, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Winter 2015

RelSt. 209/309 & Classics 106/206: Priests, Prophets, and Kings: Religion and Society in Late Antique Iran, Fall 2011, Spring 2014, Fall 2015

RelSt. 209A/309A: Sugar in the Milk: Modern Zoroastrianism as Race, Religion, and Ethnicity, Winter 2012

RelSt. 208A/308A: Ex Oriente Lux: Orientalism and the Study of Religion, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

RelSt. 209E/309E & Classics 189/289: Imperishable Heroes and Unblemished Goddesses: Myth, Ritual, and Epic in Ancient Iran, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

RelSt. 209D/309D: ‘Crow Eaters’ and ‘Fire Worshippers’: Exploring Contemporary Zoroastrianism through Reading Parsi Literature, Winter 2013

RelSt. 116: Who Speaks for Religion? Scholars Versus Believers, Spring 2014

RelSt. 391: Teaching Religious Studies, Winter 2016

Introductory Courses (Lecturer, Stanford University)

RelSt. 20: Beyond Good and Evil: A Thematic Introduction to the Zoroastrian Religion, Winter 2011

RelSt. 109 & Classics 109: Emperor, Explorer, and God: Alexander the Great in the Global Imagination, Fall 2011, Winter 2014, Spring 2015

RelSt. 20A: The Sun Also Shines on the Wicked: The Problem of Evil in Religious Thought, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

RelSt. 93: Exploring Zoroastrianism, Winter 2014

Independent Studies – (Instructor, Stanford University)

RelSt. 388: Research in Modern Religious Thought, Ethics, and Philosophy, Spring 2011

RelSt. 389: Individual Work for Graduate Students, Spring 2011, Summer 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015

RelSt. 199: Individual Work for Undergraduate Students, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015

Language and Literature Courses (Instructor, Harvard University)

Iranian A: Old Persian Language and Literature, 2003-2004 & 2004-2005

Iranian Ca: Introduction to Middle Persian Language and Literature, 2002-2003

Iranian Cb: Intermediate Middle Persian Language and Literature, 2003-2004

Iranian 206r: Advanced Middle Persian Language and Literature, 2004-2005 & 2005-2006

Iranian 100: Intermediate Middle Persian Language and Literature, Fall 2008

Iranian 130: Advanced Middle Persian: Pahlavi, Fall 2009

Seminars and Introductory Courses (Lecturer, Harvard University)

IrCiv.104: Beyond Good and Evil: A Thematic Introduction to Zoroastrianism, Fall 2008

IrCiv.105: ‘Crow Eaters’ and ‘Fire Worshippers’: Encountering Contemporary Zoroastrians, Spring 2008

Core Courses (Teaching Fellow, Harvard University)

Moral Reasoning 54: ‘If There is No God, All is Permitted’: Theism and Moral Reasoning, Spring 2008, Head Teaching Fellow, Fall 2009

Literature and Arts 21: The Images of Alexander the Great, Department of the Classics and History of Art and Architecture, Fall 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007

Talks

Invited Lectures

“Blood and Boundaries / Brothers and Sisters: Next-of-Kin Marriage in Late Antique Zoroastrianism,” The Bahari Lecture Series, “Sasanian Iran in the Context of Late Antiquity,” University of Oxford, June 10, 2014.

No One Stands Nowhere: The Insider-Outsider Problem in the Study of Zoroastrianism, at Looking Back: Zoroastrian Identity Formation through Recourse to the Past, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Oct. 10-11, 2013.

“A Spark of the Glimmer of that Blaze from the Light of the Original Light,” at “The Talmud and its World: Reading the Bavli Alongside its Late Antique Neighbors,” The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, June 27, 2013.

“Blood and Boundaries — Brothers and Sisters: Next-of-Kin Marriage in Late Antique Zoroastrianism,” The Hebrew University Group for the Study of Late Antiquity,” The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, June 23, 2013.

“The Xwadaynamag and the Shahnameh: Putative Text and Narrative Context,” at “International Conference on the Shahnameh (Book of Kings),” Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, University of California, Irvine, Oct. 6, 2012.

“Weaponizing Zoroastrianism,” Multi-campus Workshop/Conference on “Religion and Nationalism,” University of California, Irvine, May 17, 2012.

“Were We Not Once Great? Ancient Iran in the Modern Parsi Imaginary,” at “Ancient through Modern. India and Iran in the Longue Durée,” University of California, Irvine, April 20, 2012.

“The ‘Book of Kings’ and the Zoroastrian Mythoepic Tradition in Early Islamic Iran,” The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas, Austin, April 6, 2010.

“Questions of Transmission and Agency in the Pahlavi Commentaries on the Old Avesta,” at “Poets, priests, scribes and (e-)librarians. The transmission of holy wisdom in Zoroastrianism,” Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, Sep. 3, 2009.

“Archaeology, Diaspora, and Identity: New Frontiers in Zoroastrian and Parsi History,” Zoroastrian Studies Lecture Series, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Feb. 27, 2009.

“Translating Pahlavi Texts as Literature,” at “Exploring Iran: Emerging Scholarship in Iranian Studies,” Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, University of California, Irvine, Feb. 14, 2009.

“Old Philology and New Text Editions: Preparing the Critical Edition of Dēnkard Book 9,” at “The Middle Persian Dictionary Workshop,” Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem, Dec. 22, 2008.

“The Primacy of the Living Spoken Word: Orality and Its Implications for the Zoroastrian Interpretive Tradition,” at “Orality and Textuality in the Iranian World,” The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Dec. 16, 2008.

“‘Smashing the Bodies of the Demons’ and ‘Resurrecting the Dead’: Universal Eschatology in Zoroastrianism,” at “Zoroastrians Past and Present,” The Ancient India and Iran Trust, The University of Cambridge, UK, June 7, 2008.

“The Hermeneutics of the Ahuna Vairiia in Pahlavi Literature,” Council of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, April 17, 2008.

“Undying Ruler and Destroyer of Idol Temples: Kay Khusraw and His Role in Zoroastrian Eschatology,” Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, University of California, Irvine, Jan. 24, 2008.

“Intertextuality, Omnisignificance, and Zoroastrian Interpretation,” at “The Talmud in Its Iranian Context,” UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Los Angeles, May 6, 2007.

“The Challenge of Zoroastrianism: Studying a Living Faith as an Ancient Tradition,” Zoroastrian Studies Seminar Series at the University of Toronto, Oct. 17, 2006.

“Eschatology and Exegesis in Zoroastrianism: Dēnkard Book 9 and the Airiiaman Prayer,” Zoroastrian Studies Seminar Series at the University of Toronto, Oct. 16, 2006.

Conference Presentations

“The Zoroastrian Community’s Response to Islam: Text, Debates and Interaction,” 8th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies, Santa Monica, May 30, 2010.

“Contested Theologies: The Internet and the Study of Zoroastrianism,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Montréal, Canada, Nov. 8, 2009.

“The Ahuna Vairiia Prayer and the 21 Nasks of the Zoroastrian Sacred Corpus,” American Oriental Society 218th Annual Meeting, Chicago, March 15, 2008.

“Omnisignificant Exegesis in Zoroastrianism,” 39th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Panel: “Explorations in Zoroastrian and Rabbinic Scriptural Exegesis,” Toronto, Dec. 16, 2007.

“Mythoepic Narratives in a Pahlavi Commentary on the Old Avesta: Dēnkard Book 9 on the Vahištōišti Gāθā,” 6th European Conference of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Sep. 21, 2007.

“Associative Exegesis in Zoroastrianism: Dēnkard Book 9 and the Kamnamaēzā Hāiti (Yasna 46.1-19),” American Oriental Society 217th Annual Meeting, San Antonio, March 17, 2007.

Faculty Colloquia and Responses

Respondent at “Sanctified Indulgence: Exploring the Excessiveness of Religion,” Graduate Student Conference, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, May 26, 2012.

Respondent at “Religion, Cosmology and Empire in Sasanian Iran,” Symposium, Center for the Study of Ancient Religions, The University of Chicago, Feb. 24, 2012.

Respondent at “Sensual Faiths: Religion and the Senses,” Graduate Student Conference, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, May 14, 2011.

“Miscegenation, ‘Mixture,’ and ‘Mixed Iron’: The Hermeneutics, Historiography, and Cultural Poesis of the ‘Four Ages’ in Zoroastrianism,” Faculty Colloquium, Religious Studies, Stanford University, May 5, 2011.

“The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion,” Student-Faculty Workshop, Institute for Archaeology, History, Culture, and Religion, University of Bergen, Norway, Sep. 4, 2008.

 Public Talks and Community Service

“Wisdom from the Ancients in the Age of the Moderns,” The 17th North American Zoroastrian Congress, Los Angeles, Dec. 31, 2014.

“Can You Recommend a Good Book? Studying Zoroastrianism in the 21st Century,” 10th World Zoroastrian Congress, Mumbai, India, Dec. 29, 2013.

“Alexander the Great / the Accursed in the Iranian World,” Persian Students Association, Stanford University, March 6, 2013.

“Knowledge from the Teachers of Old: Zoroastrian Theology and Religious Practices in Late Antiquity,” Zoroastrian Association of Houston, Houston, Oct. 27, 2012.

“Thinking with Zoroastrianism in the 21st Century,” Khorshed Jungalwala Memorial Lecture, 16th North American Zarathushti Congress, Rye, New York, Aug. 4, 2012.
http://nazc.zagny.org/yuhan-vevaina-khorshed-jungalwala-memorial-lecture-at-the-xvi-nazc-2012/
Published as: “Thinking with Zoroastrianism in the 21st Century,” FEZANA Journal 26/3 (Oct. 2012), 41-49.

“Zoroastrian Religious Practices Then and Now: Or, Why Should I Wear My Kusti?” Zoroastrian Association of Northern California, San Jose, Dec. 18, 2011.

“The Question of Dualism: The Atāvaxšiiā Hāiti of the Ahunauuaitī Gāθā (Yasna 30.1-11) and Bundahišn Chapter 1,” Zoroastrian Association of Northern California, San Jose, Oct. 16, 2011.

“Zoroastrian 201,” Zoroastrian Association of Northern California, San Jose, May 15, 2011.

“‘O Ahura, We Desire Your Fire to be Strong through Asha’: Language, Literature and Learning from the Gathas,” K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai, India, Sep. 3, 2010.

“Charity and Benevolence in Zoroastrianism from the Gathas to Today,” California Zoroastrian Center, Westminster, CA, June 28, 2009.

“How Zoroastrians Understood the Gathas a Thousand Years Ago,” K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai, India, July 24, 2008.

“Researching and Teaching Zoroastrianism in the West,” Athornan Mandal, Mumbai, India, July 22, 2008.

“‘Granting a Better Share to the Right-Living Poor’: The Importance of Charity in Zoroastrianism,” Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe, London, UK, June 6, 2008.

Academic Service

Faculty Coordinator, Inner Asia Group: Abbasi Center in Islamic Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, the Center for South Asia, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University, 2013-2014: http://innerasia.stanford.edu
Organizer, Zoroastrian Studies Lecture Series, Religious Studies, Stanford University, 2013-2016
Co-Organizer, Ancient Religions Reading Group, Religious Studies and Classics, Stanford University, 2013-2014
External Reader, Doctoral Dissertation in Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2010-2012
Instructor, Language Reading Group, Old Persian Language, Literature, and Epigraphy, 2011-2012
Instructor, Language Reading Group, Middle Persian (Pahlavi) Language and Literature, 2012-2013
Copy Editor, four books for colleagues in Iranian History, Zoroastrian Studies, and Jewish Studies

Media Projects

Consultant, “Tower of Silence,” Documentary on the Parsis of India (in pre-production), Schadenfreude Films, Athens, Greece – Trailer: www.vimeo.com/15451548

Organizational Affiliations

American Academy of Religion
American Oriental Society
Association for the Study of Persianate Societies
The International Society for Iranian Studies
Societas Iranologica Europaea

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Languages Studied

Old and Young Avestan, Old Persian, Middle Persian (Book Pahlavi, Inscriptional, Manichaean), Classical and Modern Persian, Bactrian, Sogdian, Vedic and Classical Sanskrit, Tocharian A and B, Classical and Modern Chinese, French (reading), German (reading), Gujarati (comprehension), and Hindi (conversational).