Apr 29

Professor Richard Foltz (Concordia University) presents “What is the meaning of ‘Tajik’?”

13 May 2019, 16:30, IAIS Building/LT1 – An Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies seminar

Open to everyone

Richard Foltz (Ph.D., Harvard, 1996) is a cultural historian specializing in the broader Iranian world and his work highlights the wide-ranging influence of Iranian civilization on diverse societies stretching from the Balkans to China.  He is author of over one hundred articles and numerous books which include ‘Religions of the Silk Road: Premodern Patterns of Globalization’ (1999 and 2010), ‘Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to the Present’ (2013) and Iran in World History (2016).


How should the term ‘Tajik’ be understood and defined, especially in terms of its relationship to designations such as ‘Iranian’ or ‘Persian’? The ethnonym dates back as far as the pre-Islamic period, but its meaning and significance have undergone numerous transformations over space and time and remain contested today. Are today’s Tajiks merely ‘Iranians of the East’, or are they a separate ethnicity with their own distinct language, history and identity?