Hidden Words and Sounds: Tracing Iranian Legacies and Traumas in the Music of the Bahá’ís of North America

  • Author / Creator
    Stadnicki, Daniel A
  • This dissertation examines music in North American Bahá’í communities and artistic contexts by focusing on the Faith’s legacy of Persian culture, aesthetics, and history of religious persecution. As such, it provides a reinvigorated look into the development of Bahá’í devotional life from its emergence in mid-nineteenth century Persia to early twentieth-century expansions in the West, as well as more recent developments following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Through incorporating a mix of ethnographic, historical, and analytical approaches to key Holy Texts, Bahá’í scholarly literature, and select musical case studies (including pop, rock, hip-hop, and classical compositions, as well as the development of a music program at the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education), I explore how Bahá’ís navigate the Faith’s world-unifying message and administrative processes amid greater diversification of membership, patterns of devotional localization, and ongoing struggles in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It traces a history of religious oppression and considers how narratives of persecution and martyrdom throughout the Faith’s succession prophetic revelation (the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh) and leadership (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice) has shaped global Bahá’í identity formation, as well as inspired forms of aesthetic worship. At the same time, it will contribute new perspectives on research in the Iranian diaspora, transnational music-making, and musical cosmopolitanism through a ‘Bahá’í inspired’ theological approach, which emphasizes Bahá’í literatures, utterances, worldviews, and scholarly conventions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.