Manya Saadi-nejad
Painter, Scholar

Concordia University, Fall 2010

Myths of Ancient Mesopotamia and Iran

Ancient Mesopotamia was the meeting ground between two of the world’s great human
cultural families, the Semitic and the Indo-European. This encounter, which began over
4,000 years ago and continues to the present day, has been one of the most productive in
all of human history. This course examines the earliest cultural vestiges in the form of
Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Persian myths, including diverse creation stories
and heroic epics such as Gilgamesh and the Persian Book of Kings. A central theme will
be the interplay between Semitic and Indo-European religion and the synthesis which
emerged from repeated encounters between the two over the course of many centuries.

Sherbrooke University, Winter 2011
Iran: Society and Culture

This course explores the many aspects of life in contemporary Iran rarely covered by the
media, including its ground-breaking literature, Persian language, dynamic arts scene,
and internationally-acclaimed cinema. This course also will pay attention to Iran in the
past including talking about Zoroastrianism, one of the most ancient religions which still
survives today. Iran's feminist movement, arguably the most advanced in the Muslim
world, will also be discussed, along with other dimensions of social change in this
country which is at once ancient and modern, democratic and autocratic, demonized and
admired, a nation at the centre of world events that continues to chart its own course for
the future.

Concordia University, Winter 2012

Though no longer practiced today, Manichaeism holds great importance in the history of
religions due to its influence on the development of Christianity and Islam, as well as its
interactions with other religions including Judaism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Long known
only through the polemics of its adversaries, Manichaeism is now being radically re-
assessed by scholars based on recently discovered primary texts from Egypt and China.
This course will focus on readings of Manichaean sources and the newly-emerging
understanding of the religion that they make possible.