The Who & The What : A conversation with Boston University Associate Professor Shahla Haeri

5/6/2017 South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Join Boston University associate professor Shahla Haeri and Huntington literary apprentice Sarah Schnebly for a post-show discussion after the 2pm performance of The Who & the What on May 6.

Shahla Haeri is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Boston University. She has conducted research in Iran, Pakistan, and India, and has written extensively on religion, law, and gender dynamics in the Muslim world. She is the author of No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani Women (Syracuse University Press in the United States and Oxford University Press in Pakistan, 2004) and Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage, Mut’a, in Iran (1989, 1993). She was involved in the University of Chicago’s multi-year program on global fundamentalism, Fundamentalism Project, which was funded by a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur grant, and contributed an article to the second volume, “Obedience versus Autonomy: Women & Fundamentalism in Iran & Pakistan” (1993). Dr. Haeri was also the director of the women’s studies program from 2001-2010. She has been awarded several grants and postdoctoral fellowships, including one for women’s studies in religion at Harvard Divinity School (2005–2006), Fulbright (1999–2000, 2002–2003), St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University (1996), Social Science Research Council (1987–1988), and others. Dr. Haeri made a short video documentary entitled “Mrs. President: Women and Political Leadership in Iran,” focusing on six women presidential contenders in Iran in 2001. This documentary is distributed in the United States and Canada by the Films for the Humanities and Sciences (, 2002).


About The Who and the What

Brilliant novelist Zarina is writing about women and Islam when she meets Eli, a young convert who bridges the gap between her modern life and traditional heritage. When her conservative father discovers her controversial manuscript, they all must confront the beliefs that define them. A fierce and funny new play about relationships, religion, and the contradictions that make us who we are, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the blockbuster hit Disgraced.

Approximate run time: 1 hour and 40 minutes, including one 10-minute intermission.

“I am so excited to share the loving and thorny tale of Zarina’s family with Boston audiences. Disgraced at the Huntington was a very gratifying experience for me, and I am so honored this play will be part of next season.” — Ayad Akhtar

“After last season’s provocative hit Disgraced I am looking forward to having another story by Ayad Akhtar brought to life on our stage. The Who & the What provides a unique, vitally important look into the Muslim American experience through the lens of faith and family.”— Peter DuBois

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