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Derik Smith: “Centering the Pupil of the Eye”
June 7 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
In the late nineteenth century, Bahá’u’lláh likened people of African descent to the “pupil of the eye” through which the “light of the spirit shineth forth.” In this talk I’ll suggest that the “pupil of the eye” metaphor is a deeply consequential, distinguishing feature of the transformative social and spiritual system laid out in Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. Discussing the nexus of capitalism, race, and intellectual history, I’ll summarize the arguments of an essay written for the Journal of Bahá’í Studies, in which I historicize Bahá’u’lláh’s elevating metaphor, and argue that it amounts to a forceful refutation of anti-blackness and thus a dismantling of one of modernity’s pivotal ideologies. I’ll finally talk about the way in which the unique integrity and coherence of Bahá’u’lláh’s system for the creation of universal unity and justice is especially manifest through analytical contemplation of the “pupil of the eye” metaphor.
About the Bahá’í Calendar and Holy Days
The Baha’i Faith has its own calendar, called the Badí’ Calendar. It is a solar calendar consisting of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days), plus “Intercalary Days” (four in ordinary years and five in leap years) to adjust the calendar to the solar year. The days and months are named after the attributes of God. The Nineteen Day Feast, the primary community gathering for Baha’is in each town and city, is held on the first day of each Baha’i month. Eleven Holy Days mark significant events in Baha’i history.