Sharing the Joys of Discovery with Students: Meet Humanities Core Director Nasrin Rahimieh

Professor Nasrin Rahimieh directs UCI Humanities Core, the foundational honors course for Campuswide Honors students.  As Director, she hopes to convey her passion for learning and curiosity-driven inquiry to students. “Regardless of the field of study students choose to pursue, I would like to pass along the joys and rewards of discovery.”

Rahimieh is the Howard Baskerville Professor of Humanities in the Department of Comparative Literature at University of California, Irvine. Professor Rahimieh explains the significance of her title as Howard Baskerville Professor of Humanities: “Howard Baskerville was a young missionary who was in Iran during the country’s Constitutional Revolution (1905-11), and he joined the Iranian revolutionaries’ quest for justice and freedom. Unfortunately he was killed during the revolution, but his dedication to Iran’s struggle to establish democratic institutions has never been forgotten. The chair I hold has been named after Howard Baskerville to recall and honor a moment in history when there was trust and camaraderie between Iran and the US.”

Rahimieh was an international student during the Iranian revolution of 1979 studying chemistry at a Canadian university. “The political turmoil that swept Iran raised many questions for me. I was surprised that I knew so little about the history of Iranian and American relations and became fascinated with the history of Iran’s encounters with Europe and the US.” With the help of truly dedicated mentors she embarked on researching this history and later switched her field of study to Comparative Literature. “I pursued Comparative Literature because of the possibilities it gave me to examine flows, exchanges, and conflicts across cultural and national divides.” Today, she continues to work in this area, but more recently she has been researching fiction written by emerging female writers in Iran. 

Although she is not currently teaching an honors section, Rahimieh has always loved teaching honors students because of their commitment and the spirit of collaboration and teamwork.  “I also enjoy learning about their different fields of interest and the range of research they conduct.  I cherish their perspectives on the subjects we study in the Humanities.” 

Outside of academic pursuits, Rahimieh enjoys the company of her cats at home. She is also devoted to F45, a functional training program offered at the Anteater Recreation Center, and starts her days off with a session. In her free time, she is dedicated to peace activism and offering her support to various groups and organizations to promote peace.

Contributed by Angie Sarabia