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The impact of government repression on access to and quality of educational opportunities of minority groups, and the strategies used by marginalized and discriminated groups in response to educational inequity under authoritarian regimes.
PhD Dissertation for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University. Posted online by author at

Educational Strategy Selection of Religious Minorities in Modern Iran:
The Case of the Jewish, Christian, and Bahá'í Communities

by Sina Mossayeb

Background: As a member of the Bahá'í community, I grew up hearing about the persecution of our Iranian community members, but what interested me more as I grew older was not the suppression practices of the government (which seemed to be common in totalitarian regimes, and much worse for some groups in different settings), but on the resilience and ways groups overcame it through creative means. This was one of the motivations for this study. While both are not studied critically enough, information on the latter seemed much more sparse, scattered, and overlooked. Although both areas of study are worthwhile and valuable studies, the latter also felt more hopeful—reflecting on what could be done by those groups versus what injustice had been done to them.

Why go online? I knew that if I would publish an edited version of my dissertation into a book, it might be read by an interested few; and even if a few would want access to it, it might prove difficult with the costs associated with academic publications or lack of academic affiliation to institutions with repositories of dissertations. More than anything, I wanted to make the research and even the sources of this study available for anyone who wanted access to it—no matter where they were in the world or their association to any particular organization or institution. I wanted people, more capable scholars, to dig deeper, build on it, improve it, and debunk stuff that I might have gotten wrong. This is an understudied area, and I was hoping that whatever I put out into the world would either contribute those who have already done work on the topic or trigger further inquiry. I benefited much from digital access to many sources that weren't available even at Columbia University or other institutions which I had privileged access to—many of which are widely recognized as hosting the richest repository of academic resources on the topic. So in light of my desire for wide and free access, intellectual collaboration, and honoring the digital platforms for information sharing of which I myself benefited so much from, I am publishing (an expanded version of) my own work here with free access. For the sake of readability and good form, and at the wise behest of my advisor, I had cut something like 250 pages out of the dissertation (mostly exposition on background information, awesome footnotes of dialogue, and more historical depth). And while it would have made the readability of the dissertation even more unwieldy, I feel that the information that I cut out is interesting enough and useful for further research, and thus intend to include it in this expanded online version. (from

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