Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran
The Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran website discusses women and their lives during the Qajar era (1786-1925) in Iran. It does so by sharing collections of primary sources from the period, as well as hosting a discussion board to allow users to share questions, translations and transcriptions of primary sources hosted on the website, and in-progress research related to the subject of the website. It was created through funding from the NEH as well as the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, by Afsaneh Najmabadi as principal investigator and Farshideh Mirbaghdadabadi as project manager. Many other people were involved with the project, and their credits can be found here.
One of the key features of the website are the digital collections related to women’s lives during the Qajar period. The sources and collections themselves were sourced from both private family collections as well as archival holdings from partner institutions. The sources themselves for a wide variety of primary documents from the period, including photographs, legal and financial documents, book manuscripts, letters, postcards, audio interviews, etc., which can be searched by genre of source type, people, places, subject, time period. The collections and sources have descriptions, but because the site is more geared towards individual exploration rather than focusing on inter-collection discussions, sources outside of collections, or sometimes within a collection, are not described in context with one another. This does not preclude teachers, students, and scholars alike from using the website in their own way, which the site does an excellent job at present itself for.
Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran is an excellent repository for sources related to the study of women, the Middle East, and life in general during the Qajar period. Some sections of the site are not currently available, such as the People section, and there is not a broad overarching description of the area of focus that may be helpful to students beginning research in the subject, but the sources and collections that are available still form an expansive database to begin specific research into the lives of individual families during this period. Overall, this website is an great example of an easy to access and interface digital repository.