Agha-Jaffar, Tamara 1952-

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AGHA-JAFFAR, Tamara 1952-


Born October 7, 1952, in Iraq; naturalized U.S. citizen. Education: Beirut College for Women, B.A., 1972; American University of Beirut, M.A., 1976; Washington State University, Ph.D., 1981.


Office—Department of English, Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave., Kansas City, KS 66112. E-mail—[email protected].


University of North Carolina, Greensboro, adjunct instructor in English, 1980-83; Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, adjunct instructor in English, 1984-87; Kansas City, Kansas Community College, faculty member, 1987—, currently professor of English, coordinator of women's studies, 1995-2003, coordinator of department of English, 1999-2001. Affiliate of Friends of Yates/Joyce Williams Center, and Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault.


Grant from U.S. Department of Education, 1999; named Kansas professor of the year, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2004.


Demeter and Persephone: Lessons from a Myth, Mc-Farland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 2002.

Women and Goddesses in Myth and Sacred Text: An Anthology, Longman/Pearson Education, Inc. (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Feminist Teacher, Community College Times, and Journal: American Association for Women in Community Colleges.


Tamara Agha-Jaffar told CA: "I believe that many of the ancient myths and stories about goddesses and women, stories that have been told and retold many times over throughout the centuries, have much to say to a modern audience. My motivation to write stems from a desire to share these stories with others and to demonstrate their continued importance and relevance to today's society.

"My first book, Demeter and Persephone: Lessons from a Myth, is a feminist interpretation of a classical Greek myth about a mother and her daughter. The myth speaks to us on many different levels. I interpret the myth in terms of a variety of themes, including but not limited to the following: mother/daughter relationships; male/female relationships; masculinities and femininities; grieving; coping with trauma/rape; death, transformation, and rebirth; female networking; overcoming adversity; reconciliation; and the importance of balance. Throughout the book, I suggest ways to unravel the mysteries to bring about healing and knowledge.

"In my second book, Women and Goddesses in Myth and Sacred Text: An Anthology, I have selected eighteen figures, beginning with Isis of Ancient Egypt and concluding with Corn Mother from within the American Indian tradition. My guiding principle in selecting these figures has been to include females who play prominent roles in ancient and living sacred texts and myths from a variety of world cultures and traditions.

"Some of the figures covered in the anthology can be seen as a source of empowerment for women because of their strength, life-affirming qualities, and fierce resistance to an oppressive ideology that attempts to subvert their authority. Others demonstrate their inability to resist the onslaught. Each of these figures have something significant to say to a modern audience that is continuing to grapple with many of the same issues as our ancient ancestors."