Get access

Transnational Baha’i Print Culture: Community Formation and Religious Authority, 1890–1921


  • I would like to thank Devika Bordia, Aomar Boum, Todd Lawson and Moojan Momen for carefully commenting on a previous version of this article. Special thanks to Necati Alkan, Abbas Amanat, and Moojan Momen for providing me with valuable additional primary documents and citations.

Farzin Vejdani is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Arizona, U.S.A.


Persian and Arabic Baha'i publishing emerged during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when printing was becoming increasingly widespread in Muslim societies. This article examines how Baha'is employed printing in community consolidation, scriptural canonization, and apologetic encounters. It first considers the role of Baha'i leadership in promoting and defining the parameters of print activities. It then discusses the transnational commercial, travel and pilgrimage routes facilitating the preparation and distribution of printed materials throughout India, Egypt, Palestine, Russian Turkistan and Iran. Specific attention will be paid to individual Baha'is as cultural middlemen across geographical boundaries.