About the author

My name is Vincent Joseph Vaessen and I work in refugee and youth welfare in the city of Bochum, Germany.

My research focuses on Orientalist representations of Iran in online travelogues and popular literature, early photography of the region (roughly from the late 1850s to the 1920s), oral literary traditions and professional storytelling as cultural memory practices, and the intertwining of music, ritual, and religion. I am also an avid podcast listener, a digital humanities enthusiast (albeit with some critical notes), and a strong proponent of free knowledge, free software, and open access publishing.

This blog is my attempt to find conceptual approaches to Iranian studies that are defensible to myself and to bring a wide variety of topics into this framework in a meaningful way. Through this blog, I will attempt to consciously reflect on my learning process and refine my views as I study and write, with the help, not least, of the questions, comments, and criticisms I hope to receive from my readers and users of the Toolbox.


Vincent Vaessen: Rezension von: Mir-Kasimov, Orkhan: “Words of Power. Ḥurūfī teachings between Shiʿism and Sufism in medieval Islam. The original doctrine of Faḍl Allāh Astarābādī”. London/New York: I.B. Tauris 2015 (The Institute of Ismaili Studies, Shiʿi Heritage Series 3), in: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 109 (2019). Available online: https://www.vezveze-kandu.de/rezension-words-of-power-hurufi-teachings/.


“Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli und Spuren des anatolischen Alevitentums in Iran und Irak”, Vortrag auf einer Bildungsveranstaltung des Bundes der alevitischen Jugend NRW (13.-15. Mai 2016, Wuppertal).

“Yāresān as a performatively lived culture of remembrance: Evaluating a memory-theoretical approach to the Yāresān of the Gūrān region of Iran”, Vortrag im Workshop “Diversity of minority language communities: The case of Iran”, eine Kooperation der Universitäten Teheran, Sanandaj & Köln (06.-08. Oktober 2021, online via Zoom).