Centering the "Pupil of the Eye"
From all sides - artwork by Michele Jubilee
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Smith, D. “Centering the ‘Pupil of the Eye’: Blackness, Modernity, and the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 29, no. 1-2, Mar. 2019, pp. 7-28, doi:10.31581/jbs-29.1-2.2(2019).


In the late nineteenth century, Bahá’u’lláh likened people of African descent to the “pupil of the eye” through which the “light of the spirit shineth forth.” This essay argues that the “pupil of the eye” metaphor is a deeply consequential, distinguishing feature of the transformative social and spiritual system laid out in Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. Studying the nexus of capitalism, race, and intellectual history, the essay historicizes Bahá’u’lláh’s elevating metaphor, arguing that it amounts to a forceful refutation of anti-blackness and thus a dismantling of one of modernity’s pivotal ideologies. Ultimately, the essay demonstrates that the unique integrity and coherence of Bahá’u’lláh’s system for the creation of universal unity and justice is especially manifest through analytical contemplation of the “pupil of the eye” metaphor.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you wish to adapt, remix, transform, or build upon this work in any way, you may not distribute your work without first contacting the Editor for permission.

Copyright © 2019 Derik Smith