Amir Normandi on the Now Ruz parade

Dear all:

For those of you who were not able to make it to Mr. Normandi’s talk about the Chicago Now Ruz Parade, you can listen to his presentation by downloading the MP3 or using the embedded media player. I edited out the video clips he played, but you can see them by following the YouTube links below:

Interview with Frank Lewis
Interview with Mateo Farzaneh
Interview with Abbas Alizadeh
Setting up for the parade

Feb. 5: Ali Papoli-Yazdi

The Persian Circle presents
انجمن سخن در دانشگاه شیکاگو تقدیم می کند

Ali Papoli-Yazdi
علی پاپلی‌یزدی

Modernity and the Demise of Manliness: Transformation of the “Luti” Archetype in Iranian Popular Movies 1958-1978
مدرنیته و افول مردانگی: تغییرات الگوی لات و جاهل در سینمای فارسی ۱۳۳۷ تا ۱۳۵۷

Wed. Feb. 5, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

Ali Papoli-Yazdi has a B.A. in Iranian music and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Tehran. He is generally interested in the ways traditional thought and society in Iran respond to issues of modernity. His M.A. thesis is on the views of Sayyed Hossein Nasr’s critique of modern social thought. His Ph.D. dissertation, which he defended in September 2013, is about “manly” (mardâne or jâheli) cinema before the Islamic revolution.

علی پاپلی‌یزدی لیسانس موسیقی ایرانی از دانشگاه تهران و فوق لیسانس و دکتری جامعه شناسی از دانشگاه تهران دارد. علاقه‌ی کلی او چگونگی واکنش اندیشه و جامعه سنتی ایران در برابر جهان مدرن هست. موضوع پایاننامه‌ی فوق لیسانس او درباره‌ی منظر سید حسین نصر در نقد اندیشه‌ی اجتماعی مدرن بود. پایاننامه‌ی دکتری او در مورد سینمای مردانه‌ی (جاهلی) قبل از انقلاب بود که در سپتامبر 2013 از آن دفاع کرد.

به امید دیدار،

Jan. 25: Teerdad Amir Normandi

The Persian Circle presents
انجمن سخن در دانشگاه شیکاگو تقدیم می کند

Teerdad Amir Normandi
تیرداد امیر نورمندی

The Chicago Nowruz Parade and the Role of Social Media in Cultural Education
رژه‌ی نوروز شیکاگو و نقش رسانه‌های اجتماعی در آموزش فرهنگی

Wed. Jan. 25, 5:30–7:00pm
Pick 016, 5828 S University Ave

Refreshments will be provided!

(Teerdad) Amir Normandi is the founder and coordinator of the Chicago Nowruz Parade (CNP). Through his campaign, the city council has established the last Saturday of March as the day of the Chicago Now Ruz Parade. In addition, he has put concerted efforts towards obtaining an official declaration in Illinois that would establish the first day of Farvardin as a day to recognize the traditional heritage of Iranians since 1990. This led to the establishment of the first offical declaration of Nowruz in the US in 1996, signed by Republican Governor Jim Edgar.

(تیرداد) امیر نورمندی هماهنگ کننده و بنیانگزار رژه نوروزی شیکاگو است که در این شهر مهم جهانی برگزار می شود. با کوشش او شورای شهر آخرین شنبه در ماه مارچ را روز رژه نوروزی شیکاگو نام گذارده.

کوشش های امیر نورمندی از سال های 1990 متمرکز در گرفتن بیانیه رسمی اعلام روز یکم فروردین به عنوان روز میراث سنتی ایرانیان در ایالت ایلینوی بوده که در سال 1996 نخستین بیانیه رسمی نوروزی به امضای یک فرماندار جمهوریخواه (جیم ادگار) در آمریکا به نتیجه رسید.

Some films to look out for

Thank you for coming to Barbara Scharres’ talk! We did not record the Circle, but below I am attaching trailers to some of the movies that were mentioned. In addition, I recommend that you visit the Festival of Films From Iran for more great films to see.

Some trailers:

Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Mohammad Rasoulof (2013)

Closed Curtain, Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi

This Is Not A Film, Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (2011)

Dog Sweat, Hossein Keshavarz (2010)

Circumstance, Maryam Keshavarz (2011)

Fish & Cat, Shahram Mokri (2013)

Fat Shaker, Mohammad Shirvani (2013)

A Cinema of Discontent, Jamsheed Akrami (2013)

Jan. 22: Barbara Scharres

The Persian Circle presents
انجمن سخن در دانشگاه شیکاگو تقدیم می کند

Barbara Scharres
Director of Programming, Gene Siskel Film Center

Trends and Challenges in Iranian Cinema

Wednesday, 5:30pm
Pick 222 / 5828 South University Avenue

Barbara Scharres is the Director of Programming at the Gene Siskel Film Center, a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In this capacity she is the artistic director for one of the largest cultural exhibition programs of world cinema in North America. She has published articles and criticism in film magazines and journals including American Cinematographer, Film Comment, Chicago Reader, Variety, and the Chicago Sun-Times, and has contributed to books including Hong Kong Babylon, edited by Fred Dannen. In addition to receiving numerous awards and honors, she has been instrumental in coordinating the Festival of Films from Iran, a ground-breaking event now in its 24th year. The festival this year will run February 7–28, and you can see the full lineup of films at the following link:

Note that we will be starting at 5:30 and not 5:00, but there will be tea and possibly cookies to keep up your caffeine and blood sugar levels. The talk will be in English. Hope to see you there!

به امید دیدار

Jan. 15: Bruce Lincoln

The Persian Circle presents
انجمن سخن در دانشگاه شیکاگو تقدیم می کند

Prof. Bruce Lincoln
Dept. History of Religions, University of Chicago

From Ritual Practice to Esoteric Knowledge: The Problem of the Magi

Wednesday, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222
5828 South University Avenue

Bruce Lincoln emphasizes critical approaches to the study of religion. He is particularly interested in issues of discourse, practice, power, conflict, and the violent reconstruction of social borders. His research tends to focus on the religions of pre-Christian Europe and pre-Islamic Iran, but he has a notoriously short attention span and has also written on a bewildering variety of topics, including Guatemalan curanderismo, Lakota sun dances, Melanesian funerary rituals, Swazi kingship, the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre, Marco Polo, professional wrestling, Persian imperialism, the theology of George W. Bush, and comparative demonology. His most recent publications include Between History and Myth: Stories of Harald ‘Fairhair’ and the Founding of the State (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2013), “Happiness for Mankind”: Achaemenian Religion and the Imperial Project (Louvain: Peeters, 2012), Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2012), Religion, Empire, and Torture. The Case of Achaemenian Persia (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2007). The latter was awarded the Frank Moore Cross Award for the most substantial volume related to ancient Near Eastern and eastern Mediterranean epigraphy, text and/or tradition as the result of original research published during the past two years by the American Society of Oriental Research.

به امید دیدار

Jan. 10: Claudia Yaghoobi

The Persian Circle presents
انجمن سخن در دانشگاه شیکاگو تقدیم می کند

Prof. Claudia Yaghoobi / استاد کلودیا یعقوبی
Georgia College & State University

What It Means To Be a Woman In Modern Iran
زن بودن در ایران معاصر

Friday, 4:00–5:30pm
Pick 218
5828 South University Avenue

Claudia Yaghoobi was born in Tehran in 1974. She graduated from Islamic Azad University with a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature. She taught as an ESL instructor in most language schools in Tehran for 15 years and as an Assistant Professor of English Literature in Islamic Azad University for 9 years. Claudia arrived in Los Angeles in 2006, where she obtained a Master’s degree in English at California State University of Los Angeles. She received her doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013. Her dissertation, “Submission versus Transgression: Farīd al-Dīn ʿAttār Nishāpūrī’s Embrace of Diversity in Tadhkirat al-Awliya, Ilāhī-nāma, Musībat-nāma and Mantiq al-Tayr,” was nominated for the Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award. In the fall of 2013, she joined Georgia College & State University as an Assistant Professor of English. Her research interests include English and Persian Medieval Mystical/Sufi Literature, Modern Middle Eastern women’s literature, the Iranian woman question, Orientalism and Post-colonialism, gender and sexuality studies. She has presented papers at a number of different conferences, some of which have been nominated for the Horst Frenz Prize and the Jafar and Shokoh Farzaneh Paper Prize. She is a native speaker of Armenian and Persian. For more information, you can visit her website at

Please note the unusual time & date! We’ll be convening right after the Arabic Circle in 218. Look forward to seeing you!

به امید دیدار

Upcoming Persian Circles

Dear all,

Happy new year and welcome back for another quarter of the Persian Circle! Please take note of our upcoming events:

  • Fri. Jan. 10, 4:00–5:30 (Pick 218): Claudia Yaghoobi — “What It Means To Be a Woman In Modern Iran / زن بودن در ایران معاصر”
    • Note the unusual time, date, and location!
  • Wed. Jan. 15, 5:00–6:30 (Pick 222): Bruce Lincoln — “From Ritual Practice to Esoteric Knowledge: The Problem of the Magi” (in English)
  • Wed. Jan. 22, 5:30–6:30 (Pick 222): Barbara Scharres — “Trends and Challenges in Iranian Cinema” (in English)
    • Note that we will start a half-hour later than usual.

Individual announcements for each speaker will follow in due course. Looking forward to seeing you all!