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: http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/iran2014

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!

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کامران

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.

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کامران

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 http://claudiayaghoobi.com/.

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

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کامران

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!

Dec. 4: Alireza Doostdar

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

Prof. Alireza Doostdar
Univ. of Chicago
استاد علیرضا دوستدار
دانشگاه شیکاگو

Politics, Intimacy, and Social Networks in Iran
سیاست، صمیمیت، و شبکه های اجتماعی در ایران

Wed. Dec. 4, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222 / 5828 South University Avenue

Alireza Doostdar teaches courses on the anthropology of religion, contemporary Shi‘ism, and modern Iranian religious history. His first book project, tentatively titled “Taming Wonder: Science, Doubt, and the Supernatural in Iran” explores the ways in which both secular and Islamist modernists have harnessed wonder – as an emotional and cognitive state – in the service of popularizing and sustaining their visions of social and cultural change. His research has focused on discursive productions of superstition, scientific imaginations of the supernatural, and the productivity of ambivalence and doubt in middle class religious subjectivities. His other interests include Islamic “spiritual” cinema, hagiographies of contemporary Shi‘i mystics, online occultist networks, and philosophical debates over the Islamization of the sciences in Iran.

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کامران

Nov. 20: Avisheh Mohsenin

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

Avisheh Mohsenin
آویشه محسنین

Pasfarda: Peace and dialogue through the arts
پسفردا: صلح و گفتگو توسط هنر

Wed. Nov. 20, 5:30–6:30pm (note the change in time!)
Pick 222 / 5828 South University Avenue

Come early for tea and cookies!

​​Avisheh Mohsenin was born in France and moved to Iran as a child, where she grew up and attended university before moving to the U.S. in 1997. In the U.S. she obtained a Masters in Economics and started her art career by taking classes and experimenting with various mediums. Avisheh’s work has moved from photographic compositions to sculptural mixed media pieces involving found objects, hand-fatigued magazine cutouts, light-boxes, and image making using acrylic, pencil, and collages. She is the co-founder of LUMO Films, a company dedicated in the production of the arts and is the co-director of “Someplace Else” (2008), a documentary film on a Chicago blues artist. She is also the co-founder and current president of Pasfarda Arts & Cultural Exchange, a non-profit organization based in Chicago and dedicated to promoting peace through the arts.

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Nov. 6: Mehrnaz Saeedvafa

You are cordially invited to our upcoming Persian Circle:

Mehrnaz Saeedvafa
Associate Chair and Professor at Columbia College, Cinema Art + Science

will join us for a screening and discussion of her latest film,

Jerry and Me

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 5:00–6:30pm
222 Pick Hall / 5828 South University Avenue / Chicago, IL 60637

Mehrnaz Saeedvafa has been teaching as a full time faculty at the Film and Video Department of Columbia College since 1989. She has also been the Artistic Consultant of the Festival of Films from Iran, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago since 1989. Her areas of expertise are cinema studies (international cinema, Middle Eastern cinema, exilic cinema, women, gender, race in cinema), documentary film theory and production and alternative forms. She has lectured and written extensively on Iranian cinema. Her book, Abbas Kiarostami, co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum, was published by the University of Illinois Press in March 2003. Mehrnaz is an award-winning filmmaker. Her films A Tajik Woman, Saless Far From Home, and Ruins Within have been shown in many international film festivals. Her recent film A Different Moon was shown in several European film festivals in 2009 and has been picked up for distribution by the European Spiritual Film Festival in France. Her latest film, Jerry and Me (2013), is a personal documentary film about her relationship with Jerry Lewis’s cinema.

The film is in English and runs 38 minutes. Discussion will be in Persian.

Some links to explore:

This is a very special session and we hope to see many of you there!

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کامران

Oct. 30: Richard Payne

You are cordially invited to this week’s Persian Circle:

Richard Payne

Assistant Professor at the Oriental Institute

The Saints of Mount Bisutun: Christianizing an Icon of Iranian Imperialism

Wed. Oct. 30, 5:00pm
Pick 222
5828 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Richard Payne is a historian of the Iranian world in Late Antiquity, ca 200 – 800 CE. His research focuses primarily on the dynamics of Iranian imperialism, specifically how the Iranian (or Sasanian) Empire successfully integrated socially, culturally, and geographically disparate populations from Arabia to Afganistan into enduring poltical networks and institutions. His current book project, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and the Making of the Iranian Empire, explores the problem of religious diversity within the empire, showing how Syriac-writing Christians could create a place for themselves in a poltical culture not of their own making. He has published articles on the role of Zoroastrian cosmology on Iranian political thought and practice as well as on the history of Christian communities after the Islamic conquests, among other topics.

After studying at Red Rocks Community College and University of Colorado at Boulder (2004 BA, Classics, summa cum laude), he completed a doctorate in history at Princeton University in 2009. He subsequently taught ancient and medieval history at the Universität Konstanz, the University of Cambridge, Mount Holyoke College, and Amherst College before coming to the University of Chicago. For his work, Richard has been awarded the Bliss Prize from Dumbarton Oaks, the Crisp Fellowship from Phi Beta Kappa, a research fellowship from the DAAD, and a visiting research scholarship from the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. He has also been elected a research fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

The talk will be in English, and all are encouraged to join! Hope to see you there!

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کامران

Oct. 23: Kaveh Ehsani

You are cordially invited to this week’s Persian Circle:

Kaveh Ehsani

The Oil Industry and Abadan in the 1920s

Wed. Oct. 23, 5:00pm
Pick 222
5828 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Kaveh Ehsani is assistant professor of International Studies at DePaul University. Prior to joining DePaul University he was an associate director of the Jomhur Institute of Social Research. He is also on the editorial boards of the Goftogu Quarterly in Iran and Middle East Report (Merip) in the US, and a 2013-2014 research fellow at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. His fields of interest include urban geography, critical social theory, and the political economy of development projects and their social and environmental repercussions. He is currently completing a book entitled Oil and Society in Iran; Abadan and Urban Modernity in 20th Century (Brill Publishers).

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کامران

Oct. 16: Maryam Sepehri & Anita Alkhas

You are cordially invited to a very special session of the Persian Circle:

Maryam Sepehri & Anita Alkhas

will introduce and screen their film

Thicker than Paint (Habibeh)

Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 5:00pm
Pick 222
5828 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Maryam Sepehri was born in 1970 in Gorgan, in the north of Iran. Her family moved to Tehran when she was 17. She began her university career by studying medicine and then worked for a few years in a medical lab. After that, she returned to school to get a B.A. in film making (2010) and an M.A. in photography (2012). For many years she has made short films and taken photographs, as well as writing short stories and translating from English to Farsi.

Maryam Sepehri’s documentary film Rain Once Again (2012) won the award for best documentary film at the Sooreh International Short Film Festival, and was nominated in this category at the 28th Tehran International Short Film Festival. Her next documentary, Thicker than Paint (2013) won the Special Cream City Cinema Jury Prize at the 5th Milwaukee Film Festival. The film was produced by Prof. Anita Alkhas of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Her photographs have been exhibited in Iran, Italy and Germany, and her short stories and travelogues (some with accompanying photographs) have been published in Iran in book and magazine form. She is now at work on her next documentary film.

This is a very special event and I hope to see you there!

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کامران