April 2: Negin Almassi

Dear all, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to another quarter of Persian Circle, starting with what promises to be one of the most fun and unique sessions we’ve ever hosted!

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

Negin Almassi / نگین الماسی

Fur, Feathers, and Scales: A Hands-On Introduction to Chicagoland Wildlife
پشم و پر و پولک: معرفی تجربه‌ای به جانوران شیکاگوزمین

Wed. April 2, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

The Forest Preserves of Cook County are a unique treasure of Chicagoland, preserving crucial habitat for native plants and animals. Take an up-close look at animal artifacts as you learn about Cook County’s wildlife and how it compares to wildlife in Iran. Next time you are in the Forest Preserves, whether for a walk or for Sizdeh Bedar, you will know what kind of animals to look for and where to see them.

Negin Almassi is a naturalist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, working at Trailside Museum of Natural History in River Forest. As a naturalist she connects people with nature through educational and interpretive programs in schools, communities, and the preserves. Negin was born in Chicago and raised in Milwaukee, where she learned to read and write Persian at Eftekhar Persian School. Negin earned her B.S. in biology from Purdue University and her M.P.A. from University of Washington in Seattle, focusing on cultural resource preservation.

Spring Schedule

We are pleased to announce this Spring’s schedule. Mark your calendars! Full details can be found on our calendar of upcoming events.

  • 4/2/2014 Negin Almassi: Fur, Feathers, and Scales: A Hands-On Introduction to Chicagoland Wildlife
  • 4/9/2014 <special event, see calendar for details>
  • 4/16/2014 Mehdi Harandi: The Roba’i: The ancient (and forever new) song of Persian poetry
  • 4/23/2014 Narimon Safavi: On U.S.-Iranian relations
  • 4/30/2014 M. A. Mahallati: Ethics of War and Peace in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh
  • 5/7/2014 Mehran Jalili: The Guitar and I
  • 5/14/2014 Anita Alkhas: Show and Tell: زندگی و هنر هانیبال و آدری الخاص
  • 5/21/2014 Maryam Alemzade: The Revolutionary Guards: An Unconventional Military in a Conventional War
  • 5/28/2014 Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi: Writing Liminality: A Reading from “Holy City, Dream & The Traveler”

March 12: Nasrin Qader

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

Nasrin Qader / نسرین قادر
Prof. of French, Northwestern University

Between Kabul and Algeria: The Story of a Literary Gift?
بین کابل و الجزائر: داستان یک هدیه ای ادبی؟

Wed. March 12, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

Nasrin Qader is Associate professor of French at Northwestern University, holding a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of African Languages and Literatures. Trained as a comparatist, Qader consistently brings together Francophone African literature, Arabic literature of the Maghreb, Islamic thought and mysticism, and contemporary literary and visual theory. In 2009-2010, she was awarded a New Directions Fellowship by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which allowed her to study the religious and literary traditions of India. In particular, she is interested in the Persian and Hindi literatures of India as well as philosophies of Hinduism. For more information, see her faculty page.

March 5: Zhang Zhan

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

Zhang Zhan
PhD Candidate in Iranian Studies, Harvard University

Jews in Khotan: a historical perspective

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

In 2004, a Judaeo-Persian manuscript went into the possession of the National Library of China. This manuscript, almost intact, bears striking resemblance with the Judaeo-Persian letter discovered by Aurel Stein in 1901 during his first expedition in Khotan, Xinjiang, China.

In my talk, by comparing the orthography, linguistic features, and content of these two documents, I will demonstrate that one and the same Jewish merchant penned them. In view of Chinese and Khotanese documents excavated from Khotan, I will date these two letters the end of the eighth century.

This curious document is significant in many ways. It sheds light on the otherwise shrouded history of Central Asia during the eighth century and testified to the activities of Jewish merchant along the Silk Road. It is also the earliest document of considerable length in New Persian. For this fascinating document, I have more questions than answers, and would like to invite you to join me in tackling the puzzles it poses.

Zhang Zhan received his BS in chemistry from Peking University in 2001 and, as fate wills it, switched to the study of ancient languages thereafter. In 2006, he graduated from Peking University with an MA in Sanskrit and continued his journey in academia in Iranian Studies at Harvard University under Professor Skjaervo. In 2008-2009, he spent a school year in Iran, studying Persian. Based at the Enghelāb Square in Tehran, he traveled extensively in the Greater Iran, including Istanbul, Samarkand and Bukhara. He is now working on his dissertation on the secular documents in Khotanese and the history of Khotan during the 7-9th centuries. He expects to receive his PhD degree in 2015.

Discussion will be in English. Hope to see you there!

به امید دیدار
کامران

Next Circle: Screening of film “A Chapter of Being”

The Persian Circle presents a screening of the film:

انجمن سخن در دانشگاه شیکاگو نشان می‌دهد:

A Chapter of Being / فصلی از هستی

Introduction and commentary by Saeed Ghahremani and Farrokh Asadi

Wed. Feb. 26, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

A Chapter of Being is a film about the most prominent period in Parvin E‘tesami’s life, the period during which she composed her poetry. This documentary is the collaborative work of Pouran Saremi (writer and director) and Sepehr Tavakkoli (production designer and producer), two experienced and well-known artists based in Tehran. In February 2013, this film became the Winner of the best script from International Documentary Film Festival for its portrait of Parvin E’tesami, and Winner of the special Jury Prize for the best director from the Iranian Women Film Festival. The film will be introduced by Prof. Gharemani with a short discussion of Parvin and her works, and closing comments will be offered by Dr. Farrokh Asadi. Hope to see you there!

Length: 26 minutes
Langage: Persian with English subtitles

فیلم «فصلی از هستی» در باره برجسته ترین فصل زندگی خانم پروین اعتصامی است که در واقع زمان سرودن شعرهای اوست. این مستند 26 دقیقه‌یی (فارسی با زیر نویس انگلیسی) کار مشترک پوران صارمی (نویسنده و کارگردان) و سپهر توکلی (مجری طرح و تهیه کننده) است که هر دونفر از جمله هنرمندان و هنردوستان خوشنام و پر تجربه ساکن تهران هستند. این فیلم در فوریه 2013 برنده جایزه ویژه هیئت داوران از جشنواره پروین اعتصامی شد و دیپلم افتخار را برای ارائه بهترین پرتره پروین اعتصامی دریافت کرد.

به امید دیدار،
کامران

Feb. 19: Leili Adibfar

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

Leili Adibfar / لیلی ادیب‌فر

Introducing the PARSAGON Project:

A project on promoting Persian literature and culture in the English-speaking world, and on completing a database of contemporary Iranian/Persian literary and cultural figures

معرفی پروژه پارساگون: پروژه ای برای شناساندن ادبیات و فرهنگ فارسی به مخاطب انگلیسی زبان، و تکمیل پایگاه داده ای از شخصیت های ادبی و فرهنگی معاصر ایرانی/فارسی

Wed. Feb. 19, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

Born in Tehran, Leili Adibfar has a B.A. in English literature from the University of Shahid Beheshti in Tehran and an M.A. in English literature from Loyola University in Chicago. Her areas of interest and activity include: literary theory and criticism, literary translation, and creative writing. She is currently working on the Parsagon Project and translating a collection of articles on postcolonial studies assembled by John McLeod.

لیلی ادیب فر، متولد تهران، دارنده لیسانس ادبیات انگلیسی از دانشگاه شهید بهشتی در تهران و فوق لیسانس ادبیات انگلیسی از دانشگاه لویولا در شیکاگو است. زمینه های فعالیت و علاقه مندی اش: نظریه و نقد ادبی، ترجمه ادبی و نویسندگی خلاق است. در حال حاضر مشغول به کار روی پروژه پارساگون و ترجمه مجموعه مقالاتی درباره مطالعات پسااستعماری به گردآوری جان مک لوید (John McLeod) می باشد.

به امید دیدار،
کامران

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،
کامران

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.

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!

به امید دیدار
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.

به امید دیدار
کامران