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Ba Salam,

This week, the Persian Circle at the University of Chicago are fortunate to host Dr. Fatemeh Shams, Professor of modern Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She will be giving a talk entitled:

Dialogues with the Dead: Reading Poetry in Iranian Graveyards

Dr. Fatemeh Shams

Thursday 19th April
Farouk Mustafa Seminar Room (Pick Hall #218)
5828 S. University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Talk abstract:

Death and poetry have always been powerfully intertwined across history, religion and culture. Poetry triumphs at the time when words fail us the most, with a universality of understanding that provides togetherness at the time we often feel the most alone. Just as the bereaved seek out the solace of poetry, so poets are drawn to the rich gravity of death and the afterlife. It is a vital dialogue between the living and the dead. Iran holds a long tradition of epitaph poetry; however, unlike in other cultures where elegies are reserved for literate social elites, there is no class exemption to this act of memorial. To a large extent, it is through these poems that one can make sense of the multifaceted and at times complex notion of the afterlife in the minds of Iranians. 

In this lecture, I will try to answer the following questions: how are loss and remembrance physicalized in these poems? Whose voice does the epitaph represent? What is the syntax of death? The conversations with the dead are conducted through words written on gravestones. What language is used? In whose voice? What are the recurring motifs and key messages on these epitaphs and what can they tell us about the hegemonic ideas of death and the afterlife in a particular time or place? Finding answers to these significant yet understudied questions reveals how particularly in contemporary Iran poetry is as central in death as it is in life. 

Dr. Fatemeh Shams is a specialist in Modern Persian literature. Her fields of expertise include social history of modern Persian literature, literary institutions and their role in the literary production under authoritarian states, ideology, censorship and official literature in Modern Iran.  She is, in particular, an expert on modern Persian literature, social history of post-revolutionary official literature and the politics of literary production in Iran. She is the author of a number of works including Literary Institutions in Post-revolutionary Period: A Detailed History of Howzeh-ye Honari (2013), State-Sponsored Poetry in Iran (2014), Poetry and Power in Iran (2014), Ideology of Warfare and Islamic Republican War Poetry (2015). Her forthcoming book A Revolution in Rhyme: Official Poets of the Islamic Republic (Oxford University Press, 2019) is a study of the post-revolutionary literary scene with specific reference to the official poets of the Islamic Republic and the role played by the state in the field of literary production as well as the way in which it uses literature in identity construction. She earned her Ph.D in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford, Wadham College. Before joining Penn, she has taught Persian language and literature in various academic institutions including University of Oxford, University of SOAS and Courtauld Institute of Art in United Kingdom. Beside her academic expertise, Fatemeh is also an award-winning poet with three published collections. 

 For her talk today, she will share with us her most recent research project on poetry as a medium between the living and the dead; a case study of tombstone poems in contemporary Iran. She is currently an assistant professor of Modern Persian Literature at UPENN and a fellow at wolf Humanities Forum with whose support she has successfully completed this project.

Be Omid-e Didar,


با سلام

:این هفته انجمن سخن فارسی در دانشگاه شیکاگو تقدیم می کند سخنرانی ای به زبان فارسی

 گفتگوها با مردگان: شعر خواندن در قبرستان‌های ایران 

سخنران ما در این جلسه دکتر فاطمه شمس از دانشگاه پنسیلوانیا است

پنجشنبه ۲۶ آوریل  ۲۰۱۸
ساعت۵:۰۰ تا ۶:۳۰

به امید دیدار


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