May 14: Anita Alkhas

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

Anita Alkhas / انیتا الخاص

Show and Tell: زندگی و هنر هانیبال و آدری الخاص

Wed. May 14, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

Anita Alkhas is Associate Professor of French in the Department of French, Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has published articles on French culture and literature with an emphasis on the creative process and on modernism. Her family has held a prominent place in the arts for generations; her grandfather, Rabi Addai Alkhas (1897-1959), translated the Gilgamesh epic into Assyrian Aramaic and founded an important Assyrian literary journal, while her uncle John was a well-known poet. Her father Hannibal (1930–2010) was a sculptor, painter, and author who received his BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught at various instutions both in the US and in Iran. He was also the founder of the Gilgamesh gallery, the first modern art gallery in Iran where aspiring young artists were introduced. Anita will be speaking about her experiences growing up with her family of artists as an Iranian-American living in 1970s Iran.

See the following links to learn more about Hannibal’s work:

به امید دیدار،

May 7: Mehran Jalili

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

Mehran Jalili / مهران جلیلی

The Guitar and I
گیتار و من

Wed. May 7, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

We are very lucky to have Mehran Jalili come and speak (and play) for us this week! Mehran is an avant-garde Flamenco guitarist based in Chicago. His first album, entitled Angels of Persepolis, has gained him an international reputation and was chosen by UK’s Rainlores World of Music as the best world music album of 2010. His latest CD Subterranea (2012) is a concept album along the vein of progressive/alternative/psychedelic rock influenced by the Flamenco guitar; many describe Mehran’s new 4-piece band as Pink Floyd under the spell of flamenco. To whet your appetites, check out the following links:

April 30: Shahriar Piroozram

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

Shahriar Piroozram / ﺷﻬﺮﻳﺎﺭ ﭘﻴﺮﻭﺯﺭﺍﻡ

Lecturer at the Art University of Isfahan and Visiting Scholar at Columbia College, Chicago

An Introduction to the Persian Book and Paper Arts
ﻣﻌﺮﻓ​ﯽ ﻫﻨﺮﻫﺎﯼ ﮐﺘﺎﺏ ﺁﺭﺍﻳﯽ ﺩﺭ ﺍﻳﺮﺍﻥ

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

Mr. Piroozram is an artist specializing in Timurid/Ilkhanid book design and Safavid miniatures, currently a visiting scholar at Columbia College, Chicago. He received his B.F.A from the Art University of Tehran, his M.F.A. from the Art University of Isfahan (AUI), and expects to receive his Ph.D. in Art Research from the same university in the summer of this year. He has taught courses at the AUI in traditional bookbinding, manuscript conservation, design, calligraphy, illumination, miniature, wood carving, and art symbolism. His research interests include the art and architecture of the Chehelsotun Palace in Isfahan, traditional methods of paper dyeing, and book cover design. His work has been exhibited at Columbia College, the AUI, and the National Museum of Algeria among other venues.

به امید دیدار!

April 23: Narimon Safavi

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

Narimon Safavi / نریمان صفوی

On the Possible Rapprochement Between Iran and the U.S.
در امکان آشتی میان ایران و آمریکا

Wed. April 23, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

Narimon Safavi is a Chicago based Iranian-American entrepreneur who is also a contributor and analyst for the radio program Worldview on WBEZ (Chicago Public Media). Born in Tehran to an Azari-Iranian family, he studied Chemistry and Philosophy at the Illinois State University and is now serving on the Human Rights Watch – Chicago Committee and as an ambassador of the DC based National Iranian-American Council (NIAC, the largest grass roots advocacy organization of Iranian-Americans). (See more at PasFarda)

April 16: Mehdi Haradi

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

Prof. Mehdi Harandi / مهدی هرندی

The Robâ‘i: The ancient (forever new) song of Persian poetry
رباعی: کهن سرود همیشه نوی شعر پارسی

Wed. April 16, 5:00–6:30pm
Pick 222, 5828 S University Ave

Emeritus professor of computer science, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Dr. Harandi has been an educator/researcher for nearly 40 years and a (Persian) poet for more than 50 years. He has published two volumes of his poetry and is now preparing another volume for publication. Since retirement, he has found extra time to devout to study of and research in all things related to the Persian language, from the Avesta to the present day.

چکیده‌ی گفتار:

دو‌بیتی‌، و نوع خاص آن، رباعی، مردمی‌ترین، همگانی‌ترین و یکی از کهن‌ترین انواع شعر پارسی است. ناب‌ترین جلوه‌های فرهنگ و اندیشه‌ی ایرانی‌ در دوبیتی‌های فارسی‌ متبلورند. کوتاهی دوبیتی (رباعی) به آن اجازه داده است که در قالبی کهن، با به کار گرفتن اندیشه‌ها، تصویر‌ها، و واژگان نو، همواره نو بماند. بسیاری از شعر‌پژوهان بر این باورند که دوبیتی (رباعی) ریشه در شعر پارسی قبل از اسلام دارد. آنچه بی‌ تردید میتوان گفت‌ این است که از اولین شاعران پارسی گوی پس از اسلام، مانند حنظله بادغیسی (وفات ۲۲۰ هجری) تا جوان‌ترین شاعران نسل پس از انقلاب ۱۳۵۷، دوبیتی (رباعی) فرم انتخابی شاعران برای بیان احساس‌های شخصی، مسایل روز مردم کوچه و بازار، نظریه‌های فلسفی، دینی، اجتماعی، و ثبت لحظه‌های تاریخی بوده است.

در این گفتار، به اختصار، شکل گیری، تحول و تداوم دوبیتی (رباعی) را در طول بیش از یک هزار سال شعر پارسی پس از اسلام مورد بررسی قرار داده، و با ارایه نمونه‌هایی از آن در زمان‌های مختلف، نقش رباعی را در نگاهداری و گسترش فرهنگ و اندیشه‌ی ایرانی بازگو خواهیم کرد.

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

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،