Nov. 17: “The Child and the West in Iran: A Look at The Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (KANOON),” with Niloofar Sarlati

Please join Persian Circle on November 17th at 5:30pm (note the later time!) for a talk by Niloofar Sarlati of the University of Minnesota:

کودک و غرب در ایران: نگاهی به کانون پرورش فکری

The Child and the West in Iran: A Look at The Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (KANOON)

توجه به کودک و اوقات فراغت او اساسا پدیده ای است مدرن. مخصوصا اگر بپذیریم که قصه گویی و یا داستان های جن و پری، به مشاهده ی والتر بنیامین و رونالد جی  تولکین، هرگز به لحاظ تاریخی صرفا معطوف کودکان نبوده است. در ایران هم  نخستین توجه جدی به کودک در عرصه ی نشر به دوره ی مدرن و پیدایش نخستین نشریه‌های کودکان به دوران مشروطه بازمی‌گردد. از آنجا که مدرنیت را نمی توان در ایران جدا از غرب فهمید در این مقاله من به رابطه ی میان توجه به کودک در ایران و ارتباط این توجه با غرب می پردازم اما تنها از خلال نگاه به کانون پرورش فکری، نهادی که از سه دهه پیش از انقلاب با کسب جوایز بین الممللی بسیار بلند ترین صدا را در عرصه ی پرورش کودک در ایران داشته است.

Children literature and attention to children’s free time in publication is known to be a modern phenomena in the West. This is especially true if we recognize Walter Benjamin and J.R.R. Tolkien’s observation that fairytales, fairy stories, and storytelling were historically never really produced for children exclusively. Same can be said about Iran in regard to the attention to children in the publication industry. It is not until the Constitutional Movement that along with the shift of attention to political modernity, the first children magazine also published in Iran. This talk attends to this relationship between children and the West in Iran through looking at The Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, an institute which is internationally most recognized as dedicated to the “development of children” in Iran and which was established three decades before the Revolution of 1979.

November 17th, 5:30 pm
Farouk Mustafa Memorial Lecture Room (Pick 218)
5828 South University Avenue 
Chicago, IL 60637

Oct 27: “Chicago Persian School: Case Study of a Journey,” with Dr. Negar Mansourian-Hadavi

[If you missed this talk, you can listen to it in the above player or download it here]

Please join us on for a Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, October 27 by Dr. Negar Mansourian-Hadavi, director of the Chicago Persian School:

مدرسه فارسی شیکاگو: مطالعه‌ی یک ماجرا
Chicago Persian School: Case Study of a Journey

نگار منصوریان-هادوی
Dr. Negar Mansourian-Hadavi

Tuesday, October 27th, 4:30 pm
Farouk Mustafa Memorial Lecture Room (Pick 218)
5828 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637


Oct. 20: “Teaching Persian as a Second Language,” Hossein Samei

[For those of you who couldn’t join us for Dr. Samei’s talk, a recording can be found here. If you have trouble with the embedded media player, try downloading the file by right-clicking and selecting “save as.”]
Please join us for a special Persian Circle on pedagogy and teaching Persian as a second language, with lexicographer and Persian lecturer Hossein Samei of Emory! Beh omid-e didaar!
Hossein Samei
حسین سامعی
Teaching Persian as a Second Language
آموزش فارسی به عنوان زبان دوم
Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 4:30 pm
Farouk Mustafa Memorial Seminar Room (Pick 218)
1116 E 59th St, Chicago, IL 60637



Oct. 13: “Contradiction in Hafiz’s Poetry,” Mehdi Harandi

[For those of you who couldn’t make Mehdi Harandi’s talk, a recording can be found at the bottom of this post]

Join us October 13th at 4:30 pm in the Farouk Mustafa lecture room (Pick 218) for a talk in Persian by Mehdi Harandi:

تناقض در شعر حافظ
شعر حافظ، آنجا که جهان‌بینی و دیدگاه فکری او‌ را نشان می‌‌دهد، گاه، ضدّ و نقیض است.  بسیاری از حافظ پژوهان یا، با نادیده گرفتن این تضادها، او‌ را وابسته به یک مکتب فکری خاص دانسته‌اند، و یا سعی‌ کرده‌اند تا توجیهی برای این تضادها بیابند.  در این گفتار، پس از یک بررسی کوتاه از این نظریه‌ها، سعی‌ خواهیم کرد تا نشان دهیم که تضاد در شعر حافظ نتیجه‌ی نابسامانی یا دگرگونی فکری او‌ نیست، بلکه حاصل شعور و نبوغ هنری اوست که از شعرش آینه‌ای می‌‌سازد برای تصویرهای متفاوت، نه‌ یک قاب برای تصویری خاص

Contradiction in Hafiz’s Poetry

Hafez’s poetry, when he expresses his world views and his philosophy of life, at times includes contradictions.  Many literary studies of Hafez’s poetry have either ignored such contradictions (thus, associating him with a specific school of thought), or tried to explain them away.  In this talk, after a brief review of some of these studies, we will try to show that what seems to be contradiction in Hafez’s poetry is indeed due to his artistic genius, by which he has created a mirror to reflect many views on an ideological issue, rather than framing a particular school of thought on that issue.

[If the embedded payer doesn’t work for you, you can download the file by right-clicking the following link and selecting “save as”: Mehdi Harandi. Tanaqoz dar sher-e Hafez]

Recordings ‘from the archives’

We are pleased to share recordings of the following nine Persian Circle presentations, which took place during the winter and spring of 2013. These have never been posted before (and indeed were feared lost in a hard drive crash). Without further ado:

  • 16 Jan. 2013Prof. Maryam Mosharraf of Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran – Nowruz (and the Persian language) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (download)
  • 23 Jan. 2013Prof. Saeed (Yousef) Ghahremani of the University of Chicago – The differences between poetry (she‘r) and verse (nazm): the views of Iranian poets and critics (download)
  • 27 Feb. 2013Prof. Dominic Parviz Brookshaw of Oxford University (he was at Stanford at the time) – Women Poets of the Fath-‘Ali Shah Period (in English) (download)
  • 3 Apr. 2013 – Prof. Saeed (Yousef) Ghahremani of the University of Chicago – The Challenges of Doing the Impossible: Translating Western Poetry into Persian (Brecht’s example) (download)
  • 17 Apr. 2013Elham Mireshghi of UC Irvine – An Anthropological View of Kidney Sales in Iran (download)
  • 24 Apr. 2013Students in Prof. Franklin Lewis’ Masnavi seminar discuss their term paper research (mixed English/Persian) (download)
  • 1 May 2013Maryam Sabbaghi of the University of Chicago – Beaming Faces and Friendly Clowns: My Internship at the Mahak Hospital (download)
  • 15 May 2013Nazafarin Lotfi, Chicago-based artist – A Look at What Has Passed: From Tehran’s College of Fine Arts to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (download)
  • 29 May 2013Mohammad Sagha of the University of Chicago – Mahya: A film in the search of death, spirituality, and resurrection (download)

Parvin E’tesami

Let me thank once again our guest speakers Prof. Saeed Ghahremani and Dr. Farrokh Asadi for their wonderful discussion and of Parvin E’tesami and screening of the new film about her life, “A Chapter of Being” (فصلی از هستی). Their comments are recorded in two separate files, which, as usual, can be downloaded as MP3s or accessed through the embedded player. با سپاس

Leili Adibfar and the Parsagon Project

Once again, I would like to thank Leili Adibfar, co-founder and Associate Editor of the Parsagon Review, for introducing us to the online journal of the Par[s]agon Project. For those who couldn’t make it, you can listen to the session by downloading the MP3 or using the player below.

Next week will be a film on the poetry of Parvin E’tesami; stay tuned for details!

Avisheh Mohsenin speaks on Pasfarda

Avisheh Mohsenin gave a wonderful presentation about Pasfarda and its latest activities. For full details, please see the attached PDF she has created for us. You can also download her talk by clicking on this link or by using the player below.

If you want to join the Pasfarda email list to be updated on future events, you can fill out the form in at the following URL: or email them at

Cameron Cross discusses “Vis o Rāmin”

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, Cameron Cross presented some of his literary research on Vis o Rāmin, a Persian narrative poem written in the mid-11th century CE by Gorgāni. The discussion centered on the poem’s portrayal of characters’ falling in love. Cameron’s remarks, and the Q&A that followed, were recorded. You can listen to it here.