May 16: Mehrnaz Saeed-vafa on Abbas Kiarostami

Please join us for a Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, May 16 at 4:30pm with filmmaker Prof. Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa (Columbia College, Chicago):

کوتاه‌ترین راه

The Shortest Way

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa is a filmmaker and a professor in the Cinema and Television Arts Department at Columbia College Chicago.  She has written extensively on Iranian cinema and has published her book on Abbas Kiarostami co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum in 2003. In this talk, she will review Kiarostami’s career and his significance in world cinema. She will focus on some of his films including, Close-Up, The Traveler, Taste of Cherry, and The Wind Will Carry Us.


*This talk will be in Persian*

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
4:30 – 6pm in Pick Hall 218
(5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)


May 9: Prof. Giusto Traina

انجمن سخن فارسی در دانشگاه شیکاگو

Please join us for a Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, May 9 at 4:30 PM with Dumanian Visiting Professor Giusto Traina (University of Paris-Sorbonne):

“Ardaxshīr I: The Armenian File”

When it comes to consider the Armenian sources, many Iranologists still follow the attitude of Arthur Christensen: although apparently neutral, the great Danish scholar made actually use of them the least possible. The Armenian evidence is suspect, not only because these texts are not contemporary, but also because they reflect a different perspective. In this paper, Prof. Traina will present the particular case of the rise of the Sasanians. The ‘Armenian file’ on this event consists of several passages of Agat‘angełos and Movsēs Xorenac’i, the main local sources for the history of ancient Armenia, and in a Greek text translated from Armenian but inspired by Pahlavi literature, the so-called Romance of Artawan and Artašir.

*This talk will be in English*

Tuesday, May 9
4:30 – 6pm in Pick Hall 218
(5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)

There will be tea&sweets!

See you there,

May 2nd: Saeed Yousef

Salaam! Please join us for an exciting Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, May 2nd at 4:30 pm with our own Saeed Yousef:

مخالف. زندانی. فراری. پناهنده.
گزارش یک شاعر

Dissident. Prisoner. Fugitive. Refugee.
A Poet’s Account.

سعید یوسف دربارۀ زندگی در ایران پیش از انقلاب و پس از آن سخن می‌گوید و نمونه‌هائی از شعرهائی را که در هر مرحله از این راه سروده است می‌خواند

Saeed Yousef talks about life in Iran before and after the revolution and reads some examples of his poems from different stages of this journey.

This talk will be in Persian.
There will be tea & sweets!

Tuesday, May 2nd
4:30 – 6 pm, Pick Hall 218
(5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)

Be omid-e didaar,

Tues, April 25: Dr. Ramin Takloo-Bigash

Salaam! Please join us for a Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, April 25 at 4:30pm with
Dr. Ramin Takloo-Bighash (UIC):

فرایندهای دموکراتیک در قانون اساسی ایران

“Democratic processes of the Iranian constitution”

 In this talk, intended as a cautionary tale, Dr. Takloo-Bighash will describe the democratic processes present in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He will show that in an abstract sense the current Iranian system of government might be considered a democracy, even though in practice it is not. The talk ends with a discussion of some possible explanations for this discrepancy. 


Tuesday, April 25
4:30 – 6pm in Pick Hall 218
 (5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)

There will be tea & sweets!

Be omid-e didaar,

April 18: Alex Shams

Salaam! Please join us for a Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, April 18 with Alex Shams (Uchicago, Anthropology). We will have an introductory session for students in English at 4:30 pm, the talk in Persian will begin at 5 pm.

دختران انقلاب: دسترسی زنان ایرانی‌ به تحصيلات در دهه شصت

Daughters of the Revolution: Iranian Women’s Access to Education in Khomeini’s Iran

Following the Iranian Revolution of 1978-9, women’s access to education increased dramatically amidst a broader transformation of gender norms unprecedented in modern Iranian history. In just the first decade after the Revolution, women’s literacy rates doubled as a result of revolutionary mass education campaigns. By the 2000s, higher education had gone from being a privilege afforded to a tiny minority of women to a social norm and a right for the majority. Whereas in 1979 less than a quarter of one percent of Iranian women attended university, by the 2000s the figures were around 60%.

Scholars of modern Iran have often overlooked the reasons for these dramatic changes in gender politics, ignoring the mobilization of the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, as well as revolutionary programs that specifically sought to improve women’s access to education as part of revolutionary ideology. This presentation is based on ethnographic research in Iran and analyzes the reasons for these dramatic changes by exploring the oral histories of Iranian women who were the first in their families to access higher education.

Tuesday, April 18
4:30 pm: Introductory session in English
5:00 pm: Persian Circle talk
Pick Hall, 218
(5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)

There will be tea & sweets!
See you there,

April 11: Abolhassan Mokhtabad

Please join us for a Persian Circle talk on Tuesday, April 11 at 4:30pm with Seyyed Abolhassan Mokhtabad on the recitation of the Shahnameh:

تبارشناسی شاهنامه خوانی در موسیقی ایران

سخنرانی به همراه نمایش نمونه‌های صوتی و تصویری و اجرای زنده موسیقی: سید ابوالحسن مختاباد

روزنامه‌نگار و پژوهشگر تاریخ موسیقی ایران 

در این سخنرانی که با عنوان شاهنامه و موسیقی ارایه خواهد شد ابتدا درباره رابطه موسیقی و شاهنامه صحبت ‌می‌شود و سپس از سه گونه یا نوع موسیقی که تحت تاثیر شاهنامه در سپهر موسیقایی ایران به عرصه رسید،سخن گفته می‌شود:

.شاهنامه‌خوانی در سنت موسیقی نواحی و نیز سنت قوالی و موسیقی زورخانه

ردپای شاهنامه در آثار موزیسین‌های موسیقی ردیف دستگاهی و موسیقی سنتی و شهری

برداشت‌های موسیقی ارکسترال و سمفونیک از شاهنامه در قالب‌ قطعات ارکسترال یا موسیقی کلاسیک غربی

در هر سه حوزه ضمن ارایه تاریخچه مختصری از هر بخش نمونه‌های صوتی یا تصویری پخش و درباره مختصات هر اثر توضیحاتی داده خواهد شد

اجرایی ویژه به همراه سه‌تار و‌ آواز به صورت زنده از مثنوی سوز و گداز اصفهان با تکیه بر گونه‌ای خاص از شاهنامه‌خوانی در سنت موسیقی ایران


Tuesday, April 11
4:30 – 6pm in Pick Hall 218
(5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)

Spring Quarter schedule

Dear friends and colleagues,

Please join us for an exciting Spring Quarter at the Persian Circle, a weekly event for all students, faculty, and those interested in Persian and Iran. We will meet on Tuesdays, 4:30 pm – 6 pm in Pick Hall 218 (5828 S University Ave) and enjoy talks on a variety of topics by faculty, students, and professionals. Here is a list of our future events for Spring quarter, so mark your calendars:

April 3, workshop with Dr. Ulrich Marzolph (Georg-August Universität Göttingen)*: Traveling Tales: The Muslim World’s Contribution to World Narrative Lore. 2:30-4pm, Foster 103

April 4, Dr. Ulrich Marzolph (Georg-August Universität Göttingen)*: Relief after Hardship. The Ottoman Turkish Model for the Thousand and One Days. 4:30pm, Swift Lecture Hall, 3rd floor

The two events with Dr. Marzolph are co-sponsored by the MEHAT workshop, COSAS, the Islamic Studies workshop and the Department of Comparative Literature


April 11, Abolhassan Mokhtabad:      تبارشناسی شاهنامه خوانی در موسیقی ایران

April 18, Alex Shams (Uchicago, Anthropology)*:

Daughters of the Revolution: Iranian Women’s Access to Education in Khomeini’s Iran

دختران انقلاب: دسترسی زنان ایرانی‌ به تحصيلات در دهه شصت

April 25, Dr. Ramin Takloo-Bigash (UIC): Democratic processes in the Iranian system of government since 1906.

May 2, Dr. Saeed Ghahremani (Uchicago, NELC)*:

مخالف. زندانی. فراری. پناهنده.

زندگی در ایران قبل و بعد از انقلاب.

Dissident. Prisoner. Fugitive. Refugee.

Life in Iran before and after the Revolution.


May 9, Dr. Giusto Traina (Paris-Sorbonne University)*: Ardaxshīr I: The Armenian File.

May 16, Mehrnaz Saeedvafa (Columbia College Chicago):

کوتاه‌ترین راه به حقیقت

The Shortest Way to Truth

May 23: August Samie (Uchicago, NELC)*:

 ازبکان مدرن: تجربه من در سمرقند و تاشکند

Zamonaviy O’zbeklar: Tajribam Toshkent va Samarqandda

Modern Uzbeks: My Experience in Tashkent and Samarkand


May 30: Tang Tian (Uchicago, CMES)*:

اقامت من درایران به عنوان دانشجوی انتقالی

My Stay in Iran as an Exchange Student


*These sessions will be either be in English, in English and Persian, preceded by an introductory part in English for students, or the talk will be designed explicitly for students’ needs. Details will be announced for each talk.

Announcements for event details will be posted around Pick Hall and online, through the Persian list and others, as well as on facebook (

There will always be tea and sweets – so come, sit down, treat yourself and be a part of the Persian speaking community.

See you on Tuesdays!
به امید دیدار

March 28: Sarvin Haghighi

Salaam, I hope you had a pleasant Spring break! Please join us for the first Persian Circle talk of the Spring Quarter on Tuesday, March 28 at 4:30pm with artist Sarvin Haghighi:

Bridging the Divide

This talk will be in Persian and English

Sarvin Haghighi is an Iranian born artist based in Chicago. Her ambition is to share part of rich and beautiful part of her culture through her art. She merges traditional Iranian art forms with a contemporary sensibility. In combining Farsi calligraphy and Islamic architectural designs with mixed media, Haghighi affirms the enduring aesthetic of a culture that is too often represented through the limited lenses of war and political turmoil. Nostalgic memories of her beloved Iran reminds her who she is, and fortify her sense of cultural pride in a land that all too often depicts a most disconcerting and often polar-opposite reflection of her cherished motherland.

She was recently caught in the midst of the Travel Ban which left her stranded in Australia for a week. She will talk about her journey as a female artist in Iran and now in the US.

See Sarvin’s website for more information:

Sarvin Haghighi

Resident Artist at Zhou B Art Center – Chicago


Tuesday, March 28

4:30 – 6pm in Pick Hall 218

 (5828 S. University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)


See you there!


Friday, March 10: Nowruz gathering

Salaam, dear students and faculty at Uchicago!
The Persian Circle and the Islamic Studies workshop invite you to the last event for this quarter:


Get a glimpse of how the Iranian New Year is celebrated – with Persian food, reading of poetry, and short presentations on history and customs of Nowruz in English and Persian. This is an event for speakers of English and Persian of all levels. Come by and enjoy good food and company at the end of a busy quarter!

Friday, March 10
Swift 106
6 pm

We hope to see you there,
به امید دیدار
Alexandra & Alexandra