Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto celebrated Persian New Year

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto celebrated Persian New Year by hosting the Nowruz Festival of Women Poets on Saturday, March 26, 2022, co-presented by the Aga Khan Museum. The event sold out within days and featured both live and virtual performances from some of the world’s most celebrated poets and musicians dedicated to Persian art, language, and culture.

Fellowships & Grants in Iranian Studies

April 29, 2022 – 5 PM GMT(9 AM PST, 12 PM EST)

What fellowships and grants exist out there?What are the different options for students & postgraduates?What do students or postgraduates need to secure one?

Mark your calendars for our next Presidential Session on “Fellowships and Grants in Iranian Studies” with AIS President, Naghmeh Sohrabi, AIS Council Member, Dr. Hosna Sheikholeslami, and Dr. Stella Morgana.The online event will be held on Friday, April 29 at 12pm EST and will be moderated by AIS Student Representatives Dr. Rowena Abdul Razak and Layah Ziaii-Bigdeli.To register, visit: https://tinyurl.com/AISPresidentialSessions

In Memoriam: James F. Harris, Former Dean at UMD

James F. Harris, 81, eminent scholar of 19th-century German history and longtime dean of the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) at the University of Maryland, died Feb. 22, 2022, of heart disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. His deanship was marked by numerous academic and philanthropic achievements, including the development of an integrative approach to Middle East studies delivered in part through the creation of the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, the first centers of their kind in the U.S. under his leadership, the college also collaborated with the UMD Libraries and Office of Information Technology to establish the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, which has become a leading intellectual hub and international center for digital humanities.

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Happy Noruz

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute extends its best wishes to everyone for the celebration of Noruz 1401.
Noruz – literally “New Day” – is the Persian New Year and symbolizes renewal and rebirth. The celebration of Noruz dates back several thousand years, to the time of the Achaemenids. Noruz starts at the exact instant of the Vernal Equinox, which occurs each year around the 21st of March, the first day of spring. This most important Iranian holiday is a time for family and friends to gather together and is marked with a myriad of activities affecting everything from preparations and celebrations to food, clothing, gift giving, charity, and many other social and family activities.
Haftsin (Haft Seen) is the spread, around which the Family gathers to celebrate Noruz. Iranians take pride in putting together an attractive and elaborate spread to represent both spiritual and worldly symbols promising a happy start of the New Year. The Persian word Haft means seven and Sin refers to the sound /S/ in the language. Usually a nice embroidered fabric is used as the foundation of the spread. On the spread seven specific items starting with the sound /S/ are displayed. The set is prepared a day or two before Noruz and given a place of honor in the house to remain 13 days following Noruz. Additional items are also placed on the Haftsin that will signify renewal, life, happiness, spiritual purity, prosperity, fertility, growth, good health and all things one desires for the New Year. This celebration is one of hope, promise and good fortune to enjoy and share with friends and family.
List of items for Haftsin# Name Definition Symbolism1 Sabzeh Spring Sprouts Growth, prosperity and togetherness2 Senjed Dry fruit of lotus, “mountain-ash” Tart and sweet tastes in life3 Seeb Apple The oldest beneficial fruit4 Samanu Wheat Pudding A sweet prepared with the extract of young growth of wheat5 Serkeh Vinegar An astringent agent, medicinal6 Somagh Crushed Sumac Berries The oldest beneficial condiment derived from a plant7 Seer Garlic The oldest bulb with medicinal Value8 Sekkeh Coins, (Silver and Gold) Permanence and prosperity9 Sombol Hyacinth Flower Life development: flower from the bulb to the roots10 Mahi Gold fish Life energy11 Ayne A Mirror Purity and clarity12 Sham’ Two Candelabras Spiritual light and warmth13 Tokhm-e Morgh Decorated Eggs Life in potential14 Scriptures Koran, Bible, Torah, etc. Blessings and faith15 Sepand, Esfand Wild Rue Incense against the evil eye that helps the lungs function

 

Professor Homa Katouzian, Roshan Institute Academic Visitor in Iranian Studies at Oxford

Professor Homa Katouzian, Roshan Institute Academic Visitor in Iranian Studies at Oxford, supervised four DPhil (Ph.D.) students, Rowena Abdul Razak (Ph.D.) from Malaysia, Alen Shadunts (Ph.D.) from Armenia, Basak Kilerci (Ph.D. Candidate) from Turkey, and Morad Moazami (Ph.D. Candidate) from Iran. 
 
In January, the Chinese edition of his book, The Persians, was published by Yilin Press. In September, the second edition of his Hedayat book was published by I.B. Tauris (Bloomsbury Publishers). His Poetry and Revolution, poets, and poetry of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran (edited collection) is due to be published in July 2022 by Routledge publishes. The paperback of Sa’di in Love is due to be published by Tauris / Bloomsbury in September 2022. His work on Humour in Iran, eleven-hundred years of satire and humor, is progressing well.
 
A book entitled What is History, and thirty other essays are under publication by Nashr-e Markaz, Tehran. He has given eight lectures on Iran’s history 1800-2000, two virtual lectures on the Constitutional Revolution, and four virtual lectures on Hedayat and Jamalzadeh to Iranian students since August 2021. He also contributed a paper on the Constitutional Revolution to the annual conference of Iran’s Sociology Society, the proceedings of which are about to be published in a single volume.

A new donation of $2.3 Million for the ELAHÉ OMIDYAR MIR-DJALALI FUND in the Louvre endowment fund

The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fund within the Louvre Endowment Fund has received an exceptional donation of $2.3 million from American Friends of the Louvre thanks to the generosity of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.

In 2011, Dr Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali and her son Pierre Omidyar became the first philanthropists to support the Louvre Endowment Fund through Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute. They created a specific fund to advance research in art history and promote cultural outreach linked to the Persian world. Thanks to this partnership, Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute has also created the first Louvre fellowship programme.

This new donation will allow for the creation of a second Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali fellowship for the Louvre: the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities and the Department of Islamic Art will therefore each benefit from a new fellow. The donation also brings greater funding for cultural outreach and research relating to the Persian world within the Musée du Louvre.

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Noruz Mobarak from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute extends its best wishes to eveyrone for the celebration of Noruz 1400.

Noruz – literally “New Day” – is the Persian New Year, a most cherished celebration that goes back 3,000 years and symbolizes life renewal in health and harmony with nature. Noruz starts at the exact instant of the Vernal Equinox, which occurs each year around the 21st of March, the first day of spring. This most important Iranian holiday is a time for family and friends to gather together and is marked with a myriad of activities affecting everything from preparations and celebrations to food, clothing, gift giving, charity, and many other social and family activities.

Haftsin (Haft Seen) is the spread, around which the Family gathers to celebrate Noruz. Iranians take pride in putting together an attractive and elaborate spread to represent both spiritual and worldly symbols promising a happy start of the New Year. The Persian word Haft means seven and Sin refers to the sound /S/ in the language. Usually a nice embroidered fabric is used as the foundation of the spread. On the spread seven specific items starting with the sound /S/ are displayed. The set is prepared a day or two before Noruz and given a place of honor in the house to remain 13 days following Noruz. Additional items are also placed on the Haftsin that will signify renewal, life, happiness, spiritual purity, prosperity, fertility, growth, good health and all things one desires for the New Year.

This celebration is one of hope, promise and good fortune to enjoy and share with friends and family.

 

New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Doctoral Fellowships at the University of California, Irvine

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce a new endowment that establishes two doctoral fellowships for students pursuing Iranian studies at the University of California, Irvine – the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Fellowship in Ancient Iranian Studies and the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Fellowship in the Study of the Persian/Iranian World. The $1.5 million endowment enables UCI to expand its current graduate specialization in ancient Iran and the premodern Persian world into a Ph.D. concentration that is expected to be available for student applications in fall 2022.

 

The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Fellowship in Ancient Iranian Studies will support Ph.D. students who are studying the ancient Iranian/Persian world (550 BCE to 650 CE) and are advised or co-advised by the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History & Archeology of Ancient Iran, currently Professor Matthew Canepa. The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Fellowship in the Study of the Persian/Iranian World will be open to students studying the Iranian world in any time period or discipline, in any UCI Ph.D. program that participates in the concentration.

The two fellowships established by this grant are among the only permanent, endowed Ph.D. fellowships in the world dedicated specifically to ancient Iranian studies. Administered by the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair and the Dean of Humanities, the fellowships will be part of a competitive five-year funding package guaranteed to Ph.D. students upon admission.

“The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Fellowships will be transformative both for UCI – which will attract top doctoral students as a result – and for the field of Iranian studies more generally,” said Professor Canepa, who directs the graduate specialization. “By graduating with a disciplinary Ph.D. as well as credentials in Iranian studies, doctoral students will be ideally equipped to compete for the widest possible range of positions at the widest possible range of institutions and programs.”

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute has supported several Persian-focused initiatives at UCI, and this new grant marks our second endowment. The $2 million Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History & Archaeology of Ancient Iran was created in 2017.

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In Memoriam: Dorn C. McGrath, Jr., RCHI Director Emeritus (1930-2021)

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute notes with deep regret the passing of Dorn C. McGrath, Jr., FAICP, on January 25, 2021. Professor McGrath provided valuable inspiration and guidance to the Institute as an active member of the Board of Directors for 14 years and as Emeritus Director since 2017.

Professor McGrath was a brilliant scholar, administrator and public servant. He received his BA from Dartmouth College and his MCP from Harvard University.

 

As a member of the faculty of George Washington University for 35 years, he was the founder of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Director of the Institute for Urban Development Research, Chairman of the Department of Geography and Regional Science, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and one of the founders of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. Professor McGrath also served as a member of the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies and of Goucher College.

Professor McGrath was equally well known as a civic activist. Throughout his career, he worked closely with neighborhoods, as well as with various agencies of the District of Columbia, state and federal governments. Professor McGrath also served for a decade as chairman of the prestigious Committee of 100 on the Federal City, a group started a century ago to promote sound planning for the nation’s capital.

Professor McGrath was an author or coauthor of dozens of articles in wide variety of professional journals. Over his long career, he received numerous awards and other distinctions from GWU, numerous civic and governmental groups and even foreign governments.

Dorn will be sorely missed by the Institute as well as by countless family, friends and admirers. The Institute has no information at this time concerning services or other memorials.

 

New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto

The Board of Directors of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute (RCHI) is excited to announce a US$6 million endowment to the University of Toronto for the establishment of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Named in honor of RCHI Founder, President and Board Chair, the new Institute will focus primarily on research and outreach by leveraging the strong educational programming already in place across the university, fostering advanced research in a collaborative community, and promoting intercultural dialogue.

 

With investments allocated over a multi-year period, the endowment–RCHI’s largest to date–will significantly expand the University’s prestigious Iranian Studies program by:

  • Providing substantial support for a world-leading scholar who will serve as the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute’s Director;
  • Launching a regular Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture Series and international conference to facilitate exchanges and discussions for the academic community;
  • Enhancing the graduate experience by awarding annually up to two Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Dissertation Completion Fellowships to top doctoral students in Iranian-related studies; and at least two Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Graduate Scholarships to pursue Persian language training abroad, participate in conferences or conduct research in the field;
  • Establishing a two-year Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellowship to enable recently graduated Ph.D.s to deepen their expertise in Iranian studies and further their own research at the University;
  • Launching the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Scholar Award program for tenure-track U of T faculty members in Iranian studies to assist them in compiling successful tenure files; and
  • Engaging the public and bring focus to the richness of the Iranian culture by hosting annual cultural programs celebrating Persian holidays.

The new endowed position will foster the creation of new courses in Persian and Persianate Studies, support interdepartmental projects and develop regional, national and international appreciation of Persian and Iranian cultural legacies.

The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies will be located at 90 Queen’s Park, a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility adjacent to the Royal Ontario Museum that is currently under construction at the University. At this stunning new building, U of T scholars—more than 18 leaders in the field of Iranian Studies—will work alongside those from the School of Cities, the Faculty of Music, the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Departments of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. They will also have opportunities to connect with U of T’s outstanding network of researchers, across three campuses, and collaborate with Toronto’s lively and growing Iranian community in the heart of one of the world’s most diverse cities.

Please join our Board in celebrating together the announcement of this significant milestone for both U of T and RCHI.

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New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Professor in Persian and Iranian Studies at the University of Washington

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is proud to announce a new endowment to the University of Washington to establish the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Professorship in Persian and Iranian Studies, in support of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) and its successful Persian and Iranian Studies Program. The new endowed position will foster the creation of new courses in Persian and Iranian Studies, support interdepartmental projects and develop regional, national and international appreciation of Persian and Iranian cultural legacies.

This marks the first endowed professorship in NECL and its inaugural holder will be Dr. Aria Fani, who joined UW in 2019 as an Assistant Professor in Persian and Iranian Studies. During his first year, Dr. Fani taught topical courses in Persian literature and popular courses on Near Eastern travelogues and cinematic cultures. Dr. Fani has a Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his research focuses on the Persian language and cultural heritage as shared medium for modern literary cultures of Iran and Afghanistan. He has published a textbook for the teaching of Persian as a heritage language and is currently working on a poetry collection by Bizhan Jalali titled Shades of Silence.

The new endowed position will foster the creation of new courses in Persian and Iranian Studies, support interdepartmental projects and develop regional, national and international appreciation of Persian and Iranian cultural legacies.

This is Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute’s second endowment to the University of Arizona. In 2003, an endowment for Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies was established in NELC for outstanding graduate students in the field of Persian and Iranian studies.

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Virtual Symposium: Revisiting Discourses of Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Iran and Diaspora: September 5 – October 3, 2020

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce a virtual symposium organized by Dr. Claudia Yaghoobi, Roshan Institute Associate Professor in Persian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Originally scheduled as a one-day symposium to be held at UNC, Dr. Yaghoobi has reorganized the event into a series of virtual panels presented via Zoom webinars, so that registrants may join and enjoy listening to the lineup of papers by well-known scholars in the safety of their homes. 

 

This virtual symposium brings together a range of scholars from different disciplines focusing on modern Iran to analyze the wide variety of ways in which love and desire have been represented, imagined, and discursively constructed. Participants will address discourses of love and desire and revisit those discourses considering the implications that they have for larger theoretical debates.

The series of panels runs from September 5 to October 3, 2020:

  • Panel I: Love and Desire Across borders in Modern Iran and Diaspora – Saturday September 5th @ 5pm-6:30pm
  • Panel II: Embodied Bodies, Non-normativity, and Power Dynamics in Modern Iranian Literature and Film – Saturday September 12th @ 12pm-1:30pm
  • Horner-Jarrahi Keynote Speaker: Professor Janet Afary, Mellichamp Chair in Global Religion and Modernity, University of California, Santa Barbara – Saturday September 19th @ 12pm-1:30pm
  • Panel III: Religio-Political Dimensions of Desire in Modern Iran – Saturday September 26th @ 12pm-1:30pm
  • Roundtable: Love, Laws, and Changes – Saturday October 3rd @ 12pm-1:30pm

Registrants will be provided with a Zoom webinar link in advance of each panel.

Read more for additional information and registration

Congratulations to Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz on bringing together Iranian musicians and American singers for a historic digital performance

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute congratulates Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz, Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies and Director of Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, for partnering with the North American Iranian Friendship Association in Tehran, to bring Iranian and American performers together in cyberspace for a historic collaboration.

Seven American singers from the Washington, DC-based opera company IN Series and 19 Iranian musicians of the Solidarity Chamber Orchestra of Tehran collaborated over video and other digital media to perform a rendition of German-British composer Handel’s “Serse,” an operatic series based on the story of Xerxes I of Persia. The socially distanced performance was overlaid with recitations of poetry from Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and philosopher.

View a clip of the performance

Dr. Marjan Moosavi appointed Roshan Institute Lecturer in Persian Studies at the University of Maryland

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to welcome Dr. Marjan Moosavi as the new Roshan Institute Lecturer in Persian Studies in the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland College Park. She will begin her new teaching position this September 2020.

Dr. Moosavi holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies where she trained in the theory and craft of theatre-making, dramaturgy, and diasporic performances. 

Dr. Moosavi has served as a faculty member and designed curricula for the University of Toronto, York University (Canada), Portland State University (U.S.A) and Parand Azad University (Iran). She is the author of several scholarly articles, book chapters, and interviews published in The Drama Review (TDR)New Theatre QuarterlyAsian Theatre Journal, Ecumenica) and online journals (Critical Stages, Arab Stages, and TheTheatreTimes). She is the Founder and Principal Investigator of the First Digital Guide to Theater of the Middle East.

Learn more about Roshan Institute for Persian Studies

New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellows for 2020-2021

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute wishes to congratulate the following two Ph.D. candidates for being awarded our Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies for the completion of their doctoral studies in academic year 2020-21.

Alexandra Hoffmann is a Ph.D. candidate in Persian Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where she focuses on Classical Persian Literature from the 10th to the 15th century. She is expecting to defend her dissertation, entitled “Strong Warriors, Liminal Lovers, and Beardless Men: Male bodies and Masculinities in Pre-modern Persian Literature,” in Spring 2021. The dissertation aims to break new ground in the study of pre-modern conceptions of masculinity and corporeality in Classical Persian Literature. Ms. Hoffmann has served as Teaching Assistant for several Persian language classes and was awarded a Stuart Tave Teaching fellowship for her self-designed class “Masculinities in pre-modern Middle Eastern Literature,” which she taught in the Spring quarter 2020, while also working as a Teaching Consultant for the Chicago Centre for Teaching at The University of Chicago.

Parvaneh Rezaee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM). Her research interests include discourse analysis, conversation analysis, sociolinguistics, multilingualism, and L2 learning. She has been a Graduate Assistant in the Persian Language, Linguistics and Culture Program at UHM for academic years 2015-2019, during which she was awarded the Roshan Institute Fellowship in Persian Linguistics, Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics three years in a row. She has also been the Persian instructor at the Intercultural Communications College in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the summer of 2016 and 2017. Ms. Rezaee expects to defend her dissertation, entitled “The Persian Particle dige in Professional- Client Interaction,” in Spring 2021.

New Book: “Crime, Poverty and Survival in the Middle East and North Africa: The ‘Dangerous Classes’ since 1800,” Edited by Dr. Stephanie Cronin, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Research Fellow, University of Oxford

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute congratulates Dr. Stephanie Cronin, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Research Fellow at Oxford, on being the Editor of the new publication, Crime, Poverty and Survival in the Middle East and North Africa: The ‘Dangerous Classes’ since 1800 (I. B. Tauris, 2019). The book is a collection of papers that were presented at a conference organized by Dr. Cronin at St Antony’s College, Oxford, with funding from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.

The concept of the “dangerous classes” was born in mid-nineteenth century Europe. It described all those who had fallen out of the working classes into the lower depths of the new societies, surviving by their wits or various amoral, disreputable or criminal strategies.

Crime, Poverty and Survival in the Middle East and North Africa: The ‘Dangerous Classes’ since 1800 examines the ‘dangerous classes’ in the Middle East and North Africa, their lives and the strategies they used to avoid, evade, cheat, placate or, occasionally, resist, the authorities. Chapters cover the narratives of their lives; their relationship with ‘respectable’ society; their political inclinations and their role in shaping systems and institutions of discipline and control and their representation in literature and in popular culture.

Dr. Cronin is a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford where she teaches graduate courses in Modern Middle Eastern Studies, specifically on Iranian history (Qajar and Pahlavi periods) and History from below in the Middle East and North Africa. She is the author of many books on modern Iranian history and is currently working on a social history of modern Iran “from below”.

Find out more about Dr. Stephanie Cronin

Congratulations to Professor Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi on the release of his new book, Le Coran des historiens

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute wishes to congratulate Professor Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, Directeur d’Etudes at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes at the Sorbonne, on the release of his new monumental book, Le Coran des historiens (Editions du Cerf, 2019). Made up of three volumes of a thousand pages each, Le Coran des historiens has been acclaimed as a major editorial event and praised for its ambitious aim to make the Qur’an accessible to all.

Edited by Professor Amir-Moezzi and Guillaume Dye, Professor in Islamic Studies at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Le Coran des historiens brings together 30 international specialists, including Professors Amir-Moezzi and Dye, who offer a complete and critical synthesis of past work and present research on the origins of the Qur’an, its formation and appearance, its composition and its canonization. The twenty exhaustive studies in Volume 1, Etudes sur le contexte et la genèse du Coran, introduce the readers to a detailed analysis of the Qur’an and anchor the emergence of Islam in a rich and complex context. Volumes 2a and 2b provide a new analysis, as well as a commentary according to the historical-critical approach, for each of the 114 Suras from the founding book of Islam.

Le Coran des historiens is a complement to Le Dictionnaire du Coran (Robert Laffont, 2007) also edited by Professor Amir-Moezzi; both publications were made possible by a grant from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute. Professor Amir-Moezzi is the author and/or director of numerous other books and articles on Islam in general and on Shiism in particular, many of which have been translated in English.

Find out more

Congratulations to Professor Matthew Canepa, Recipient of the Top Book Prize from Archaeological Institute of America for his Book, The Iranian Expanse

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute wishes to congratulate Dr. Matthew Canepa, Professor of Art History and Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran at UC Irvine, on receiving the 2020 James R. Wiseman Book Award from Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) for his second book, The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE-642 CE (University of California Press, 2018). The AIA bestows the Wiseman award on the academic work on an archaeological topic that it deems the most worthy of recognition each year. The award will be presented to Professor Canepa in Washington D.C. on January 4, 2020, in a ceremony at the Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting.

The Iranian Expanse covers 1,000 years of art, archeology and history of ancient Iran, from the Achaemenid period to the arrival of Islam, and explores how kings in Persia and the ancient Iranian world utilized the built and natural environment to form and contest Iranian cultural memory, royal identity, and sacred cosmologies. This large-scale study critically examines the construction of a new Iranian royal identity and empire, which subsumed and subordinated all previous traditions, including those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Anatolia. It then delves into the startling innovations that emerged after Alexander under the Seleucids, Arsacids, Kushans, Sasanians, and the Perso-Macedonian dynasties of Anatolia and the Caucasus, a previously understudied and misunderstood period.

Professor Canepa is an award-winning historian of art, archaeology and religions of Persia and wider Iranian world. His first book, The Two Eyes of the Earth (University of California Press, 2009; paperback edition, 2017,) is a pioneering comprehensive study of the artistic, ritual and ideological interactions between the late Roman and Sasanian empires. It was awarded the 2010 James Henry Breasted Prize from the American Historical Association for best book in English on any field of history prior to the year 1000 CE and the Archaeological Institute of America’s von Bothmer Publication Fund.

Learn more about The Iranian Expanse