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

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Persian Language and Literature: Re-Reading Hafiz Today, at UC Irvine, December 6, 2019

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Persian Language and Literature titled “Re-Reading Hafiz Today” that will take place on Friday, December 6, 2019, 10:15 am – 3:00 pm, in UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway (HG) 1010.

This event is organized by Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh, Howard Baskerville Professor of Comparative Literature at UC Irvine’s School of Humanities. Opening remarks will be made by Professor Touraj Daryaee, Maseeh Chair and Director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at UC Irvine.

Speakers and topics include: Dominic Parviz Brookshaw (University of Oxford), “Hafiz and the Poetic Landscape of Fourteenth-Century Shiraz”; Justine Landau (Harvard University), “Talmiḥ: the lyric power of invocation”; Domenico Ingenito (University of California, Los Angeles), “The Divan of Hafez as a diachronic map: the geopoetical dimension of the Persian ghazal between the 13th and the 14th centuries”; and Claudia Yaghoobi (Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), “Zulaikha’s Displaced Desire in Jami’s Yusuf and Zulaikha”.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Find out more about the Symposium

News from the University of Washington

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to share the following news from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) at the University of Washington.

NELC awarded the Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies, for the 2019-2020 academic year, to Melinda Cohoon, a Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies (pictured). Ms. Cohoon’s doctoral research focuses on the cultural production of video games and gamers from Iran. Her study will show how the Iranian gaming community in World of Warcraft (WoW) is embodied, or rather, made tangible in an online context through the use of affect theory and a gender lens. 

NELC also reports that Maral Sahebjame–who received the Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies for 2018-2019–was one of two runner ups for the British Institute for Persian Studies Best Paper Prize at the Symposia Iranica 4th Persian Studies conference, University of St Andrews, April 2019, for her work titled “Marriage as a public affair: What cohabitation unmasks about civil religious hybridity in Iranian law”. As a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Ms. Sahebjame is currently completing her dissertation, titled “Marriage Across the ‘Color Spectrum’: Making Commitment Palatable in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

In addition, in Fall 2019, NELC welcomed Dr. Aria Fani as Assistant Professor of Persian and Iranian Studies–a position that was held by Dr. Samad Alavi until his untimely departure for the University of Oslo. Dr. Fani received his B.A. in Comparative Literature from the San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation, titled “Becoming Literature: The Formation of Adabiyat as a Discipline in Iran and Afghanistan (1895-1945),” focuses on the development of literature as an institution as it developed in Iran and Afghanistan in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute congratulates NELC and the Persian and Iranian Studies program for the above great news and wishes all involved a most successful 2019-2020 academic year.

Find out more about NELC at the UW

Dr. Narges Nematollahi appointed as Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Assistant Professor of Persian Language at the University of Arizona

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute congratulates Dr. Narges Nematollahi on her new appointment as Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Assistant Professor of Persian Language at the University of Arizona, upon completion of her dual Ph.D. in Central Eurasian Studies and Linguistics from Indiana University in August 2019. At the UA, Dr. Nematollahi will continue teaching the four years of Persian language courses that she has been teaching since Fall 2018, in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, while finishing her doctoral dissertation entitled “The Iranian Epistolary Tradition: Origins and Developments (6th century BCE to 7th century CE).”

Dr. Nematollahi’s research is focused on the epistolary tradition in pre-Islamic Iran, composed in Aramaic, Parthian and Middle Persian languages, and how it is transformed in the early medieval Iran, under the influence of Arabic. Her broader areas of research are stylistics of Old-, Middle- and Modern Persian, historical linguistics and formal linguistics of Iranian languages. She also holds a Master’s degree in Ancient Languages and Cultures from Tehran University, Iran, and a Master’s degree in Religion Studies, focused on Zoroastrianism, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK.

In addition to teaching Persian language courses at all levels, Dr. Nematollahi will greatly contribute to the activities and programs of the Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Persian and Iranian Studies (“Roshan GIDP”) at the UA’s Graduate College. Directed by Professor Kamran Talattof, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Chair in Persian and Iranian Studies, the Roshan GIDP offers M.A., Ph.D., and Minor degrees focusing on modern or classical Persian literature, Iranian (or other Persian speaking societies’) culture, history, religion, social organization, and politics.

Both the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Professorship of Persian Language and the Roshan GIDP have been established with significant endowments provided to the UA by Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.

Read more about the Roshan GIDP

New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Iranian Linguistics at the University of Toronto

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Songül Gündoğdu as the new Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Iranian Linguistics, in support of the “Syntax of Nominal Linkers” project led by Dr. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Associate Professor of Linguistics, at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Songül Gündoğdu received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Department of Linguistics at Boğaziçi University in Turkey. Her main areas of research interest are morphosyntactic aspects of Iranian languages, such as the Persian Ezafe, which links the noun with its modifiers in an iterative manner. She is a native speaker of Kurmanji (Northern Kurdish) and Turkish, and has conducted joint research on the comparative analysis of linking markers between these languages.

Dr. Gündoğdu joined Professor Kahnemuyipour in September 2019, for a two-year term, to work on the first phase of his five-year project, which aims to investigate the syntax of nominal linkers across languages. Starting with the better-studied Persian case known as the Ezafe, in its first stage, the project takes on a systematic comparative investigation of several Iranian languages to establish the properties nominal linkers in each of these languages possess. The project team is currently compiling data on several Iranian languages–Kurmanji, Zazaki, Gilaki, Sorani Kurdish and Ossetian–to provide a cross-classification of nominal linkers based on a detailed study of their properties in these languages.

Read more about the Syntax of Nominal Linkers project

Lecture on Iranian Women Writers by UC Irvine Professor Nasrin Rahimieh, as part of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture Series at UMD, October 20, 2019

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce that the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, will present a lecture by Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh, as part of its Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture Series for the academic year 2019-2020. The talk entitled “The Latest Iranian Women Writers: What We Expect, What We Find in Their Works” will take place on October 20, on campus.

Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh is Howard Baskerville Professor of Humanities, Professor and former Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Director of the Humanities Core Course at the University of California, Irvine. Her teaching and research are focused on modern Persian literature, the literature of Iranian exile and diaspora, contemporary Iranian women’s writing. Among her publications are Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History (Syracuse University Press, 2001,) Forugh Farrokhzad, Poet of Modern Iran: Iconic Woman and Feminine Pioneer of New Persian Poetry co-edited with Dominic Parviz Brookshaw (I B Tauris, 2010) and Iranian Culture: Representation and Identity (Routledge, 2016).

The lecture is in English and is open and free to the public.

Sunday, October 20, 2019 | 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | HJ Patterson Hall Atrium | University of Maryland, College Park

Find out more about the event

Roshan Institute Fellows and Recent Accomplishments

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to share news about some of its Fellows and their recent accomplishments.

Dr. Neda Taherkhani joined Stony Brook Linguistics in Fall 2019 as the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Endangered Iranian Languages, to conduct a research on Southern Tati, under the supervision of Professor Richard Larson, former Chair of the Department of Linguistics at Stony Brook University. The fellowship, which carries a three-year term, is funded through a Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute grant that has been awarded to Professor Larson, to conduct research on endangered Iranian languages, with the aim to produce the first detailed grammar of a Caspian language in English. Dr. Taherkhani has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Purdue University with a specialization in Southern Tati, an undescribed language of Iran that is closely related to the three main Caspian languages: Talysh, Mazandarani and Gilaki.

Dr. Songül Gündoğdu is the recipient of the two-year Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellowship in Iranian Linguistics, which is funded through a Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute grant awarded to Dr. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto, in support of his current research project on the syntax of nominal linkers across Iranian languages. Dr. Gündoğdu received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Boğaziçi University in Turkey. Her main areas of research interest are morphosyntactic aspects of Iranian languages, such as the Ezafe constructions in Iranian languages, case and ergativity, argument structure and negation. Starting Fall 2019, she will assist Dr. Kahnemuyipour in understanding the syntax of linkers, starting with the Persian Ezafe, and thereby facilitate a deeper understanding of the structure of noun phrases and the architecture of grammar.

Elham Monfaredi successfully completed her Ph.D. in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, in August 2019. She was a recipient of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies, which was granted to support her dissertation, entitled “Storytelling in Persian Language Classrooms: A Conversation Analytic Perspective,” in the academic year 2018-2019. Dr. Monfaredi plans to present findings from her doctoral study at the 2020 conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics that will be held in Denver, Colorado, on March 28-31, 2020.

Mojtaba Ebrahimian, a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, successfully defended his dissertation in a public oral defense on August 21, 2019, and will graduate upon completion of revisions requested by his dissertation committee, including his Advisor, Professor Kamran Talattof, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Chair in Persian and Iranian Studies and Founding Chair of the Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Persian and Iranian Studies at the UA. Mr. Ebrahimian’s dissertation, entitled “Nineteenth-Century Persian Travelogues of Europe and a New Understanding of Modern European Nations in Iranian Literary and Cultural Discourse,” is supported through the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies that was awarded to him in academic year 2018-2019.

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute would like to commend all Fellows for their contributions to Persian Studies scholarship and wishes them continued success.

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Ancient Iranian History and Civilization: Persianate Cultures of Power and Global Elite Networks, at UC Irvine, June 13, 2019

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce that the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Ancient Iranian History and Civilization, titled “Persianate Cultures of Power and Global Elite Networks: Transmission, Translation and Transculturation,” successfully took place on Thursday, June 13, 2019, at UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway.

The conference included ten scholars from the United States and Europe who presented papers on the topic, and took part in discussions with an audience of nearly 80 members of the community as well as students and faculty.

This symposium was organized by Professor Matthew Canepa, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran at UC Irvine, who presented a paper entitled, “Toward a New Transmillennial Understanding of Persianate Visual and Spatial Cultures: Theorizing Transmission, Translation, and Transculturation.” Opening remarks were made by Professor Touraj Daryaee, Maseeh Chair and Director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at UC Irvine.

Find out more about Professor Matthew Canepa

Find out more about UCI Jordan Center

Second North American Conference in Iranian Linguistics at The University of Arizona, April 19-21, 2019

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute wishes to congratulate the University of Arizona Department of Linguistics, and in particular Professor of Linguistics Simin Karimi, for successfully organizing the Second North American Conference in Iranian Linguistics (NACIL 2) that was held on April 19-21, 2019, at the UA.

Sponsored by Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, NACIL 2 provided attendees an opportunity to present recent academic research on a diverse range of topics in syntax, semantics, morphology and phonology of Persian and many other Iranian languages. The conference keynote speakers included Dr. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto; Dr. Agnes Korn, Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France; and Dr. Richard Larson, Professor of Linguistics at Stony Brook University. Professor Larson was the principal organizer of NACIL 1, which was held at Stony Brook University in April 2017, with a grant from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.

Invited guest speakers to NACIL2 were UA Laureate Professor of Linguistics Noam Chomsky, who presented two talks, one on his most recent views regarding the current developments of Generative Linguistics and a second talk on political issues related to Iran; and UCLA Professor of Linguistics Anoop Mahajan who presented a talk about Indo-Iranian linguistics.

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to announce that NACIL 3 will take place in April 2021, at UCLA.

Find more about the conference

Noruz Mobarak from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute!

This most cherished Persian celebration goes back at least 3000 years and is about “Celebrating Life renewal in health and harmony with nature”

Noruz – literally “New Day” – is the Persian New Year and symbolizes renewal and rebirth. 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 Symbolism
1 Sabzeh Spring Sprouts Growth, prosperity and togetherness
2 Senjed Dry fruit of lotus, “mountain-ash” Tart and sweet tastes in life
3 Seeb Apple The oldest beneficial fruit
4 Samanu Wheat Pudding A sweet prepared with the extract of young growth of wheat
5 Serkeh Vinegar An astringent agent, medicinal
6 Somagh Crushed Sumac Berries The oldest beneficial condiment derived from a plant
7 Seer Garlic The oldest bulb with medicinal Value
8 Sekkeh Coins, (Silver and Gold) Permanence and prosperity
9 Sombol Hyacinth Flower Life development: flower from the bulb to the roots
10 Mahi Gold fish Life energy
11 Ayne A Mirror Purity and clarity
12 Sham’ Two Candelabras Spiritual light and warmth
13 Tokhm-e Morgh Decorated Eggs Life in potential
14 Scriptures Koran, Bible, Torah, etc. Blessings and faith
15 Sepand, Esfand Wild Rue Incense against the evil eye that helps the lungs function

New Grant for two-year Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellowship in Iranian Linguistics at the University of Toronto

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute has awarded a new grant to the University of Toronto to fund a two-year Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellowship in Iranian Linguistics, in support of Dr. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour’s current research project on the syntax of nominal linkers.

Dr. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (pictured) is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Language Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga campus, and at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Science (St. George campus). His areas of expertise are syntax, morphology and the syntax-phonology interface. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto in 2004 and was an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Syracuse University from 2004 to 2010.

In 2018, Dr. Kahnemuyipour was awarded a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to launch a six-year research project (2018-2023) on nominal linkers. The project is to focus on Iranian languages in its first phase, lasting two to three years, and expand the research to other languages in the second phase.

The selected Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Iranian Linguistics will play a critical role in the first phase of the project, which will include a systematic comparative investigation of Persian and other Iranian languages. This investigation will seek to establish the properties of nominal linkers in each of the Iranian languages, starting with the Persian case known as the Ezafe. A comparative study of these Iranian languages will enrich our understanding of the nominal-linker phenomenon and the structure of these languages, and help place the languages on the map of linguistic research. In addition, the project will help document Iranian languages (some of which may be endangered), and thus contribute directly to the preservation of Persian culture.

The position is expected to start in Fall 2019.

Find more about the Postdoctoral opportunity

Read more about the Syntax on Nominal Linkers project

RCHI Board of Directors appoints Dr. Kaveh Abhari to the position of Vice Chair

The Board of Directors of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to announce the appointment of Director Kaveh Abhari, Ph.D., to the position of Vice Chair. In his new role, Dr. Abhari will be assisting RCHI Founder and Chair, Dr. Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, with her ever-expanding work and accomplishments in support of the Institute’s mission.

Dr. Abhari has been versed in the work of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute since 2011, first as a volunteer student aide and, later, as a website and cultural Consultant, while also occasionally serving as a Program Officer. He was elected to RCHI Board of Directors in May 2018.

Dr. Abhari currently is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS) within the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University and an Affiliate Faculty at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He previously was an Adjunct Assistant Professor and MIS Lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences. He also has a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from his native Iran.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Abhari in his new position!

Congratulations to Professor Matthew Canepa on the release of his second 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 the release of 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 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