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

Congratulations to Dr. Anousha Sedighi on her recent publication, The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to announce the publication of The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics (Oxford University Press, 2018) edited by Dr. Anousha Sedighi and Dr. Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi.

The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics offers a comprehensive overview of the field of Persian linguistics, discusses its development, and captures critical accounts of cutting edge research within its major subfields, as well as outlining current debates and suggesting productive lines of future research. Leading scholars in the major subfields of Persian linguistics examine a range of topics split into six thematic parts. 

Following a detailed introduction from the editors, the volume begins by placing Persian in its historical and typological context in Part I. Chapters in Part II examine topics relating to phonetics and phonology, while Part III looks at approaches to and features of Persian syntax. The fourth part of the volume explores morphology and lexicography, as well as the work of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature. Part V covers topics such as language contact and teaching Persian as a foreign language, while the final part examines psycho-, neuro-, and computational linguistics. The volume is an essential resource for all scholars with an interest in Persian language and linguistics.

Dr. Anousha Sedighi is Professor of Persian and Head/Founder of the Persian program at Portland State University. She has published two other books, Agreement Restrictions in Persian (Rozenberg & Purdue, 2008) and Persian in Use: An Elementary Textbook of Language and Culture (Leiden University, 2015) for which she received a Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies in 2010. Persian in Use has been re-published for the fourth time since 2015 due to popular demand and is currently used at more than 20 universities in the U.S. as well as internationally in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada.

Dr. Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi is Senior Lecturer of Persian Language and Linguistics at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. She has published on morphology, psycholinguistics, translation, teaching Persian as a second language, and second language acquisition.

Dr. Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Awarded Most Honorific French Medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

The Board of Directors of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute proudly wishes to announce that its Chair and President, Dr. Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, has been bestowed upon one of France’s most distinguished titles, that of Knight in the French Order of Arts and Letters, known in French as Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Given by the French Ministry of Culture, the award recognizes eminent artists and writers, and those who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts and culture in France and throughout the world. Our Chair and President could not be more deserving of the title. As a linguist, scholar, and most generous philanthropist, Dr. Mir-Djalali has dedicated (and continues to dedicate) her long and distinguished career to improving communication and cultural understanding across borders, focusing her efforts specifically to bringing to light the richness and diversity of Persian culture to audiences in France and around the world.

Dr. Mir-Djalali has been sharing her knowledge of—and passion for—Persian language and culture ever since completing her Ph.D. in Linguistics at the Sorbonne, Université de Paris, where her dissertation, Transformational Structure of the Verb in Persian, was awarded Honorable mention. Her academic skills led her to teaching at Georgetown University and the University of California at Berkeley, while her interest in Persian mystical and educational poetry and prose resulted in 15 years of volunteered work translating texts of Sufi masters, from Persian into French and English.

But, beyond these already laudable accomplishments, Dr. Mir-Djalali has established herself as a most brilliant—and generous—philanthropist since founding in 2000 Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, a private foundation dedicated to promoting the preservation, transmission and instruction of Persian language and culture around the world. Under her leadership and extraordinary vision, Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute has provided countless endowments, grants and fellowships in support of Persian-related educational and cultural activities, as demonstrated on this website.

Her strong professional and personal link to France led to the gift of a significant endowment to the prestigious Musée du Louvre in 2011 for the establishment of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fund—the first endowed fund within the Louvre Endowment Fund—to underwrite educational programs relating to Persian art and culture. Many of the programs supported by the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fund recall the deep cultural ties that have linked France and Iran for centuries, as was most recently revealed through the hugely successful exhibition, The Rose Empire, on the magnificent art of the Qajar dynasty that took place earlier this year at the Louvre-Lens Museum.

It is in recognition of this unwavering advocacy and contribution to the promotion of the arts and culture that the Louvre selected Dr. Mir-Djalali to receive the honorific title and medal of Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

“I am proud to have been the initiator of the first endowment fund in support of educational and cultural programs at that grand Institution,” said Dr. Mir-Djalali upon learning from the Musée du Louvre of the award bestowed upon her. “It is delightful to see that the efforts of everyone involved are being recognized symbolically by awarding me the Chevalier medal.”

Please join the Board and Staff of Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute in congratulating their Chair and President for this most deserving honor.

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Persian Language and Literature: Literary Translation in Iran at UC Irvine, December 7, 2018

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Persian Language and Literature titled “Roads (Not) Taken: Literary Translation in Iran” that will take place on Friday, December 7, 2018, 9:45 am – 5:30 pm, in UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway (HG) 1002.

For more than two centuries literary translation has played a key role in Iran’s intellectual life and literary production. Literary translation has also impacted Iran’s political, social, and cultural trends. The participants in this conference will analyze how literary translation has influenced or shaped Persian literature and culture.

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. The day-long symposium will be divided into four panels on the topics of Conceptual and Theoretical Frames, Literary Translation Then and Now, Politics of Translation, and Anomalies of Literary Translation.

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

Professor Matthew Canepa appointed new Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran at the University of California, Irvine

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is delighted to welcome Professor Matthew Canepa as the new Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran, established thanks to an endowment from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute in 2017. Professor Canepa’s appointment is within the UCI School of Humanities’ Department of Art History and Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies, and affiliated with the UCI Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

Professor Canepa is an award-winning historian of art, archaeology and religions of Persia and wider Iranian world. He comes to UCI from the University of Minnesota where he was a Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art History and affiliated faculty in Classical Near Eastern Studies. He has held visiting positions at Merton College, Oxford, where he was Senior Research Fellow, and L’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, where he served as Directeur d’études invité. He earned his Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Chicago and his B.A. in Art History and Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Professor Canepa is the author of two books, an edited volume, and several book chapters and articles. His most recent book, The Iranian Expanse (University of California Press, 2018), is a large-scale study of the transformation of Iranian cosmologies, landscapes and architecture from the height of the Achaemenids to the coming of Islam. His first book, entitled The Two Eyes of the Earth (University of California Press, 2009; paperback edition, 2017), is an award-winning and 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.

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and its Founder and Chair, Dr. Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali, extend a warm welcome to Professor Matthew Canepa as our new Chair at UCI.

Read more about the Appointment of Professor Canepa

Learn more about Professor Matthew Canepa

Iran’s Girls of Revolution Street, a Lecture by UNC Roshan Institute Assistant Professor Claudia Yaghoobi at the University of Washington

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to share that the Persian and Iranian Program at the University of Washington has invited Dr. Claudia Yaghoobi to give a lecture titled Iran’s Girls of Revolution Street: From Literary Narratives to Text-Based Protests to Cyberactivism, on October 11, 2018, at the UW Allen Library Auditorium.

Dr. Claudia Yaghoobi is Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian Studies and Coordinator of the Persian Program in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Subjectivity in ‘Attar, Persian Sufism, and European Mysticism (Purdue University Press, 2017) and her recent publications include an article titled, “Pirzad’s Diasporic Transnational Subjects in ‘A Day Before Easter’” in International Journal of Persian Literature and another one titled, “Mapping Out Socio-Cultural Decadence on the Female Body: Sadeq Chubak’s Gowhar in Sange-e Sabur” in Frontier: A Journal of Women’s Studies in 2018.

Examining literary narratives written between 1979-2018 that reflect socioeconomic elements essential to contextualizing questions surrounding the veil, Dr. Yaghoobi’s lecture addresses women’s lived experiences with veiling and the ways that Iranian women’s national and cultural identity is associated with the veil as reflected in the literature written after the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran. In order to produce a nuanced analysis of these themes, Dr. Yaghoobi’s approach selects literary narratives as “literary counterpublics” in Hoda Elsadda’s words (2010), or discursive mechanisms of counter-discourses shaped alongside official narratives pertinent to a social and cultural issue, here the modest dress codes and mandatory public hijab.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Allen Library Auditorium | University of Washington

Learn more about UW Persian and Iranian Studies Program

The Sad News of Professor Ehsan Yarshater’s Passing at Age 98

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute notes with deep regrets the passing of Professor Ehsan Yarshater on September 1, 2018, in Fresno, California. He was 98.
Professor Yarshater was a brilliant educator, prolific author and generous philanthropist, who advanced the scholarship and understanding of Iranian Studies worldwide. He was associated with Columbia University since 1958 when he was first invited as Visiting Associate Professor of Indo-Iranian for two years. At Columbia, he held a long and distinguished career and was most recently Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies and Director of the Center for Iranian Studies (now the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies) which he founded in 1968.

Among Professor Yarshater’s many publications are volumes on Persian poetry, Persian literature, and Persian dialects. He also edited volume 3 of the Cambridge History of Iran covering the Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian periods. However, his greatest achievement and legacy is as Founding Editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica, an internationally renowned resource for the study of Iranian history and cultural heritage, which Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is proud to have been a supporter of since 2002.

Professor Yarshater will be sorely missed by countless friends, admirers, and scholars he touched with his numerous academic, service and philanthropic efforts. Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute offers its deepest condolences to his family.

Read more about Encyclopædia Iranica

Roshan Institute Fellows and Recent Accomplishments

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

Vahideh Rasekhi obtained her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stony Brook University in August 2018. Her primary area of interest is syntax (ellipsis, long-distance dependencies, and passive/causative structures) and she wrote her dissertation on “Ellipsis and Information Structure: Evidence from Persian,” for which she was awarded a Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies in academic year 2017-18. Dr. Rasekhi will continue her research on the syntax of Iranian languages at UCLA Department of Linguistics, where she has been selected as the inaugural Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellow in Iranian Linguistics. This postdoctoral fellowship carries a term of two years, with the possibility for a one-year extension.

Soodabeh Malekzadeh successfully completed her Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Irvine, in May 2018. Her research interests include ancient Persian languages, ancient Iranian religion and tradition as well as Persian mythology and literature. She was awarded our Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies for the completion of her doctoral dissertation, entitled “The Sasanian Empire in the Fifth Century: The Case of Yazdegerd I and Bahram V,” in academic year 2017-18.

Dr. Matthew Miller has been appointed Assistant Professor of Persian and the Associate Director of the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research focuses on medieval Sufi literature, the history of sexuality and the body, and digital humanities. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (Persian and Arabic) from Washington University in St. Louis, for which he had received a Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies in academic year 2012-13.

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

New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Fellows for 2018-19

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 2018-19.

Elham Monfaredi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM). Her research interests include cross-cultural pragmatics, inter-language pragmatics, discourse analysis and conversational analysis. She has been a Graduate Assistant in the Persian Language, Linguistics and Culture Program at UHM for academic years 2014-2018, 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 a Persian Instructor in the Persian Language Summer Institute at the University of Maryland in the summers of 2016, 2017 and 2018. Ms. Monfaredi expects to defend her dissertation, entitled “Storytelling in Persian Language Classrooms: A Conversation Analytic Perspective,” in spring 2019.

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.

Twelfth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference at UC Irvine, August 14-17, 2018

The Twelfth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference of the Association for Iranian Studies (AIS) will be held on August 14-17 at the Dr. Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). The AIS Biennial Conferences are the largest worldwide gatherings of scholars in the field of Iranian Studies. Organized under the leadership of the AIS President, Professor Touraj Daryaee, who is also the Director of UCI Jordan Center, the 2018 Iranian Studies Conference will not only include academic presentations from renowned faculty members, active scholars, and promising students in the field, but also provide opportunities for networking and establishing professional contacts. A number of additional events such as book launches, receptions, Persian classical music performances and Persian poetry readings will also take place.

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to continue its support of the Biennial Conference this year and congratulates the Association for Iranian Studies and all participating presenters for their outstanding efforts to promote Persian studies scholarship.

Find more about the Conference

Congratulations to Professor Mark Garrison, Winner of the 2018 Ehsan Yarshater Book Award for his New Publication, The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute wishes to congratulate Professor Mark B. Garrison for being the winner of the 2018 Ehsan Yarshater Book Award for his new book, The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis: Glyptic Imagery from the Persepolis Fortification and Treasury Archives (The University of Chicago: SAOC 72, 2018). The award was given out at the opening ceremony of the Association for Iranian Studies Twelfth Biennial Conference that took place at the University of California, Irvine, on August 14-17, 2018.

Named in honor of Professor Ehsan Yarshater, an internationally recognized scholar who has made a major contribution to the field of Iranian Studies, the purpose of this book award is to advance the scholarship on Ancient Iranian Civilization and its cognate fields.

 

The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis focuses on a corpus of glyptic imagery preserved as impressions on two large archives of administrative tablets from Persepolis, the Persepolis Fortification archive (509–493 BC) and the Persepolis Treasury archive (492–457 BC). The glyptic imagery published in The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis concerns representations of what have been traditionally termed “fire altars” and/or “fire temples”; and are the most numerous, the most visually complex, and the best dated and contextualized evidence that currently exists for the study of religious ritual in early Achaemenid Iran. The publication was made possible thanks to a grant by Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.

Mark B. Garrison is Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art and Art History at Trinity University, where he has been teaching since 1989. He also is the Editor of the Persepolis Fortification Archive (PFA) project at the Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago. His primary research interests are the glyptic arts of ancient Iran and Iraq in the early first millennium B.C. He has devoted decades of study to the PFA tablets and is known as the foremost expert on Achaemenid glyptic art, having published extensively on the subject.

Download The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis

Learn more about the Association for Iranian Studies

Congratulations to Dr. Ida Meftahi, Recipient of the 2018 Latifeh Yarshater Award for her first book, “Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage”

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is proud to announce that Dr. Ida Meftahi’s first book, Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage (Routledge, 2016) won the 2018 Latifeh Yarshater Award for the best book in the field of Iranian women’s studies. The award was given out at the Association for Iranian Studies Twelfth Biennial Conference that took place at the University of California, Irvine, on August 14-17, 2018.

Named in honor of Latifeh Yarshater and her lifelong dedication to the improvement of Iranian women’s human rights, this award is to encourage scholarship in Iranian studies focused on the condition of women in Persian-speaking societies and to promote women’s rights in these societies.

Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage investigates the way dancing bodies have been providing evidence for competing representations of modernity, urbanism, and religiosity across the twentieth century. The book, which research was supported by a fellowship from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, traces the dancing body in multiple milieus of performance, including the Pahlavi era’s national artistic scene and the popular café and cabaret stages, as well as the commercial cinematic screen and the post-revolutionary Islamized theatrical stage.

Dr. Meftahi has been a Visiting Assistant Professor in Contemporary Iranian Culture and Society at the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, since 2014. In addition to teaching, she is the director of the “Lalehzar Digital Project” as well as the faculty advisor for Roshangar: Roshan Undergraduate Journal for Persian Studies. Dr. Meftahi holds a Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto (2013) and an M.A. in Dance from York University, Canada (2007).

Roshan Institute for Persian Studies warmly congratulates Dr. Meftahi for this award and wishes her continued success in her academic work.

Read more about Dr. Ida Meftahi

Learn more about the Association for Iranian Studies

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture: “Not that Lost in Translation: Sasanian Exegesis of the Avesta” by Dr. Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo at UC Irvine, August 5, 2018

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is pleased to announce the first Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture, that is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 5, 2018, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, at UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway (HG) 1010.

This event is organized by Professor Touraj Daryaee, Director of UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture, and will feature a lecture titled “Not that Lost in Translation: Sasanian Exegesis of the Avesta” by Dr. Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo, Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow at the University of Salamanca, Spain.

Dr. Andrés-Toledo is an expert on Avestan and Pahlavi texts, and his research interests also include Old and Middle Iranian languages and literatures, Zoroastrianism, Iranian lexicography as well as Indo-Iranian and Indo-European Linguistics.

The lecture is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Find out more about UCI Jordan Center

New Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Professor of Persian Language at the University of Arizona

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is proud to announce a new endowment to the University of Arizona to establish the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Professor of Persian Language at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The new professor will teach Persian language courses at all levels and will develop curriculum and teaching materials. The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Professor of Persian Language will also contribute to the activities and programs of the Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Persian and Iranian Studies, which was established in the UA’s Graduate College in 2016 with an endowment from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute. Recruitment for the position has begun, and it is anticipated that the new faculty member will begin this fall.

This is Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute’s third endowment to the University of Arizona. In 2003, an endowment for Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies was established in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies for outstanding graduate students in Persian and Iranian studies. The Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Persian and Iranian Studies established in 2016 includes funding for an endowed faculty chair and an endowed professorship – both already filled – as well as for programming activities and new master’s and doctoral degree programs. The three endowments combined bring Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute’s total gifts to nearly $3.5 million in support of the renowned Persian and Iranian Studies program at the University of Arizona.

Read more about the Endowment at UA

Read the announcement at SBS

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Ancient Iranian History and Civilization: Food and Drink in Ancient Iran at UC Irvine, May 15, 2018

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute is delighted to sponsor the all-day conference, titled The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Symposium on Ancient iranian History and Civilization: Food and Drink in Ancient Iran, that is taking place on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, in UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway (HG) 1030.

This event is organized by Professor Touraj Daryaee, Director of UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture, and Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University. The conference features two keynote addresses on the “Highlights of Ancient Persian Winemaking” and “What We Know about Medieval Persian Cuisine.” Following the conference, invited guests will be able to attend a reception, where a selection of food and desert from the Achaemenid to the Sasanian Period will be served, as well as contemporary Persian wine with Ancient Persian foods.

The day conference is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

The reception is by invitation only.

Find out more about UCI Jordan Center

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