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November 2017

The Achaemenid King and his Governors: Identity – Imitation – Identification

November 29 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Maria Brosius (University of Toronto) While we may have a rather clear idea about the relationship between the Achaemenid king and his satraps, the relationship between the king and local governors and city-rulers has received less scholarly attention. An exception to this omission is Mausolus of Caria who seems to stand out because Greek sources refer to him both as a king and a satrap. Is his position within the Persian governmental structure indeed exceptional, and perhaps a sign of…

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Many Roads to Oxiana: Safavid and Mughal Poetry on Central Asian Campaigns

November 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Sunil Sharma (Boston University) Central Asia under the Uzbeks was viewed with ambivalence by their Persianate neighbors, the Safavids and Mughals. On the one hand, it was cherished as the cradle of Persian literature and the Timurid homeland, but at the same time its rulers were also frequently at war with them. Literary representations of military conflicts between the three polities were often characterized by the deployment of the mythical Turan-Iran binary and recast in the manner of later epics modeled…

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Computers and Challenges of Writing in Persian

November 20 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A lecture in English by Behrooz Parhami (UCSB). November 20, 2017.  The Persian script has presented some difficulties, ever since printing presses were introduced in Iran in the 1600s. The appearance of typewriters created additional problems and the introduction of digital computers added to the design challenges. These difficulties persisted, until high-resolution dot-matrix printing offered greater flexibility to font designers and the expansion of the computer market in the Middle East attracted investments on improving the Persian script for computers. Nevertheless,…

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Computers and Challenges of Writing in Persian

November 19 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

A lecture in Persian by Behrooz Parhami (UCSB). November 19, 2017. The Persian script has presented some difficulties, ever since printing presses were introduced in Iran in the 1600s. The appearance of typewriters created additional problems and the introduction of digital computers added to the design challenges. These difficulties persisted, until high-resolution dot-matrix printing offered greater flexibility to font designers and the expansion of the computer market in the Middle East attracted investments on improving the Persian script for computers. Nevertheless,…

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The King of Kings’ Empire as a Garden in Ancient Iran

November 8 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Touraj Daryaee (UC Irvine) This lecture explores the idea of the Sasanian Empire (Iranshahr) as a garden. The theme of the Persian Empire as a paradise has been explored by a number of scholars, but the continuation of this idea in Late Antiquity is neglected. The speaker will discuss how the Sasanian king of kings acted as a gardener who not only protected his subjects from invaders and malicious forces, but also weeded out those who brought havoc to the…

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October 2017

How much of a physician was Rashīd al-Dīn?

October 18 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Wolfgang Hemmann A lecture by Judith Pfeiffer (University of Bonn) Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍl Allāh Hamadānī (d. 718/1318) is often introduced as “ṭabīb,” or ‘physician,’ mostly to distinguish him from authors with similar names, notably the epistolographer Rashīd al-Dīn Waṭwāṭ (d. 578/1182). This paper discusses Rashīd al-Dīn’s scholarly persona as a physician. Starting from his epithet, ṭabīb, the paper explores his role as a medical practitioner, patron, and author of scholarly medical treatises, arguing that Rashīd al-Dīn’s name is henceforth to…

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Rashīd al-Dīn in the Eye of the Beholder: Proposing a Holistic Approach to Reception History

October 16 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Wolfgang Hemmann Central Asia in Transition Lecture by Judith Pfeiffer (University of Bonn) Recent scholarship has painted a rather dim picture of the Mongol-Ilkhanid vizier and historian Rashīd al-Dīn’s (d. 718/1318) historiographical impact in the Muslim world. This lecture proposes a holistic approach to Rashīd al-Dīn’s oeuvre that includes both his historiographical and theoretical works, and adduces evidence to revise the above statement by reviewing the reception of Rashīd al-Dīn in the Islamic world with a special focus…

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What Kind of Wine did Rudaki Fancy?

October 9 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A lecture in English by Kamran Talattof (University of Arizona). October 09, 2017. One of the earliest Persian poets, Rudaki (859–941), employed the word wine within a wide semantic register in his poems. However, his unicity is most manifest when the process of wine making is depicted within a highly allegorical poem entitled “Mother of Wine.” Through contextual, historical, and discursive analyses, it is argued that this poem—written in the form of a qasideh—was composed for the purpose of being performed…

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Sexuality and Cultural Change in Iranian Cinema

October 8 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

A lecture in Persian by Kamran Talattof (University of Arizona). October 8, 2017. The history of Iranian cinema adequately reflects the construction of gender in Iran. But the expression of sexuality is a problematic notion on a number of levels. In western societies, the preoccupation with human sexuality prompted reflection about human physiology, gender identity, and ethical considerations, resulting in the perception of sex as ontologically separate from mere reproduction, eventually facilitating sexual expression. In traditional segments of Iranian society,…

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Greater Glory: Darius I and Divinity in Achaemenid Royal Ideology

October 4 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Matthew Waters (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) The close link between the king and the divine has deep roots in Near Eastern royal ideologies, and the Persian kings during the Achaemenid period (c. 550-330 BCE) followed this tradition. Exactly how close was the link? Recent studies suggest a blurred line between the two especially during at least some parts of the Neo-Assyrian period. However one chooses to answer that question for the Achaemenids, the king is to be considered a fulcrum.…

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