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Tehran fashion show.

Tehran fashion show.

Hi all,

No, I have not disappeared on you. In fact, it is good to be opening a new window on Iran.  I went to a birthday celeberation for my poet Rumi (b.1207) in Stanford. Yes, you are right, his 800 Birthday. As we say in Persian jaye shoma khali! “wish you had been there.” There were
fun talks about Rumi’s work, I read poetry to music, and listened to Robert Bly reading some fantastic poetry. I had prepared this window to send out before traveling to Stanford but I forgot to send it as I got busy preparing for the trip.

Visual Delight

Here is a visual delight, a fun fashion show, to make up for the absence right away. It is the latest fashion show in Tehran: ladies
outfit. Click here: Women’s Fashion Show in Tehran.

Current Issues

On Sunday, January 27 hundreds of thousands of people marched on
Washington to ask for peace. As frightening news of the possibilities
of escalating the war – and entaglement with Iran – spreads, it is
important to know that the estimated number of marchers has been much
higher than the tens of thousands initially reported in the mainstream
media. Watch the video at:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/013007A.shtml
According to the Iranian news agency roozna, the government of Iran
has received a message from “members of the American parliament”
although the names of the senders or the contents of the message have
not been disclosed.

Usually under outside pressure, “patriotic” feelings surge to protect
governmental actions we are usually ready to criticize. Recent
heightened American  rhetoric against Iran should convince Iranians to
rally behind President Ahmadinejad. In the last Window, I told you of
the electronic poll that showed a sharp decline in the Iranian
President’s popularity, a display of political maturity among the
Iranian public. The article suggests that some political figures echo
dissatisfaction toward Mr. Ahmadinejad.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/world/middleeast/19iran.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

To round up our current issues section, I’ll give you Mark Mazzetti’s
article “Leading Senator Assails President Over Iran Stance.” The
piece, focused on Senator John D. Rockefeller IV strong opposition to
the White House portrayal of Iran as dangerous, was forwarded to me by
Adam Shriver. Thanks a lot Adam:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/20/washington/20intel.html?ex=1169960400&en=a4e

Cultural/Social

At least four friends have sent me the same video clip about Iran. It
is made by the Iranian Permanent Mission to the United Nation (hence
the clip from ex-president Khatami’s presentation to the U.N.). Still,
the video is quite useful. While it does not linger on anything long
enough, it showes a large variety of scenes (historical and modern)
from present day Iran:
http://www.un.int/iran/videos/AboutIran/Film.html

Another contribution to the Windows from my friend Behrooz Ghamari who
— this time — focused on music rather than politics. Behrooz writes:
“whenever I tell people about Tehran symphony orchestra their face
drops, as if I am talking about an orchestra of the Martians.” Here is
something to read on the orchestra of the Martians! Thanks Behrooz
Jan! http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jan/1102.html

Tehran symphony orchestra (image courtesy of www.payvand.com)

Tehran symphony orchestra (image courtesy of http://www.payvand.com)

Here is a great article courtesy of my dear friend/student Omid
Ghaemmaghami.  The essay called “Iran and Muslim Renaissance” by
Soroush Irfani was published in Daily Times, on January 27. Mr. Irfani
challenges the portrayal of Iran as a ‘anti-western’ and
‘isolationist’ culture. He states that ” indeed what is remarkable
about Iran today is a groundswell in its intellectual culture marked
by the reclamation of a Persian-Islamic past and interpretation with
western thought.” To read the full essay click on:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C01%5C14%5Cstory_14-1-2007_pg3_5

I am often asked if visual arts are forbidden in Muslim countries.
Here is an interesting source that documents what I mentioned in these
windows earlier: graphic arts are flourishing in present day Iran. The
Bibliography of Iranian Graphic Arts by Houssein Chanani cites books
and dissertations published and presented in areas related to graphic
arts including theory, basic and introductory textbooks, graphic
artists and designers, exhibitions, decorative icons and symbols, book
illustration, calligraphy, book cover, packaging, caricature,
computer, cinema, television, advertisement, poster, architecture, and
publication from their emergence in Iran (Persia) to 1997.
http://www.tavoosmag.com/english/news/detail.asp?codeclass=439&id=4953

More Visual Delight

I have for some time now been trying to put a power point show of
images from an old castle in Roodkhan in northern Iran sent to me by
my friend Yusef Hakimian who communicates from time to time from
Jerusalem. However, somehow the images don’t save properly. Recently,
I got a set of delightful images from a modern palace in Tehran:
Sadabad Place now turned into a museum. These images did save
nicely, and I turned them into a slide show for you.
Please click here: Sa’dabad Palace. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend.

Fatemeh
===================================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
==================================

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Woman voting in the Iranian elections of 2005. Contrary to statements made frequently in the mainstream U.S. media, women CAN vote in Iran starting at age sixteen.

A woman voting in the Iranian elections of 2005. Contrary to statements made frequently in the mainstream U.S. media, women CAN vote in Iran starting at the age sixteen.

Greetings to all.

Thanks again for your continued enthusiastic reception of these windows. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, friends, and students (or suggest names to be added to the list). Furthermore, I would be delighted with any suggestions you might have to make the material more useable in the classroom.

Two personal messages: first very special thanks to JoAnn Achelpohl whose effective management of the listserv enables me to keep it going
during the academic year. Second, if you did not get Window number 3 (or any in the sequence so far) it might be because your mail box was full
at the time that the message was sent. Please let me know and you will receive the window you missed. Now, to window number 4.

Current Issues:

* Mr. Ahmadinejad continues to be a media sensation here. While he
personally contributes to that, the exaggerations and inaccuracies
associated with him are quite remarkable. On Tuesday morning,
August 29, NPR 9 o’clock News played a part of what the audience
was to consider part of an Ahmadinejad heated speech in “defiance”
of the UN resolution. Here is what I heard the Iranian President
say in Persian: “They (I assume a general reference to the west)
say they would like to negotiate with us. Let them do so. We have
no problems with that at all!”  NPR needs a Persian speaker.
* CNN does not seem to have access to the Iranian constitution
either. Iranian women and men can vote from the age 16. Iranian
electoral participation in general elections is around 90% which
is very high compared to many other parts of the world. Now,
checkout the following cartoon posted on the CNN web site
(courtesy of Shadi Peterman who forwarded it to me):
http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/analysis/toons/2006/09/01/mikula/index.html

Cultural Social

* Interesting statistics: last week, my historian/sociologist
colleague Behrooz Ghamari (U. of Illinois) wrote “last year alone
more than 2000 titles in philosophy were published in Iran. Out of
these titles, 1321 were translated volumes and 992 written in
Farsi. This is a six fold increase from ten years ago when only
350 books in philosophy were published.”  Behrooz adds he wanted
to send this information to Tom Friedman who wished a while ago
that “Muslims” would also read the works of western philosophers!
* In this part, I have a “Gift” for you. This is the title of a
beautiful short poem by Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) one of the
most influential poets of the twentieth century Iran. I will
devote a special “window on Iran” to her and her achievements in
the future. In the meantime, let me give you this poem now because
the gift she is talking about is a “window” by which I think she
means openings in the walls of our unquestioned perceptions. This
is what inspired me to call these updates “windows” on Iran. I
have attached the poem “Gift” as a word document (\”The Gift\” by Farrokhzad). Enjoy!

Suggested Reading: Bride of Acacias: Selected Poems of Forough
Farrokhzad
. Tr. Jascha Kessler with Amin Banani (New York: Caravan
Books, 1982). I am not aware of new editions, so the best way to get the
book should be borrowing it from major libraries. Kessler/Banani
translations are – for the most part – excellent.

Visual Delights:

* This week I have many visual delights for you. The first is a
brief tour of three historic Persian churches, two in Isfahan and
one in Qazvin.   http://www.farsinet.com/iranchurches/
* And four sets of art exhibits by one of the most renowned
painters in present day Iran Hannibal Alkhas (b.1930). Son of an
acclaimed Assyrian writer Rabi Adi Alkhas, Hannibal and his family
belong to an Iranian Christian community, one of the oldest in the
world: the Assyrians. He studied art and philosophy in Iran and
the U.S. and, after extended periods of living in either country,
returned to Iran where he has been teaching in the department of
fine arts in Azad University since 1992. Hannibal’s exhibits draw
large crowds in Iran and he teaches private classes. I personally
had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Alkhas in my “Introduction to
Islamic Civilization” in 1997 where he showed slides of his works
and spoke about the place of visual arts in Persian culture.
Contemporary Iranian writers form a central theme in the paintings
of Hannibal Alkhas. In June 1999, he devoted the following exhibit
to Nima Youshij, the father of modern Persian Poetry:
http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=26 and a year later one to
Forough Farrokhzad http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=25
Just to see the diversity of Hannibal’s work, visit his 2003
outdoor sculpture exhibit on the theme of birds:
http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=27 and one of his latest
painting exhibits:   http://www.elahe.net/thumb.php?gallery=24

I hope you have enjoyed Window number 4.  Let me end with One More
Suggested Reading on contemporary Iranian history: Iran Between Two
Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian
(Princeton U. Press).

Have a great weekend.

Fatemeh
========================
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatuares
Washington University in St. Louis
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399
========================

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