If Sayat Nova wrote hundreds of songs in Armenian, Azeri, and Georgian, then why are the cross-cultural celebrations of Sayat Nova so few and far between? Gaps in the historical record and contemporary political environment make a pancultural perspective of the legendary bard of the Caucasus more difficult.
Ahmad Muxtar’s Red Frame not only documents Baku’s rapid urban transformation, but also explores the ways our perceptions of urban space are framed by social, political, and economic forces.
The presence of Afghan refugees in Iran as mercenary troops for Assad’s counterinsurgency complicates present understandings of the foreign fighter, often affiliated with the catch-all figure of the jihadi. (Photo Credit: Mujtaba Jalali)
With more and more tourists visiting Iran every day, Ajam and See You In Iran have teamed up to bring you a travel series to Iran’s diverse cities. This first installation focuses on the vibrant urban life of Tehran, Iran’s largest city and capital.
Using materials from the Ajam Digital Archive, Narges Bajoghli recounts the experiences of Iran-Iraq War veterans who spent endless days during their youth fighting in close combat in dark and bloody trenches.
Perhaps the most widely known among these is the ceremonial spread called the Khan-e Nowruz or the Haft Chin. It features a variety of objects that symbolize key figures and values of Zoroastrian cosmology. The arrangement of this spread — or most of its elements — has historically emerged as a cultural practice shared among numerous peoples across West Asia, the Caucasus, and India. Continue reading
Turkey’s Game of Thrones mania is due to one college student. He goes by the Twitter handle of @esekherif_. Continue reading
The Hrant Drink Foundation had undertaken the massive assignment of mapping hundreds of properties owned by the Armenian, Jewish, Greek and Syriac/Assyrian communities before the Genocide. Continue reading
In the first installment of our ongoing collaboration with Ottoman History Podcast, Chris Gratien talks to Saghar Sadeghian about the role of Non-Muslims in the Iranian Constitutional Movement. Continue reading
Celebrated from Eastern Anatolia to the western parts of China, diverse communities claim Nowruz as their own New Year’s holiday. While many recognize that Nowruz, which coincides with the Spring Equinox, has roots in Zoroastrianism, very few know how Zoroastrians celebrate this holiday in parts of Iran today. Continue reading
In the southern Indian port city of Kochi, millennia of merchant cosmopolitanism have contributed to the growth of a diverse and syncretic culture that combines faiths, practices, and forms from across the Indian Ocean rim. The history of Syriac Christianity and Sephardic Judaism in the region offer a unique perspective on Kerala’s historic relationship with the Middle East. Continue reading
A review of Ajam Media Collective and Cine-Eye’s curated film series, “Rethinking Iranian Cinema: Aesthetics and Counternarratives.” Continue reading
It is a fascinating accident of history that “Persian carpets” became a part, albeit a small one, of South African whiteness. Continue reading
In another installment of the Emerging Scholarship series, Mikiya Koyagi talks about the construction of the Trans-Iranian Railroad and how it transformed conceptions of Iranian society. Continue reading
The fact that Iranians talk about brain drain as if it was a uniquely huge Iranian problem suggests that brain drain is a proxy for their anxieties about the state of the country, rather than actual empirical evaluation of the country’s migration. (Image Credit: Alireza Darvish) Continue reading
A photo essay depicting Muharram observances and preparation across Iran in October of 2015. During the Islamic month of Muharram, Muslims of all backgrounds participate in a series of rituals observing the martyrdom of Husayn ibn ‘Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, and his companions at the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D. Continue reading
Ajam co-editor-in-chief Alex Shams interviews Shahana Rajani and Zahra Malkani about their new edited volume “Exhausted Geographies,” which explores representations of the urban space of Karachi, Pakistan through mapping. Continue reading
In the wake of the Ankara bombings, we investigate language of solidarity and liberty during protest movements. Continue reading
The Iranian national canon, whatever it means to different people, is primarily studied as a continuation of the “Persian literary canon” while Afghan and Tajik literatures are treated as a divergence, and consequently lose the Persian qualifier. Persian literary production outside of Iran is essentially treated as an exotic object in an uncharted terrain. Continue reading
In another installment of the Emerging Scholarship series, Narges Bajoghli talks about Paramilitary Media during and after the Iran-Iraq War. Bajoghli explains the rise of war veteran filmmakers who have produced alternative narratives about the eight-year conflict in order to better communicate the “truth of war” to a younger generation of Iranians. Continue reading