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.
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.
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.
A review of Ajam Media Collective and Cine-Eye’s curated film series, “Rethinking Iranian Cinema: Aesthetics and Counternarratives.”
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
Through Bashu’s attempts to assimilate into a village where his dark skinned features and Khuzestani Arabic denotes his displacement, Beizai’s film prompts criticisms of ethnocentric Persian nationalism and questions the experience of blackness in Iran, while neatly underscoring the tension between nationalism and gender. Continue reading
The Paykan, like many of its drivers, has survived the tumult of revolution, war, reconstruction, and economic crises. The resilience of the Paykan mirrors that of 20th and 21st Century Iran, which can explain why it still endures not only as functional car, but also as a symbol of collective experiences and an object of nostalgia. Continue reading
Ajam MC interviews Patrick Redford of Vice Sports about his participation in the Tour d’Azerbaijan and the theatricality of sports in the young nation-state. Continue reading
Afghan refugees in Turkey are in legal limbo in which their status is unclear. They have the right to reside in the country, but lack the right to work or the kind of state assistance needed to avoid working. To be a refugee in Turkey then requires navigating life between a state-acknowledged realm of illegality, and the uncertainty of how global trends can affect the fate of a refugee population.
The items collected for the Ajam Digital Archive will allow us to document and record history from below—how it was actually lived, experienced, and understood. It is precisely these histories that were ignored in favor of tales that focused exclusively on wars and revolutions, rarely giving us a sense of how life was lived amidst it all. Continue reading
This guest mix from Outtalectuals takes the Ajam mixtape series to new planes, both sonically and geographically. This mix came to fruition as an attempt to use the Ajam platform to show artists who are critically and uniquely engaging with music that is often cordoned off into the “world music” sphere. Instead, Outtalectuals takes these sounds as influences to deeply connect with, rather than cliches to reproduce and slightly modify. Continue reading
These types of documentary ventures, both filmic and photographic, identify a racialized community as their subject, visibly recognizable by their visual characteristics. Despite this clear reliance on race, there is rarely much attention given to the issue of race itself. Instead, most tend to emphasize successful assimilation predicated on nationalist sentiments and champion the diversity of these communities. By ignoring race and its relationship to photography, we overlook crucial elements that have structured similar stories in the past. Continue reading