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Ajam Media Collective

Ajam Media Collective has written 54 posts for Ajam Media Collective

Ajam’s Juma Reading List #1

Ajam’s Juma Reading Lists are a weekly feature that compile the top articles, photographs, and music videos from our social media pages and collect them into one easy and accessible link round-up for you to enjoy over the weekend. The term “Juma” is an originally Arabic word for “Friday” that comes from a root meaning … Continue reading »

The King Hasn’t Left The Building: An Oral History of an Afghan Musical Icon, Ahmad Zahir

Ahmad Zahir, the major Afghan pop singer of the 1970s, died mysteriously in 1979, a year of upheaval and turmoil in Afghanistan’s political history. Since then, many Afghans, in diaspora and in Afghanistan, maintain a special relationship with Ahmad Zahir and his music. This article explores the memory of one family in using Ahmad Zahir as a way to connect to their homeland. Continue reading »

Becoming a Post-Soviet City: Social Housing and Urban Planning in Yerevan

Since gaining independence, Yerevan has been subjected to a complex process of postcolonial nation-building while simultaneously adopting globalized urbanization trends. Similar to many other gentrifying cities, demolition and displacement are becoming more and more a common practice. New multinational construction projects are presented and justified as acts of nation-building while the low income majority is expected by the emerging elite to make sacrifices for the benefit of the nation as a whole. Continue reading »

On Literature and Worldliness: A Conversation with Mahmoud Dowlatabadi

What does it truly mean to be worldly, and yet rooted in the geographical, historical, and cultural circumstances that mandate artistic expression? A conversation with one of the masters of modern Persian literature, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi. Continue reading »

A Fashionable Revolution: Veiling, Morality, and Consumer Culture in Iran

The everyday practice of the mandatory veil has indeed been noticeably shifting ever since the first generation of women who were born after the 1979 Revolution came of age in the mid-1990’s. This kind of fascination with Iranian women and their sense of dress, however, obscures the complexities surrounding how Iranian women actually practice the mandatory veil. These articles produce simplistic generalizations by treating women’s bodily surfaces as a measure of societal progress and morality; romanticizing the notion of resistance; and eliding the significance of class and consumer culture in everyday urban life. Continue reading »

Accelerating Beyond “Iran”? An Interview with Mohammad Salemy on Telecomputation, Digital Production, and Diaspora

While the theoretical problem of the local and global has been long exhausted by the globalization of Iranian cultural capital, the radical treatment of this binary in Mohammad Salemy’s curatorial practice through his engagement with Reza Negarestani’s brand of universal and rationalist philosophy is reenergizing the debate about the complex symmetry of the binary’s components. Continue reading »

Iran Modern? Sure, What About It?: A Conversation about the Curation and Preservation of Memory, Modernity and Nationalism

Curating Iranian art, an indistinguishable discourse from the overall knowledge production about target societies, becomes an occasion to debate the ramifications of global/local binary anew as a form of philosophical concern as an existentially entangled with geopolitical history and aesthetic heritage. Can a diasporic conceptualization of local existence be salvaged through its global pursuit of truth without having to resort to ready-made methodological channels of identity, culture, and history? Continue reading »

Inclusion and Representation in Comic Books: A Pakistani-American Teenage Hero

Ms. Marvel’s latest comic featuring Kamala Khan raises important questions about issues of identity among second generation Pakistani-Americans. Values, tradition, and skin color are all relevant topics of discussion in the comic, which presents its hero as utterly normal and American. This article analyzes the importance of representation for Pakistani-Americans, whose presence and history has thus far been largely excluded from the American narrative. Continue reading »

A Year in Ajam: Revisiting Our Best Articles of 2013

In 2013, we covered a wide variety of topics ranging from gender and sexuality politics in contemporary Iranian cinema to the attractions of Zionism to Iran’s pre-revolutionary elites, provoking a great deal of controversy along the way. Check out our ten most-viewed articles from 2013.
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Constructing Sacred Space: An Architectural History of Mashhad’s Imam Reza Shrine

Like the city itself, the Imam Reza shrine complex grew gradually over time as political elites tried to establish their legitimacy. Rulers strove not only to appease the local religious establishment by funding elaborate building projects around the site, but also hoped to create physical testaments to their political authority. Due to the inherent political nature of these structures, the site was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt as it changed hands from dynasty to dynasty. Continue reading »