This tag is associated with 25 posts

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 »

Ajam Mixtape #3: Sounds of Nowruz

The Ajam Family would like to wish you all a very happy Nowruz and spring season. Enjoy this podcast, which collects the sounds of festivities from the different parts of the world that celebrate this joyous day. 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 »

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 »

Ajam Mixtape #2: Psychedelic Sounds from Iran and Beyond

This mix attempts to break away from looking at psychedelic rock as a Manichean battlefield between “eastern” and “western” sounds and instead, showcases how this genre allowed Iranian artists to engage in musical conversations with Western music, local sounds, and the sounds of neighboring countries. Thus, psychadelic music, which itself emerged from the interactions between young Western artists and Indian Classical Music, served as a platform for Iranian artists to inventively experiment as well. Continue reading »

Ajam Mixtape #1: Iranian Contemporary Music in a Global Context

This first podcast in our series is a look at Iranian contemporary music in a global context. The music in this mix not only crosses between the genres of hip-hop, rock, and electronic, but also crosses geographic borders. This mix features not only Iranian artists in Iran and in the diaspora, but also a number of non-Iranian acts with whom their music is in conversation. Continue reading »

Whose Anatolia? Mapping Complexities and Shared Histories Between Kurds, Armenians, and Turks

There are mountains and there are roads. From an airplane, Eastern Anatolia looks like Frankenstein’s monster as the craggy mountains of the Zargos, Tarsus, and Caucasus ranges collide with geologic logic, sutured together by some of the finest roadways in the world. The modern republics facing this jagged jumble are as powerful as that monster, but perhaps also as hollow. 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.
Continue reading »

15 Ways Sanctions Hurt Ordinary Iranians

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been placed under increasingly harsh rounds of sanctions by the US, the European Union, and the United Nations. The latest and strongest round of these sanctions were enacted during the early years of the Obama administration, and have made life increasingly difficult for average Iranians. Despite the significant effects that sanctions have had on all aspects of the lives of Iranian people, it can be hard at times to appreciate their impact in everyday terms. We’ve compiled a list of 15 photographs to help illustrate these impacts.

Continue reading »

Baku-born, Diaspora-bred: How Yura Movsisyan went from Refugee to 21st-century Armenian Hero

Yura Movsisyan came to the United States as a refugee from violence in his formerly-cosmopolitan, formerly Soviet, hometown of Baku. Now one of the best young soccer players in the world, he has become a national treasure for Armenians and for Americans. As a Hometown Hero for a worldwide diaspora community, Movsisyan has become a unique young man who is the symbol of a new 21st century Armenianness. Continue reading »