This tag is associated with 11 posts

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 »

From Syndication to Society: Abdullah Tuqay and Central Asian Literature

The politics of language in the Russian and Soviet domains, focusing on Abdullah Tuqay’s fight to reform the Tatar language and oppose the linguistic imperialism in vogue in the early 20th century. This fight would have lasting implications for cultural production across the region. A guest post from “The Tuqay.” Continue reading »

Ferdowsi’s Legacy: Examining Persian Nationalist Myths of the Shahnameh

A tribute to Ajam Media Collective’s name and inspiration, this post was written by Ajam’s editors, Alex Shams, Rustin Zarkar, and Beeta Baghoolizadeh. Photographs by Preethi Nallu originally published in Al Akhbar English, republished with author permission. Epic literature occupies a key role in formulating and maintaining cohesive national and cultural identities– elucidating the spirit … Continue reading »

Coffeehouse 3.0: Of Spies & Bloggers in Our Midst

  This piece was originally published on The Tuqay before it became part of Ajam Media Collective. picture credit: Molapse -   When farangi find out that I’m a professional blogger working on Central Asia, they usually pause and ask, with all sincerity, “they have the Internet out there?” I’m not trying to make a … Continue reading »

The Word in the Ruins

  This piece was originally published on The Tuqay before it became part of Ajam Media Collective.     “Poetry is the queen of language, the sovereign of the word. […] Language has free will in it and it warms the heart with the roundness and perfection of its form.” So says Abai Qunanbaiuli, perhaps … Continue reading »

The Pamir Has a History

This piece was originally published on The Tuqay before it became part of Ajam Media Collective. A printable version (.pdf) of this article may be found here. Editor’s note: Mr. Steiner’s article and photographs made me think of Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward. The book describes a hospital that was as much a research lab as a … Continue reading »

Persian Poetry in Los Angeles: Nostalgia vs. Adaptation

This essay is based on a talk presented at Stanford University on February 21, 2012 by Majid Naficy. Los Angeles is sometimes called Irangeles, because more than half a million Iranians live there. Most of them have come to this city during or after the 1979 Revolution. They were either beneficiaries of the fallen monarchy … Continue reading »

Afghan Diasporic Literature: A Refugee Narrative from the Heart of Urban Tehran

Part I of a series on Afghan refugees in Iran. Iran is a culturally heterogeneous society that has been shaped by waves of migration over many centuries. While much of the domestic political and academic rhetoric chooses to highlight Iran’s resistance to foreign influence, the invaluable contributions of migrant communities have often been ignored or … Continue reading »

Post-Revolutionary Persian Fiction: Counter Discourses and Individualized Perspectives

Growing up in the diaspora, I have often attended obligatory dinner parties where family friends prove their “Iranianness” through poetry recitation, outdated political debate, and recollections of the good old days — as if to prove that three decades of life abroad has not damaged their natural Iranian sensibilities. Several of these self-declared savants often … Continue reading »

“With time suspended, there is no beginning or end, only endless flight:” A new take on ‘Attar

The Conference of the Birds by the 12th century Sufi poet ‘Attar is hands down my favorite Persian epic poem. ‘Attar’s sweeping tale relates the story of a flock of birds who, under the guidance of the hoopoe, traverse seven valleys in their quest to find the Simurgh, their “true king” who resides on the … Continue reading »