A Year in Ajam: Revisiting Our Best Articles of 2014

In celebration of the end of 2014 and the beginning of Ajam Media Collective’s fourth year, we offer you a list of the top 10 articles on our site published over the past year.

AJAM2 ColorIn 2014, we covered diverse subjects ranging from morality and consumer culture in contemporary Iran to issues of translatability in classical Persian poetry, provoking a great deal of discussion along the way.

Ajam Media Collective has launched a number of series aimed to expand the ways in which we are able to interact with our readership. Our newest Co-Editor Kamyar Jarahzadeh (aka Yavaran) has curated our Mixtape series, which attempts to break down preconceived notions of culture, territory, and history through sonic form.

We have also inaugurated our Emerging Scholarship series, the brain-child of Co-Editor Behzad Sarmadi, which showcases the research and interests of new voices emerging from academia that focus on the social worlds, histories, and traveling cultures of Central and West Asia.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Beeta Baghoolizadeh has set up our first Instagram account, allowing fans of Ajam to connect with us in new ways. Using the hashtag #ajamistan, users have submitted their photographic works to us, which have become the basis of our newest photo essays.

Ajam’s facebook feed, meanwhile, continues to attract subscribers with a broad range of posts highlighting social, cultural, and artistic trends across the region. Biweekly summaries of those posts can be accessed through our Juma Reading List series, an easily digestible round up of the most interesting posts around the internet.

We continued to expand our definition of Ajamistan this year by covering oral stories about the Afghan ‘King of Pop,’ the politics of cartography in Eastern Anatolia, and the history of urban planning in Yerevan (which was incidentally translated into Spanish, French, and Russian).

Check out this list of our most-read stories of 2014, and stay tuned for another great year ahead:

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

“Tehran Shopping Malls” by Saghar Daeeri 100 x 150 cm Acrylic on canvas, 2008.


2. Making Graffiti an Iranian Art: The Works of Tehran-based Street Artist Ghalamdar

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Ghalamdar’s work in Tehran, Iran


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

A teahouse’s patrons drinking in the ruins where the teahouse used to stand. Photograph by author.


4. Constructing Sacred Space: An Architectural History of Mashhad’s Imam Reza Shrine

A series of tunnels and underground passageways under the Imam Reza Shrine Complex


5. Ajam Mixtape Series Roundup

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Image from our Psychedelic Mixtape


6. Karbala in Istanbul: Scenes from the Ashura Commemorations of Zeynebiye

photo by Şehribanu Turan


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

Looking south across contemporary Yerevan with a mixture of new construction sites and Soviet social housings. Image credit: Hachikyan Alina


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

photo of Ahmad Zahir


9. Emerging Scholarship: Neda Maghbouleh on “The Limits of Whiteness, Iranian-Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race”

photo by Ron Kelley (first published in IRANGELES, 1993; with permission of University of California Press).
photo by Ron Kelley (first published in IRANGELES, 1993; with permission of University of California Press).


10. Rewriting Hafez: Re-theorizing Untranslatability in Persian Poetry

Tilework underneath the dome of the Hafeziyieh (Photo Credit: Aria Fani).
Tilework underneath the dome of the Hafeziyieh (Photo Credit: Aria Fani).

We’re excited to continue Ajamming with you all in 2015. Thanks for all the support, and be sure to keep up with us in the new year!

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