A Year in Ajam: Revisiting Our Best Articles of 2015

Ajam retouchedAs Ajam Media Collective celebrates its fourth anniversary and the start of 2016, we wanted to review our successes and our 10 best articles of 2015.

In 2015, Ajam expanded its into new territories and mediums, helping us build on our community more than ever before.

Editor Asher Kohn and correspondent Mishana Garschi organized our first ever Ajam Book Club, a two month series with Sohail Daulatzai on his book Black Star, Crescent Moon: the Muslim International and Black Freedom Beyond America. We had book clubbers from thirteen countries and six continents join us for some intelligent conversation on race, religion, and transnational connections through music and politics.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Beeta Baghoolizadeh launched the Ajam Digital Archive of Twentieth Century Persianate Life, and we welcomed our newest staff members–Shyan Kashani, Alexandra Millatmal, Samira Damavandi, and Laila Riazi–to the Ajam family. You can be a part of the Digital Archive too–click here to submit visual or audio media, or email us at archive@ajammc.com to contribute in another way.

Throughout 2015, we have worked to expand our two audio series: Ajam Mixtapes and the Emerging Scholarship Podcasts. In addition to our usual mixtapes curated by our editor Kamyar Jarahzadeh, Baxtak from the Outtalectuals Collective joined us to curate our first guest mixtape called “Future Sounds.” Best part? You can stream or download the mixtape.

Our social media game is going strong. We hit 10,000 followers on our active facebook page, which has proven to be the best roundup of posts on anything Ajam-related. Make sure to follow us if you haven’t yet! Check out our twitter for witty tweets and retweets, and submit your photos to our instagram by tagging them with #ajamistan.

In addition to all this, we kept up with the good stuff and brought you diverse articles and interviews that covered everything from political slogans in Turkey to Iranian paramilitary media and even Uzbek national monuments.

We have big dreams for 2016: more articles, more photo essays, more podcasts. But we’re thinking even bigger than that–we’ll kick off some Ajam events, collaborate with like-minded organizations, and maybe even go into print. We’re still brainstorming, so get in touch if you want to be involved in the conversation!

Check out this list of our most-read stories of 2015, and stay tuned for another great year ahead:

1. Abadan: Oil City Dreams and the Nostalgia for Past Futures in Iran

Almost picture-perfect Abadan.
The series is authored by Rasmus Christian Elling, an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen where he teaches the sociology and modern history of Iran as well as urban theory. Check out Part II: “When Iran’s Abadan was Capital of the World” and Part III: “Unfulfilled Promises of Oil, Modernity, and Revolution”.

2. Rumi for the New-Age Soul: Coleman Barks and the Problems of Popular Translations

The article is by guest contributor, Kat Thornton. Kat is a masters candidate in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at NYU.


3. Divided by a Common Tongue: Exclusionary Politics of Persian-Language Pedagogy

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 4.49.37 PM
Written by guest contributor Aria Fani. A native of Shiraz, Fani studies towards a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies at the University of California in Berkeley.


4. Parsi Mumbai: The Legacy of Zoroastrianism in India’s Urban Fabric

Written by Ajam Co-Editor-in-Chief Alex Shams.


5. Another Birth, Other Words: Queering the Poetry of Forough Farrokhzad in Translation

Written by guest contributor Nazila Ghavami Kivi, an editor of Danish queer feminist magazine Friktion, where the piece was originally published in Danish.


6. Urban Space and the Production of Gender in Modern Iran

Line 1 by Niyaz Azadikhah (2010)
Wrriten by Alex Shams. Image Credit: Line 1 by Niyaz Azadikhah (2010).


7. Ajam Mixtape #9: Persian Poetry in Contemporary Music

Mix and article by Ajam co-Editor Kamyar Jarahzadeh.


8. Picturing the Other: Race and Afro-Iranians in Documentary Photography

Image from www.mahdi-ehsaei.com, Photograph by Mahdi Ehsaei
Written by Ajam co-Editor-in-Chief Beeta Baghoolizadeh. Image from www.mahdi-ehsaei.com, Photograph by Mahdi Ehsaei.


9. Emerging Scholarship: Lior Sternfeld on Polish Refugees in Mid-Century Iran

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Lior Sternfield is an Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University in the Department of History and the program of Jewish Studies. He is a social historian working primarily on Iran and the Iranian Jewish communities.


10. Emerging Scholarship: Christine Baker on Historical Understandings of Sect and Sectarianism in Islam

Christine Baker is an Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern History at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on Islamic history, specifically the history of sectarian development in Islam.


We’re excited to continue Ajamming with you all in 2016. Thanks for all the support, and be sure to keep up with us in the new year!

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