A Year in Ajam: Revisiting Our Best Articles from 2016

2016 marked Ajam’s fifth anniversary, and what a year. Ajam kept up with photo essays, articles, talks, and even a new project! To 2017, we say bring it. We’re ready for you.

2016 marked the first year we took Ajam offline with talks about our work in New York, Boston, and St. Petersburg. Ajam also teamed up with Cine-Eye and co-curated a film series at NYU, challenging how we conceptualize Iranian Cinema, particularly in the international film circuit. In 2017, we’re planning more events. Let us know if you want to host an Ajam event in your part of town.

Co-editor-in-chief Rustin Zarkar launched Mehelle, our new project that preserves changing urban landscapes through 360 degree video footage, accompanied with interviews and photographs. For its first installation, Mehelle worked with local photographers, filmographers and journalists in Baku to bring you a recently demolished Sovietski. Throughout the coming year, we will be bringing the project to three cities: Yerevan, Tbilisi, and Dushanbe. Be sure to play in a browser that supports 360 degree videography.


Co-editor-in-chief Beeta Baghoolizadeh received a grant to continue building the Ajam Digital Archive site and content. Dr. Narges Bajoghli wrote an article contextualizing the Archive materials from the Iran-Iraq War, which made our top 10 articles of 2016! We will be continuing this series with more scholars in 2017. If you would like to be involved, get in touch.

Migrations and forced migrations were a big theme this year, and our editor Kamyar Jarahzadeh brought us a migration mixtape series that will continue into 2017, plus some even more exciting news on Ajam’s musical front.

We’re growing on social media! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and InstagramAjam’s Instagram highlight of 2016? Iranian diaspora Thanksgiving, of course.

When your ideal Thanksgiving has substituted green bean casserole with some grade A ghorme sabzi

A photo posted by Ajam Media Collective (@ajammediacollective) on



Without further ado, our top ten articles and photo essays from 2016!


1. Zoroastrian Nowruz in Tehran: Celebrating the “Big Five”

Written by Behrad Nafissi Mistry and translated by Beeta Baghoolizadeh


2. Translating Game of Thrones into Turkish: The Man who Brought Jon Snow to Turkey


Written by Asher Kohn



3. ‘Where There is No Architect’: Histories from the Native Town of Bombay


Written by Sarover Zaidi


4. See You In Tehran: Tips for the Summer Traveler in Iran’s Capital


Written by Sogand F. A. Afkari



5. The Tourist’s Guide to Tehrangeles: Exploring the Capital of the Iranian Diaspora


Written by Alex Shams



6. The Bard of the Caucasus: Armenian, Azeri, and Georgian Legacies of Sayat Nova


Written by Kamyar Jarahzadeh



7. Towards an Archive of the Basij: Memories from Iran’s Volunteer Militia


Written by Narges Bajioghli for the Ajam Digital Archive



8. Syriac Churches and Sephardic Synagogues: The Urban Legacy of Indian Ocean Cosmopolitanism in Kerala


Written by Alex Shams



9. Persian Rugs and the Aesthetics of Whiteness in Apartheid-Era South Africa


Written by Jonathan Paul Katz



10. Fighting Other People’s Wars: Afghan Soldiers on the Syrian Battlefield


Written by Anna Reumert


We’re excited to continue Ajamming with you all in 2017. Thanks for all the support, and be sure to keep up with us in the new year!

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