Reframing Simin Behbahani: The Persian Poet in a Western Mirror

Writing “nation” on the body of Persian literature participates in the erasure of dynamic and ongoing conversations on genre, form, and style that have shaped the contours of this literary tradition across a vast geography that in the premodern world stretched from Anatolia to the Bay of Bengal. What does it mean to imagine Persian literature as a “national canon” even today?
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The Emergence of ‘Home Shows’: The Market and Politics of Television Entertainment in Iran

Recently, Iranian television production has the proliferation of “home shows” (namâyesh-e khânegui). These series have official government permission to be produced, yet are only allowed to be distributed through DVD sales. How has the “home show” network opened an alternative space of expression within the official media landscape of the Islamic Republic?
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Taziyeh in Motion: The Traveling Culture of Iranian Muharram Theater

What are some of the ways that the Ashura mourning plays of ta’ziyeh get translated when traveling to foreign lands? What elements of the tradition are altered and similarly, what elements are kept in tact? How can a foreign audience negotiate themselves as alternative spectators? Can ta’ziyeh be a site of travel in itself? Exploring possible answers to such questions allows leeway into the ever-evolving global discussion of our complex and entangled modernity.
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Karbala in Istanbul: Scenes from the Ashura Commemorations of Zeynebiye

Ashura is a day of mourning marked by Muslims around the world to commemorate the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, Hossein, and his compatriots. As a day of commemoration, it has been marked by people of all faiths across large swathes of South, Central, and Western Asia for centuries. This photo essay documents presents a look at the ritual in Istanbul’s Zeynebiye neighborhood in 2013, the center of the city’s Shia population.
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