Ajam Media Collective recently worked with THE STATE, a Dubai-based publishing practice, to make a ‘zine. We provided the words and art while they provided the design to make a wonderful collaborative document. We are also publishing the work on our site, beginning with this introduction.
Just south of Jaffa is the shrine of Nabi Reuben, once the site of a boisterous Palestinian religious festival that combined the Christian and Muslim, the spiritual and the profane. Today, the shrine sits amid the sand dunes, a reminder of a pre-Zionist cosmopolitanism forcibly uprooted from the land.
As UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran act as a celebration of the past, but not an examination of it. One may ask: where are the Armenians who lived here, if only their buildings remain? As landmarks are indoctrinated into the cult of heritage, we are able to consecrate something that speaks to cosmopolitanism without actually having to live it, or ask the question why the past no longer resembles the present.
The preservation and restoration of religious buildings become implicated in complex and polemical questions of Georgian nationhood, citizenship, identity, and belonging. The production of a neoliberal notion of cosmopolitanism based on tolerance and celebration of different ethno-religious groups within national borders, enshrined in the preservation of religious buildings, is part and parcel of this re-branding campaign. The presentation of a public space that celebrates diversity does not however necessarily translate to lived reality where difference just is.
Carpet manufacturing during the Qajar period was dominated by the establishment of multinational corporations who invested heavily in the production of Persian carpets. The management method used by these companies inside developing countries was based on exploitation. These companies encouraged the carpet manufactures to weave inexpensive carpets of low quality and cheap coloration due to the use of chemically-unstable ink colors, which were suitable for European and American markets. These corporations encouraged economic profitability over quality.
مترجم: ج.س For the English version of this article, “This Place Should Have Been Iran”: Iranian Imaginings in/of Dubai, click here. گاهی یک جمله در گفتگویی میتواند تاثیری پایدار در ذهن بگذارد.…
Ajam’s latest podcast, this time featuring shared songs across from Southwest Asia. With samplings from Persian, Greek, Turkish, Arab and other language groups, this mixtape emphasizes the kinds of oft-forgotten transnational connections that exist in music.
Ajam’s first podcast features Dr. Neda Maghbouleh, author of The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian-Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race. Her research examines the production of racial categories and identities through macro-level policy and micro-level interaction, with a special emphasis on Iranians and other “liminal whites” in North America.
Turkey may be perceived, both by outside observers and by Turks, to be an authoritarian democracy fueled by a construction boom. This is not entirely unfair, but this particular city of 116,000 on the Dardanelles is either the exception that proves the rule or a new way forward, as its citizens struggle and more often than not succeed to keep their city unique.
In the 1980s, new Iranian musicians in the United States joined communities of other diaspora performers from Greece, Armenia, and the Arab World. In cities like New York and Los Angeles, these communities not only lived side-by-side but built upon the shared foundations between their cultures. Just as Middle Eastern markets in Los Angeles typically have bargain bins of CDs and tapes with music from across the region, instrumentalists from different countries often performed alongside each other.