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

Ahmad Zahir, the major Afghan pop singer of the 1970s, died mysteriously in 1979, a year of upheaval and turmoil in Afghanistan’s political history. Since then, many Afghans, in diaspora and in Afghanistan, maintain a special relationship with Ahmad Zahir and his music. This article explores the memory of one family in using Ahmad Zahir as a way to connect to their homeland.
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Whose Anatolia? Mapping Complexities and Shared Histories Between Kurds, Armenians, and Turks

There are mountains and there are roads. From an airplane, Eastern Anatolia looks like Frankenstein’s monster as the craggy mountains of the Zargos, Tarsus, and Caucasus ranges collide with geologic logic, sutured together by some of the finest roadways in the world. The modern republics facing this jagged jumble are as powerful as that monster, but perhaps also as hollow.
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Auctioning History: Ancient Artefacts, Greco-Persian Labels and Mediterranean Identities Beyond ‘East’ and ‘West’

Perceptions of historical identities and present identities have always gone hand-in-hand on the basis of heritage and descent. Artefacts that remain from these histories are not only remnants of past events and peoples, but also raw materials for potentially new projects of nation-building and identity formation, depending on how they are interpreted.
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Marriage Contracts and the Mashhadi Jewish Community: Art as a Second Identity in the Nineteenth Century

During the 19th century, Mashhadi Jews cloaked their identities and lived their public lives as Muslims. As a result, major documents, such as marriage contracts, mimicked their Muslim counterparts. The language, art, and general presentation of the texts serve as clues towards better understanding the precarious position of the Mashhadi Jewish community, as well the preferred aesthetics of the period.
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Reconstructing a Persian Past: Contemporary Uses and Misuses of the Cyrus Cylinder in Iranian Nationalist Discourse

Although the Cyrus Cylinder is over 2,500 years old, much of the discourse surrounding its function has emerged only in the past century. While nationalists believe the cylinder to be a symbol of human rights and religious freedom, academics agree that it was a political inscription common for its milieu.
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Re-imagining Eurasia with Slavs and Tatars: Critical Practices of Geography and Museum Exhibition

Slavs and Tatars’ work introduces audiences to cultural exchanges between seemingly unlikely places, reminding us of the interconnected nature of culture and highlighting histories obscured by the rigid workings of modern geopolitics. In a world full of heavy-handed visual depictions of political and social issues that rely on simplistic, reductionist constructions of culture, Slavs and Tatars offers work rooted in a nuance and more subtle understanding of history.
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