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.
Never having visited the Republic of Bangladesh, my reflections are probably missing a certain something. Nevertheless I began to ask about the suburb’s unofficial name. “Why is it called Bangladesh?” mimicked a colleague, incredulous. “Because it’s hot, poor, far away, and nobody knows much about it.”
Our latest mixtape by our Digital Resident, Kamyar aka Yavaran. Here he takes us through a sampling of jazz from the 1950s through the present to tell the history of Iran’s relationship with jazz. Track list includes songs from Duke Ellington, Viguen, 127 Band, and others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This piece was originally published on The Tuqay before it became part of Ajam Media Collective. The Cat and the Coup is a documentary videogame created by Peter Brinson and…