Special Seminar in Memoriam - Simin Behbahani, a prominent poet and modernizing voice in Persian literature


Dear Iranian Studies Seminar Members and Guests,
Special Seminar in Memoriam 
Simin Behbahani,
a prominent poet and modernizing voice in Persian literature,
will take place on:

Friday, September 19, 2014
 5:30-7:30pm in the
Faculty House of Columbia University

Our main speaker will be
Prof. Farzaneh Milani
Raymond J. Nelson Professor of Middle Eastern and
South Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Virginia at Charlottesville
who will lead the seminar on the topic of:

Nightingale’s Fever: The Life and Poetry of Simin Behbahani

Followed by discussions and recitation of a few of Simin Behbani's poems

We will gather in the lounge of Faculty House from 5:00-5:30.
Seminar will start at 5:30.

Please notify our rapporteur, Zainab A. Azarbadegan at: <zaa2117@columbia.edu>
if you will attend the lecture. (There will be no dinner for this event,
but refreshment will be available.)

We are looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you at the seminar.
Co-Chairs: Vahid Nowshirvani and Ahmad Ashraf

To reach the Faculty House:
Enter the Wien Hall Gate on 116th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and
Morningside Drive. Walk past Wien Hall, then turn right to the Faculty House.


For over seven decades, Simin Behbahani, an outspoken voice of elegance, beauty, and dissent continued to sing regardless of consequences—and there were many. Avoiding party politics since the beginning of her career, Behbahani showed deep concern for social justice, human rights, and democracy. In a country where poetry is the national scripture, she played a transformational literary and social role. Even when her voluminous body of work—nineteen collections of poetry, two memoirs, two collections of short stories and numerous literary articles, essays, and interviews—bleeds with sorrow and grief, the magical spell of her audacious hope lifts the heart, consoles the soul, and promises better days. It is the object of this presentation to study the life and work of this icon.



Farzaneh Milani is Raymond J. Nelson Professor and Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures and former Director of Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers (Syracuse University Press, 1991); A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Behbahani, with Kaveh Safa (Syracuse University Press, 1996), winner of Lois Roth Literary Award in Translation; and Words, not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement (Syracuse University Press, 2011) co-winner of Latifeh Yarshater Book Award. She has published over one hundred articles, epilogues, forewords, and afterwords in both Persian and English. She has served as the guest editor for special issues of Nimeye-Digar, Persian Language Feminist Journal, IranNameh and Iranian Studies: Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, and contributed to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She has presented more than 220 lectures nationally and internationally. A past president of the Association of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies in America, Milani was nominated for Virginia Faculty of the Year in 1999. She was a Carnegie Scholar, 2006-2007 and “Iranian Woman of the Year” in 2012.