Fall 2016 SEMINARS - November 9 2016

Seminar on Iranian Studies

The third meeting of the 29th consecutive year of Columbia University Seminar on
Iranian Studies for the academic year 2016-2017 will take place on:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
at 5:30 pm in the
Faculty House of Columbia University
Our speaker will be

Prof. Ali Mirsepassi of NYU
Who will lead the discussion on:
Ahmad Fardid: Philosopher or Magician?
with a movie on his life, ideas and influence.

We will gather in the lounge of Faculty House from 5:00-5:30. 
Seminar will start at 5:30.
Please notify us at: aa398@columbia.edu if you will attend the lecture. (Please also specify if you will stay for dinner. The price of dinner will be $30, payable by check only.)

We are looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you at the seminar.
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.


A Documentary Film by:
Ali Mirsepassi, Hamed Yousefi

This documentary explores the life and thought of the Iranian “anti-Western” philosopher, Ahmad Fardid (1910-94). Fardid, known as the Iranian Heidegger, coined the concept of Gharbzadegi (“Westoxification”), a neologism that became instrumental in critiquing the experience of Iranian modernity as culturally “debased” and spiritually “dehumanizing.” Fardid offered the notion of Maʿnaviyat-e Sharghi (Eastern Spirituality) as the authentic source through which the secular and materialist experience of modern Iran could be transcended, giving way to a genuine mode of “being in the world.”

This film chronicles the life of a “restless” philosopher and his mission to launch a militant assault on a perceived “Westoxicated” Iran.  To this end, Fardid constructed a “mystical” and “spiritual” political philosophy – strongly suggestive of his principle influence, German philosopher Martin Heidegger – rooting national identity firmly in the Iranian/Islamic tradition. In post-revolutionary Iran, Fardid became the self-proclaimed philosophical spokesperson for the Islamic Republic.

Ali Mirsepassi bases this documentary on a book project on the life and thought of Ahmad Fardid. The film features extensive interviews with Fardid’s former colleagues, associates, students, as well as scholars of modern Iran, and uses rare and previously inaccessible materials, including footage of Fardid’s debates featured on Iranian television.

Bio Notice:

Ali Mirsepassi is a professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies and Sociology at New York University. He is the co-editor (with Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London), of The Global Middle East, a book series published by the Cambridge University Press. He was a 2007-2009 Carnegie Scholar and is the recipient of several national and international awards, including a 2001 Best Researcher of the Year Award, a teaching award from Tehran University, and an Award for Outstanding Service from the Institute for International Education Scholar Rescue Fund in 2014. Mirsepassi is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

He is the author of Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, Fall 2016), Islam, Democracy, and Cosmopolitanism, with Tadd Fernee (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Political Islam, Iran and Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Democracy in Modern Iran (New York University Press, 2010), Intellectual Discourses and Politics of Modernization: Negotiating Modernity in Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and Truth or Democracy (published in Iran); coeditor of Localizing Knowledge in a Globalizing World (Syracuse University Press, 2002). He also produced, in 2015, a documentary film based on his forthcoming book about Ahmad Fardid, who is best known as the Iranian Heidegger.