With Nasrin Rahimieh, UC Irvine, and Ali Mirsepassi, NYU
My experience of directing an Iranian studies center in southern California provided me with unique opportunities to work with members of the Iranian American community, cultural associations, and donors. The linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversities of the local Iranian community bode well for exploring the different facets of Iranian culture in a university setting. But the promise and potential were at times weighed down by an impulse to contain and/or disavow Islam as a constitutive part of Iranian cultural legacy and by other effects of diaspora. In my presentation I will explore the ramifications of tensions that at times risked derailing the mission of an academic center devoted to the study of Iran. Understanding the anxieties manifested at the intersection of the academy and the community could pave the way for more robust engagements with ideas of Iran in the US academy today.
This event is cosponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life; the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies; the Persian Heritage Foundation; the Middle East Institute; and the Iranian Studies Initiative at NYU.