Spring Symposium - Spotlight on Iran

Join us this February at the Indiana Memorial Union for our popular symposium, a one-day “learning oasis.” Each speaker will give a 90-minute presentation on a different facet of the central theme, which this spring focuses on Iran; examining this nation’s history and civilization as well as its current political and economic situation. The symposium also includes continental breakfast, a $10 lunch voucher, and free parking in the IMU parking lot.

About the Course

Join us this February at the Indiana Memorial Union for our popular symposium, a one-day “learning oasis.” The curriculum features highly regarded IU professors. Each speaker will give a 90-minute presentation on a different facet of... See more the central theme, which this spring focuses on Iran; examining this nation’s history and civilization as well as its current political and economic situation. The symposium also includes continental breakfast, a lunch voucher (good for $10 at any dining venue in the IMU), and free parking in the IMU parking lot. Join us for this wonderful day of learning!

8:45 a.m. Doors open

8:45–9:10 a.m. Check-in and continental breakfast

9:10–9:15 a.m. Welcome and brief orientation

9:15–10:45 a.m. Iran’s History and Civilization: A Quick Survey – Jamsheed Choksy, Central Eurasian Studies

10:45–10:55 a.m. Break

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Contemporary Iran: A State of Stalemate - Hussein Banai, International Studies

12:30–1:40 p.m. Lunch at the IMU ~ choose your own venue

1:45–3:15 p.m. Sovereigns, Lovers, and Sages:  Glimpses of the Persian Poetic Tradition - Paul Losensky, Comparative Literature 

Here are summaries of the presentations you will hear:

Iran’s History and Civilization: A Quick Survey

This course traces the history, beliefs, and culture of Iranians from ancient times through the Arab conquest to the twenty-first century. It focuses on politics, administrative and social institutions, religions including Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam (Sunnism, Shi‘ism, and Sufism), and Iranian influences on other cultures. Visual aids will be used. No previous knowledge of Iran is needed.

Presenter: Jamsheed Choksy is distinguished professor and chairperson of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University. He is an authority on Iran (Persia), the Middle East, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam, and of religious minorities in the Middle East and Central Asia. He served on the Council overseeing the National Endowment for the Humanities. Choksy has held fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), NEH, Guggenheim Foundation, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and American Academy of Religion. He has been a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. 

Choksy is a consulting editor for the Encyclopedia Iranica. He is the author of Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, Conflict and Cooperation in Medieval Iranian Society, and Evil, Good, and Gender in Zoroastrian Religious History.

Contemporary Iran: A State of Stalemate

This lecture will provide a general overview of contemporary Iran’s domestic, regional, and international circumstances from a political and economic perspective. In particular, it offers a critical assessment of the domestic and foreign policies of the Islamic Republic forty years after the Iranian Revolution. The lecture will draw on a set of historical, scholarly, and personal reflections to provide a vivid, first-hand account of developments inside and around Iran.

Presenter: Hussein Banai is an assistant professor of international studies at the Hamilton-Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University. He is a research affiliate at the Center for International Studies at MIT, and the co-convener of the Critical Oral History Project on US-Iran Relations. 

He is the co-author of Becoming Enemies: US-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1980–88, and has just completed two forthcoming volumes: The Narrative Trap: US-Iran Relations Since 1979, and Hidden Liberalism: Burdened Visions of Progress in Modern Iran. His research interests lie at the intersection of international relations, political theory, and diplomatic history, with a special interest in topics on diplomacy, democratic theory, and political development.

Sovereigns, Lovers, and Sages:  Glimpses of the Persian Poetic Tradition

To use Farsi to denote the language spoken by Iranians obscures its connection to one of the world’s great literary traditions. For today’s speakers of Persian, the work of the tenth- century epic poet Ferdowsi is more accessible than Shakespeare’s plays to modern speakers of English, and continues to be a marker of national identity. This talk will look briefly at a few landmarks of this thousand-year literary tradition, from the struggle for just rule in The Book of Kings, to the mysticism of love in Rumi, to meditations on the nature of human existence and ethical responsibility.

Presenter:  Paul Losensky.  joined Indiana University in 1994, and since 2000, has held a joint appointment in two departments. In Central Eurasian Studies, he directs the Persian language program, teaches Persian literature, and runs the Persian film series. In Comparative Literature, much of his work focuses on translation. After completing his first book, he embarked on a major translation project, Farid al-Din ‘Attar’s Memorial of God’s Friends, one of the fundamental works of Persian mystical literature from the early thirteenth century. He now regularly teaches a seminar on the history and theory of translation. He continues to translate from Persian into English and am currently preparing translations of the lyric poetry of the Indo-Persian poet Amir Khusraw.

NOTE: No refunds after 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 13.



Course At-A-Glance

Fee:  $0.00
  Includes Continental Breakfast
  Includes IMU Parking
  Includes Lunch Voucher

Course Sections

No Sections for this Course are currently scheduled.