New York University has established the Iranian Studies Initiative (ISI-NYU) to provide an intellectual and academic home for the study of a region whose influence stretches from the ancient period to today’s global stage.
“The academic study of Iran has a long and rich history, encompassing scholarly research on ancient and medieval history and literature, comparative civilizations, and the cultural encounters across time and geographies,” said Ali Mirsepassi, director of ISI and a professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. “At the same time, contemporary Iran also offers fascinating theoretical opportunities for scholars of the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts examining social movements, modernity, democratization, and the blending of cultures.”
ISI will provide a scholarly home for existing NYU faculty members and graduate students to undertake the study of Iranian history, culture, and society and to engage in collaborative discussions. Recognizing the vibrant and important community of Iranian scholars, intellectuals, and artists in the New York City area, ISI will also organize a lecture series and other public events, from art exhibitions to film screenings.
In addition, ISI plans to create translations of works written in Persian that have not been available to an English-speaking audience. In translating and publishing Persian texts produced in a wide variety of disciplines, ISI will contribute to the formation of a multi-faceted image of Iran’s contemporary literary and scholarly production.
ISI is supported by NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, drawing from faculty in departments and centers across the university, including: Peter Chelkowski, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies; Farhad Kazemi, Wilf Family Department of Politics; Arang Keshavarzian, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies; Mehdi Khorrami, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies; and Shouleh Vatanabadi, Global Liberal Studies program.
Mirsepassi, whose Democracy in Iran: Islam and Social Change (NYU Press, 2010) analyzes the current reform movement and the struggle for democracy, left Iran in 1980 for the United States. Since his arrival in America, Mirsepassi has been involved in democratic and human rights movements in his native country and devoted much of his scholarship to the analysis of democracy. His Intellectual Discourse and the Politics of Modernization (Cambridge, 2000) is a study of the history of Iranian intellectuals and their attempt to reconcile the Iranian cultural context with contemporary western modernity.
For more about ISI, click here.