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Persian Poetry: Text, Space, and Image (ARTHIST 206A, ARTHIST 406A, COMPLIT 126)

Featuring several sessions led by distinguished artist Ala Ebtekar, this course traces the nexus of word and image across a millennium of Persian poetry. Our aim is to look at how texts have been represented through images and enacted in public performances, from the tenth century to the present. Topics will range from high to popular culture and include the visual representation of narrative in illuminated manuscripts, the function of calligraphy on sacred and profane buildings, the performance of poetry in mediaeval courts, the use of images in dramatic tellings of the national epic, and the practice of divination by books. What kinds of space are created in these different instances of text and image coming together? What does it mean for our understanding - and experience - of history if verses from the 13th or 14th century are inscribed on the interior of taxi cabs that navigate through the contemporary Iranian city? And how does an ancient text come alive in a performance that seeks to recreate the space of its origin? These are some of the questions that will be explored through an examination of primary sources (both texts and images) as well as theoretical analyses.
Letter or Credit/No Credit
Academic Career
Course Tags
Minor Elective
Academic Year