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In Presence of the Secret of Motherland (Iran, “Iranianity” in Persian literature)

Event Recap

October 15, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Reza Farokhfal
Event Sponsor: 
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies and the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts
Picture of book cover

Reza Farokhfal is a published writer in his home country of Iran. His fictional works as well as his works in literary theory and cultural studies have appeared in various literary periodicals and anthologies. His latest book, Of Neda’s Gaze, a collection of essays on Iranian literature and culture was released this year. He has taught Persian Language at McGill University (Canada), University of Wisconsin in Madison, and at Colorado University in Boulder. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book Persian: Here and Now, a course book in two volumes for Farsi (Persian) language which has been adopted by the Stanford University Persian language program amongst other prestigious academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

Reza Farokhfal will talk about his recently published work In Presence of the Secret of Motherland. In this monograph, he has offered a reading of the main trends in classic (canonical) and modern Persian literature demonstrating the deep indigenous roots of “Iranianity”—the Iranian national identity. He argues that “Iranianity” was not invented in the context of the so-called “colonial modernization” of a peripheral country. Rather, Iranian national identity existed as a remembrance in the Persian literary tradition long before the formation of the modern nation-state of Iran in the early twentieth century. In reading the Persian literary texts, Professor Farokhfal has applied a post-structural literary theoretical framework—inspired by Michail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, along with the writings of theorists such as Ernest Renan, Benedict Anderson and Étienne Balibar—to redefine Iran as a nation through history.

Professor Farokhfal has offered a link to download his new book for free order to make it more widely available and avoid censorship by the Iranian government. If you would like a signed copy of his book, you can purchase a copy at sites such as Amazon or Lulu to bring to the talk.

Talk is in Persian/Farsi.

Part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts


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