List of Persian/Iranian Events for 2008-07-15

    The Rise of the Persian Renaissance

    Europe - UK Tuesday - July 15, 2008     01:12 AM

    The Rise of the Persian Renaissance
    Conference - Introduction
    14-15 July 2008
    Wadham College, Oxford

    A conference that will try to explore the reasons and give evidences of the "sudden revival" of the Iranian literary culture after "two centuries of silence" caused by the Arab invasion in the 7th century

    Organised by
    Faculty of Oriental Studies, Wadham College, University of Oxford, Faculty of Arts, University of Leiden, the British Academy, the Soudavar Memorial Fund, and the Iran Heritage Foundation

    Convened by
    Dr. Firuza Abdullaeva (University of Oxford)
    Dr. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (University of Leiden)

    The conference under the title "The Rise of the Persian Renaissance" is a part of a joint programme between three European universities of Leiden, Cambridge and Oxford on the history of Persian literature and culture. The programme was discussed and developed at the inaugural meeting of the European League of Non-Western Studies (ELNWS), which was established in Leiden in July 2006. The first conference of this programme "Traditions in Persian Linguistics and Literature", scheduled for five years (2007-2011) was successfully organized jointly by the Leiden and Oxford Universities in Leiden in July 2007.

    The main aim of the two day conference is to investigate the phenomenon of the "sudden" revival of Persian culture in the 9-10th centuries after a chronological gap of two centuries. This period in the scholarly literature dedicated to the Iranian studies is usually called "two centuries of silence" due to the lack of almost any evidences of written monuments between the Arab invasion in Sasanian Iran in 7th century A.D. and the earliest surviving literary examples in the New Persian language of the period of the Samanid dynasty (819-999) with their capital in Bukhara.

    Historically Central Asian Transoxania, being for many centuries before Islam a melting pot of many cultures from Buddhism to Hellenism, by the 9-10th centuries found itself on the periphery of the Arab Caliphate, more independent from the Islamic centre and more productive in creating their own state, based on the pre-Arab traditions, than any other parts of the Islamisized Iran.

    The scholars, whose expertise focus on different fields of Iranian studies: philology (both linguistics and literature), history, art, archaeology, religion, socio-anthropology, and folklore will attempt to explore the preconditions and the main trends of the rise of the Persian cultural revival from different angles and in different aspects of scholarship: why and how the glorious Golden Age of Persian literature and culture, which lasted for not less that six centuries started in the historical Mawarannahr (Transoxiana).

    This will allow to discuss a rather representative period of the development of the Iranian culture from pre-Islamic Iran to the times of Rudaki (9-10 cc.) - the most famous poet of the court of the Samanid dynasty, and the poetic circle at the court of Sultan Mahmud in Ghazna (10-11 cc.), modern Afghanistan.

    This will be the first attempt of scholars whose interests have been divided by this chronological and cultural border of two silent centuries into two separated worlds of Iranian studies - Ancient and pre-Modern: pre-Islamic and Islamic ones - to combine their knowledge in explanation of the Persian Renaissance phenomenon from both sides of this border.

    The main idea of all the papers, is to show the continuity of the Iranian cultural tradition through several transitional periods of their history, and reshaping of the existed religious and cultural milieu of the societies, rather than violent replacement of one religion by another.

    The convenors Firuza Abdullaeva (University of Oxford) and Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (University of Leiden) acknowledge with gratitude the generous support of the University of Oxford, the British Academy, the Soudavar Memorial Foundation and the Iran Heritage Foundation.

    The conference is free to attend, but all participants must pre-register in order to guarantee entry to the conference and to help assess numbers for catering. Non-speaking participants must make their own arrangements for accommodation and refreshments/meals. If you would like to stay for refreshments the fee is £7.50 per day or/and the White wine Garden party at Wadham is £10.00 to be paid at the registration desk.

    To pre-register please complete the form and send it to William Stockland at:, or to Firuza Abdullaeva at
    or post to:

    Dr Firuza Abdullaeva
    Wadham College
    Oxford OX1 3PN

    Click here to down load the registration form.

    Enquiries and additional information
    Please address all enquiries via email to Dr Firuza Abdullaeva at:

    Reading & Signing for "The Blood of Flowers"

    Bay Area - East Bay Tuesday - July 15, 2008     07:00 PM

    7 p.m., Reading & Signing, "The Blood of Flowers"


    6510 Stockton Ave

    El Cerrito, CA 94530

    (510) 526-7512

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