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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Blake Atwood

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Assistant Professor, Persian Program Coordinator
Blake Atwood

Contact

Interests

Middle Eastern Cinema, Film and Technology, Visual Culture, Contemporary Persian Literature

MEL 321 • Youth Culture In Iran

40795 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BEN 1.122
(also listed as MES 342 )
show description

The Islamic Republic of Iran sought to create for its citizens a new Islamic subjectivity, and today’s young people, all born after the Revolution of 1978-79, were the targets of that process. By probing the political, cultural, and artistic interests that the young people in Iran have engaged since the Revolution, we might evaluate the effectiveness of that project. To what extent has the Iranian youth conformed to or resisted the kind of citizenship that its government determined for it? Do we sense ambivalence or apathy towards that subjectivity? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions by examining a wide-range of materials, including music videos, graphic novels, documentaries, graffiti, narrative films, and cutting-edge anthropological works. We will engage these cultural products in order to locate and explore the different languages (musical, visual, written) that have emerged in order to articulate various youth cultures in Iran. This course will also serve as an introduction to Iran’s post-Revolution history. By examining the texts and images that the Iran’s youngest citizens have generated in order to engage this history, we will gain a better sense of centrality of the youth movement to the country’s major events from the last thirty years. This course will be conducted, as much as possible, in seminar style, with student interaction and participation constituting a majority of class time.

Texts

Dehqan, Ahmad. Journey Heading to 270 Degrees, trans. Paul Sprachman. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2006. Mahdavi, Pardis. Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008. Mandanipour, Shahriar. Censoring an Iranian Love Story, trans. Sarah Khalili. New York: Knopf, 2009. Moaveni, Azadeh. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran (New York: Public Affiars, 2005) Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York Pantheon, 2007. Varzi, Roxanne. Warring Soul

Grading

Participation: 25% Three Reaction Papers: 40% Midterm: 15% Final Paper: 20%

MES 342 • Youth Culture In Iran

41050 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BEN 1.122
(also listed as MEL 321 )
show description

The Islamic Republic of Iran sought to create for its citizens a new Islamic subjectivity, and today’s young people, all born after the Revolution of 1978-79, were the targets of that process. By probing the political, cultural, and artistic interests that the young people in Iran have engaged since the Revolution, we might evaluate the effectiveness of that project. To what extent has the Iranian youth conformed to or resisted the kind of citizenship that its government determined for it? Do we sense ambivalence or apathy towards that subjectivity? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions by examining a wide-range of materials, including music videos, graphic novels, documentaries, graffiti, narrative films, and cutting-edge anthropological works. We will engage these cultural products in order to locate and explore the different languages (musical, visual, written) that have emerged in order to articulate various youth cultures in Iran. This course will also serve as an introduction to Iran’s post-Revolution history. By examining the texts and images that the Iran’s youngest citizens have generated in order to engage this history, we will gain a better sense of centrality of the youth movement to the country’s major events from the last thirty years. This course will be conducted, as much as possible, in seminar style, with student interaction and participation constituting a majority of class time.

Texts

Dehqan, Ahmad. Journey Heading to 270 Degrees, trans. Paul Sprachman. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2006. Mahdavi, Pardis. Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008. Mandanipour, Shahriar. Censoring an Iranian Love Story, trans. Sarah Khalili. New York: Knopf, 2009. Moaveni, Azadeh. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran (New York: Public Affiars, 2005) Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York Pantheon, 2007. Varzi, Roxanne. Warring Soul

Grading

Participation: 25% Three Reaction Papers: 40% Midterm: 15% Final Paper: 20%

PRS 611C • Intensv Grad Lang Instructn II

41280 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as PRS 381J )
show description

Course Description

PRS 611C or Intensive Persian II is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you continue to expand upon what you have learned during its prerequisite PRS 601c Intensive Persian I course. This course also, following the example set by its prerequisite, puts emphasis on speaking and using the language for communication. Therefore, as it can be expected, using any other language than Persian in the classroom will be very restricted. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. Students should have fulfilled the prerequisite PRS 601c Intensive Persian I with a letter grade of at least C to be able to take this course. Not open to native speakers or heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1. Read and understand simple authentic passages on familiar topics.

2. Initiate social interactions, ask for information, and show awareness of cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian.

3. Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family background, travel plans, dining at a restaurant, etc., with native speakers of Persian;

4. Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

5. Be able to compose simple essays about yourself and your family and write them informal notes, and letters/emails

6. Know the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

 

Course Materials

Course packet; supplemental materials provided via Blackboard

Course Requirements and Grade

Attendance and Participation 15%

Homework and Homework Correction 30%

Quizzes 25%

Presentations/Skits 12%

Culture Portfolio 3%

Final Exam 15%

May vary with instructor each semester.

PRS 381J • Intensv Grad Lang Instructn II

41320 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as PRS 611C )
show description

Course Description

PRS 611C or Intensive Persian II is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you continue to expand upon what you have learned during its prerequisite PRS 601c Intensive Persian I course. This course also, following the example set by its prerequisite, puts emphasis on speaking and using the language for communication. Therefore, as it can be expected, using any other language than Persian in the classroom will be very restricted. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. Students should have fulfilled the prerequisite PRS 601c Intensive Persian I with a letter grade of at least C to be able to take this course. Not open to native speakers or heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1. Read and understand simple authentic passages on familiar topics.

2. Initiate social interactions, ask for information, and show awareness of cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian.

3. Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family background, travel plans, dining at a restaurant, etc., with native speakers of Persian;

4. Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

5. Be able to compose simple essays about yourself and your family and write them informal notes, and letters/emails

6. Know the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

 

Course Materials

Course packet; supplemental materials provided via Blackboard

Course Requirements and Grade

Attendance and Participation 15%

Homework and Homework Correction 30%

Quizzes 25%

Presentations/Skits 12%

Culture Portfolio 3%

Final Exam 15%

May vary with instructor each semester.

PRS 601C • Intensv Grad Lang Instructn I

42335 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 2.102
(also listed as PRS 381H )
show description

Course Description PRS 601C or Intensive Persian I is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you start learning Persian and to give you the tools to keep going. This course first introduces the Persian alphabet. The emphasis is on speaking and using the language for communication. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. There is no prerequisite for this course. Not open to native speakers or Heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1.  Have mastered the Persian alphabet and sound system, be able to recognize and pronounce correctly all Persian sounds, and write accurately from dictation;

2.  Be able to initiate social interactions, ask for basic information, and be aware of basic cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian;

3.  Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family with native speakers of Persian accustomed to interacting with learners;

4.  Comprehend simple print texts on familiar topics;

5.  Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

6.  Be able to compose simple paragraphs about yourself and your family and friends;

7.  Know about the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

Texts

Persian of Iran Today

Grading

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Homework: 20%

Homework Corrections: 5%

Tests: 25%

Culture Portfolio: 5%

PRS 601C • Intensv Grad Lang Instructn I

42336 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm BEN 1.122
(also listed as PRS 381H )
show description

Course Description PRS 601C or Intensive Persian I is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you start learning Persian and to give you the tools to keep going. This course first introduces the Persian alphabet. The emphasis is on speaking and using the language for communication. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. There is no prerequisite for this course. Not open to native speakers or Heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1.  Have mastered the Persian alphabet and sound system, be able to recognize and pronounce correctly all Persian sounds, and write accurately from dictation;

2.  Be able to initiate social interactions, ask for basic information, and be aware of basic cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian;

3.  Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family with native speakers of Persian accustomed to interacting with learners;

4.  Comprehend simple print texts on familiar topics;

5.  Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

6.  Be able to compose simple paragraphs about yourself and your family and friends;

7.  Know about the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

Texts

Persian of Iran Today

Grading

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Homework: 20%

Homework Corrections: 5%

Tests: 25%

Culture Portfolio: 5%

PRS 381H • Intensv Grad Lang Instructn I

42370 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 2.102
(also listed as PRS 601C )
show description

Course Description PRS 601C or Intensive Persian I is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you start learning Persian and to give you the tools to keep going. This course first introduces the Persian alphabet. The emphasis is on speaking and using the language for communication. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. There is no prerequisite for this course. Not open to native speakers or Heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1.  Have mastered the Persian alphabet and sound system, be able to recognize and pronounce correctly all Persian sounds, and write accurately from dictation;

2.  Be able to initiate social interactions, ask for basic information, and be aware of basic cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian;

3.  Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family with native speakers of Persian accustomed to interacting with learners;

4.  Comprehend simple print texts on familiar topics;

5.  Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

6.  Be able to compose simple paragraphs about yourself and your family and friends;

7.  Know about the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

Texts

Persian of Iran Today

Grading

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Homework: 20%

Homework Corrections: 5%

Tests: 25%

Culture Portfolio: 5%

MEL 321 • Contemp Middle Eastern Cinema

42295 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WEL 2.256
(also listed as C L 323, MES 342 )
show description

This course aims to introduce students to major trends in contemporary Middle Eastern cinemas. Organized thematically rather than geographically, the class encourages students to map cultural ties among the countries that constitute a region defined too often by its conflict. Together we will examine the representation of politics, religion, social structures, and war by films that can be classified as documentary, comedy, drama, and experimental in order to learn more about the peoples of the Middle East. Recognizing both these thematic links and the reality of multi-country production, we will also attempt to compound our understanding of both national and transnational cinema. Do national cinemas exist in the Middle East? How do we make sense of the overwhelming success of Middle Eastern productions on the western film festival circuit and how do those films relate to films intended for local audiences?

At the same time that this course introduces some of the most important issues in Middle Eastern cinema, it will also seek to develop students’ film analysis skills. Through encounters with selections and applications of film theory, students will learn to think about film as a medium that is simultaneously literary text and visual artifact. Course papers will provide students with the opportunity to apply, interpret, challenge, and articulate theory while closely reading relevant films, and class discussions will demand that students move beyond characterizations of plot to examine visual and narrative structure.

Texts

To be determined.

Grading

Attendance & Participation:                        25%

Analytical Papers:                                     30%

Midterm:                                                  20%

Final Paper:                                              25%

MES 342 • Contemp Middle Eastern Cinema

42511 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WEL 2.256
(also listed as C L 323, MEL 321 )
show description

This course aims to introduce students to major trends in contemporary Middle Eastern cinemas. Organized thematically rather than geographically, the class encourages students to map cultural ties among the countries that constitute a region defined too often by its conflict. Together we will examine the representation of politics, religion, social structures, and war by films that can be classified as documentary, comedy, drama, and experimental in order to learn more about the peoples of the Middle East. Recognizing both these thematic links and the reality of multi-country production, we will also attempt to compound our understanding of both national and transnational cinema. Do national cinemas exist in the Middle East? How do we make sense of the overwhelming success of Middle Eastern productions on the western film festival circuit and how do those films relate to films intended for local audiences?

At the same time that this course introduces some of the most important issues in Middle Eastern cinema, it will also seek to develop students’ film analysis skills. Through encounters with selections and applications of film theory, students will learn to think about film as a medium that is simultaneously literary text and visual artifact. Course papers will provide students with the opportunity to apply, interpret, challenge, and articulate theory while closely reading relevant films, and class discussions will demand that students move beyond characterizations of plot to examine visual and narrative structure.

Texts

To be determined.

Grading

Attendance & Participation:                        25%

Analytical Papers:                                     30%

Midterm:                                                  20%

Final Paper:                                              25%

PRS 611C • Intensive Persian II

42735 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as PRS 381J )
show description

Course Description

PRS 611C or Intensive Persian II is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you continue to expand upon what you have learned during its prerequisite PRS 601c Intensive Persian I course. This course also, following the example set by its prerequisite, puts emphasis on speaking and using the language for communication. Therefore, as it can be expected, using any other language than Persian in the classroom will be very restricted. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. Students should have fulfilled the prerequisite PRS 601c Intensive Persian I with a letter grade of at least C to be able to take this course. Not open to native speakers or heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1. Read and understand simple authentic passages on familiar topics.

2. Initiate social interactions, ask for information, and show awareness of cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian.

3. Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family background, travel plans, dining at a restaurant, etc., with native speakers of Persian;

4. Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

5. Be able to compose simple essays about yourself and your family and write them informal notes, and letters/emails

6. Know the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

 

Course Materials

Course packet; supplemental materials provided via Blackboard

 

Course Requirements and Grade

Attendance and Participation 15%

Homework and Homework Correction 30%

Quizzes 25%

Presentations/Skits 12%

Culture Portfolio 3%

Final Exam 15%

May vary with instructor each semester.

 

PRS 381J • Intensive Persian II

42765 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as PRS 611C )
show description

Course Description

Intensive Persian II is an elementary-level course that is designed to help you continue to expand upon what you have learned during its prerequisite Intensive Persian I course. This course also, following the example set by its prerequisite, puts emphasis on speaking and using the language for communication. Therefore, as it can be expected, using any other language than Persian in the classroom will be very restricted. The four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as pronunciation and vocabulary are incorporated into the course. Learning a language requires daily practice. For each hour the student spends in the classroom a minimum of two hours review is required outside the class. Students should have fulfilled the prerequisite Intensive Persian I with a letter grade of at least C to be able to take this course. Not open to native speakers or heritage learners of Persian.

By the end of this course you will:

1. Read and understand simple authentic passages on familiar topics.

2. Initiate social interactions, ask for information, and show awareness of cultural aspects of social interaction in Persian.

3. Be able to talk about yourself, your education, and your family background, travel plans, dining at a restaurant, etc., with native speakers of Persian;

4. Comprehend simple audio/video texts on familiar topics;

5. Be able to compose simple essays about yourself and your family and write them informal notes, and letters/emails

6. Know the difference between written and spoken Persian, recognize both registers, and be able to use basic expressions.

 

Course Materials

Course packet; supplemental materials provided via Blackboard

 

Course Requirements and Grade

To be provided by instructor.

MEL 380 • Visual Culture: War & Revolutn

42209 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 1200pm-130pm BEN 1.106
(also listed as MES 386 )
show description

Visual culture, Nicholas Mirzoeff explains, “is not a lofty gaze from the ivory tower but a place in the midst of conflict. Visual culture compares in order to understand such conflicts. In an ideal world…it would not exist” (2009). In this course, we will probe the limits of this statement by considering instances of war and revolution in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. We will examine the ways in which visual technologies (especially those of war and dissemination), memory, modes of representation, and media practices generate unique visual cultures that require a new kind of literacy, one that accommodates the complexities of the visuality of violence and new means of witnessing and archiving trauma. By staging a comparative analysis that includes examples from across the Arab world, Iran, and Israel, we will use visual material to begin developing theories for understanding how the Middle East operates as a cultural entity as it moves across time and space.  Building off of William J.T. Mitchell’s assessment that “Visual culture is the visual construction of the social, not just the social construction of vision” (2002), this graduate seminar will train students to draw on visual material in order to create methods and frameworks for their own research in the humanities and social sciences. Classroom discussions and short writing assignments will require students to understand, challenge, and expand theoretical texts, and a final paper will provide students with the opportunity to construct a theoretical discussion based on visual material.

Texts

Chelkowski, Peter and Hamid Dabashi. Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran. New York: New York University Press, 2002, Khatib, Lina. Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012, Mitchell, Timothy. Colonising Egypt. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991, Mirzoeff, Nicholas. Watching Babylon: The War in Iraq in Global Visual Culture. London: Routledge, 2005, Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador, 2004, Varzi, Roxanne. Warring Souls: Youth, Media, and Martyrdom in Post-Revolution Iran. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006. Films (Available on Reserve) - The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966), The Green Wave (Ali Samadi Ahadi, 2010), Marriage of the Blessed (dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1991), Once Upon a Time Beirut (dir. Jocelyn Saab, 1991), Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)Additional materials will be posted on Blackboard in the “Course Documents” section and organized according to date.

Grading

Participation 25%, Response Papers 25%, Image-Gathering Assignment 10%, Final Paper 40%

MES 386 • Visual Culture: War & Revolutn

42452 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 1200pm-130pm BEN 1.106
(also listed as MEL 380 )
show description

Visual culture, Nicholas Mirzoeff explains, “is not a lofty gaze from the ivory tower but a place in the midst of conflict. Visual culture compares in order to understand such conflicts. In an ideal world…it would not exist” (2009). In this course, we will probe the limits of this statement by considering instances of war and revolution in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. We will examine the ways in which visual technologies (especially those of war and dissemination), memory, modes of representation, and media practices generate unique visual cultures that require a new kind of literacy, one that accommodates the complexities of the visuality of violence and new means of witnessing and archiving trauma. By staging a comparative analysis that includes examples from across the Arab world, Iran, and Israel, we will use visual material to begin developing theories for understanding how the Middle East operates as a cultural entity as it moves across time and space.  Building off of William J.T. Mitchell’s assessment that “Visual culture is the visual construction of the social, not just the social construction of vision” (2002), this graduate seminar will train students to draw on visual material in order to create methods and frameworks for their own research in the humanities and social sciences. Classroom discussions and short writing assignments will require students to understand, challenge, and expand theoretical texts, and a final paper will provide students with the opportunity to construct a theoretical discussion based on visual material.

Texts

Chelkowski, Peter and Hamid Dabashi. Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran. New York: New York University Press, 2002, Khatib, Lina. Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012, Mitchell, Timothy. Colonising Egypt. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991, Mirzoeff, Nicholas. Watching Babylon: The War in Iraq in Global Visual Culture. London: Routledge, 2005, Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador, 2004, Varzi, Roxanne. Warring Souls: Youth, Media, and Martyrdom in Post-Revolution Iran. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006. Films (Available on Reserve) - The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966), The Green Wave (Ali Samadi Ahadi, 2010), Marriage of the Blessed (dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1991), Once Upon a Time Beirut (dir. Jocelyn Saab, 1991), Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)Additional materials will be posted on Blackboard in the “Course Documents” section and organized according to date.

Grading

Participation 25%, Response Papers 25%, Image-Gathering Assignment 10%, Final Paper 40%

PRS 322K • Intermediate Persian I

42540 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am MEZ 2.118
show description

This intermediate Persian language proficiency course is designed for students who have completed Persian 611C or 612C or have been assigned to the class as a result of a DMES placement test.  The material for this course will consist mainly of articles, stories and audio-visual materials from the internet. Texts will be supplemented with vocabulary lists and exercises and explanations of cultural aspects of the texts. The reading material will also be made available in audio format. The course aims to expand active vocabulary to approximately 1000 words by the end of the semester and to help students reach an intermediate high proficiency in Persian. Students should expect three hours of class preparation for each class hour of reading, listening, and writing. Daily homework assignments are corrected & discussed with students on a regular basis.

Texts

To be provided by instructor.

Grading

To be provided by instructor.

PRS 130D • Persian Across Disciplines

42547 • Fall 2013
Meets T 100pm-200pm BEN 1.106
show description

Persian language complement to MES 386, Visual Culture: War & Revolution.

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