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

Michael Craig Hillmann

Professor , The University of Chicago, M.A. 1969, Ph.D. 1974; Texas State University, M.A. 1997

Michael Craig Hillmann

Contact

  • Phone: 512-475-6606
  • Office: CAL 400
  • Office Hours: W 9 am – 12 noon, and by appointment

Biography

Michael Craig Hillmann

Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA, 512-475-6606 (tel), mchillmann@austin.utexas.edu; 3404 Perry Lane, Austin, TX 78731, 512-653-5152 (cell phone), mchillmann@aol.com

Born and raised in Baltimore (MD), Michael Craig Hillmann attended and graduated from The Cathedral School and Loyola Blakefield High School in that city. After a year at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester (MA), he transferred to Loyola College in Maryland, from where he graduated with a B.A. in English Literature in 1962. He thereafter served as a Teaching Fellow in English at The Creighton University in Omaha (NB), where he completed M.A. course requirements in English Literature. From 1963 to 1965, he taught Latin and English at Mt. Michael Abbey in Elkhorn (NB), and then joined the American Peace Corps, undergoing pre-service training at The University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 1965. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, he served for two years as Instructor of English language and literature at the Faculty of Letters at The University of Mashhad, Iran.

In September 1966 he met Sorayya Oraee Abbasian, an undergraduate student in History at The University of Mashhad. They married in Mashhad in June 1967 and immediately returned to America. That summer he served as an Instructor in a Peace Corps training program at Reed College in Portland (OR). Then followed two years of graduate study at The Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago. With an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and a Fulbright dissertation grant, Hillmann returned to Iran with Sorayya in September 1969 to conduct research on the poetry of Hafez (d.c. 1390). There followed four years of graduate study in Persian Literature at The University of Tehran.

In 1970 Hillmann joined the American Peace Corps training staff in Tehran, designing and implementing pre-service and in-service Persian language training programs, first as a Persian Instructor and thereafter as Language and Cultural Affairs Officer. Sorayya and Michael's only child, Elizabeth Craig Hillmann, was born in Tehran in 1970. In 1972, Hillmann co-founded The Academy of Language, a private school that offered all levels of English instruction to native speakers of Persian and all levels of Persian to native speakers of English. In late 1973, Hillmann returned to The University of Chicago, where he completed a Ph.D. degree program in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in May 1974. 

In August 1974, Hillmann joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin, thereafter establishing the first university degree program in Modern Persian Literature in North America and inaugurating a Peace Corps-inspired elementary and intermediate Persian language program sequence.

Hillmann spent the summer of 1975 in Tehran with UT Austin and Social Science Research Council research grants. In 1982, with a UT Austin sabbatical grant and an SSRC travel grant, Hillmann and his family spent six months at William Goodenough House at The University of London. With similar grants, Hillmann spent the summer of 1984 in Paris. With a UT Austin sabbatical grant and fellowship from Durham University, Hillmann spent the summer of 1986 in Paris and the fall of 1986 as a Visiting Fellow at Durham’s Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. In 1989, 1991, and 1996, Hillmann made research trips to Iran, supported by grants from Iranian academic and research organizations. In 1994, Hillmann served as Will and Ariel Durant Professor in Humanities at St. Peter's College in Jersey City (NJ). Also in the mid-1990s, Hillmann returned to graduate school at Texas State University (San Marcos), from where he received an M.A. in English Literature in 1997. Sorayya and Michael spent the Fall 1997 Semester in Paris, where Michael was a Visiting Scholar at Institute d'études iraniennes at Sorbonne nouvelle (Université de Paris III). Hillmann received a Dean's Fellowship for the Spring 2000 Semester, which he used to conduct research at The University of California at Los Angeles and elsewhere.

In 1977, Hillmann established Persepolis Institute, a Stateside continuation of the non-academic, advanced Persian language training and research activities of The Academy of Language in Tehran. In 1977 and 1978, Persepolis administered a Persian training program in Euless (TX) for Bell Operations Corporation personnel planning to open a facility in Esfahan, which plan the Iranian Revolution brought to an end. Thereafter, Persepolis designed an Intermediate Persian Program for American government Persian specialists, which led to the publication of a series of Persian textbooks and readers. From 1993 to 2006, Persepolis consultants administered advanced Persian courses and seminars in Austin, Augusta (GA), and Baltimore, for American government personnel and advanced university graduate students. With the inauguration of advanced university Persian courses in 2007, Persepolis turned its attention to textbook writing and dictionary compilation, the latter projects including Persian Slang Dictionary, Dictionary of New Persian Words, Hippocrene Practical Persian-English and English-Persian Dictionary, and 5,000 Common Persian Words

Among textbook projects, Tajiki Textbook and Reader and Basic Tajiki Word List has served as the syllabus in a Tajiki Persian program Hillmann introduced at Texas in 1998, the first such sequence of Tajiki Persian courses offered on a regular basis during the academic year by a permanent faculty person at an American university. As another textbook example, Persian Reading and Writing served as the core textbook in a new course Hillmann offered in 2010 called Persian Reading for Iranian Heritage students.The persepolisinstitute.org web site offers descriptions of textbooks and dictionaries and sample Persian lessons designed under the aegis of Persepolis Institute.

Sorayya Hillmann graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1979, with a B.A. degree in Middle Eastern Studies. She then served several years on the staff at UT's Perry-Castañeda Library. Then followed several years in the restaurant business as co-owner and manager of Green's Upstairs Garden in downtown Austin. Sorayya turned to residential real estate in 1987. As a real estate broker, she began her own company, Hillmann Realty, in 1998. In 2000, Sorayya was a founding member of Society of Iranian-American Women in Austin, an organization which sponsors a variety of cultural events in Austin, including an annual Iranian New Year’s celebration attended by 500+ Iranian-Americans.

Daughter Elizabeth Craig Hillmann Garrett graduated from St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin in 1989. After attending Hollins University in Roanoke (VA) for two years, she transferred to The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque (NM), where she was active in Pi Beta Phi Sorority and from where she received a B.A. in Psychology in 1993. She then began an M.A. degree again in Psychology at Hood College in Frederick (MD), receiving her degree in 1995. A second B.A. degree program, this time in Education, followed at College of Santa Fe in Albuquerque. Elizabeth spent two years as a psychologist in Albuquerque, and another two years as an elementary school teacher. She and Jeffrey Douglas Garrett, who also graduated in 1993 from The University of New Mexico where he was president of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, married at St. Stephen's Chapel in Austin in March 1998. The couple moved to Los Angeles in mid-2000, where Elizabeth continued to teach elementary school and Jeff continued his career in commercial land development, while completing a Master's degree in Real Estate Development at University of Southern California. Their first child, John Craig, was born in Los Angeles in June 2001. Moving to Scottsdale, Arizona in 2002, where Jeff established Evergreen Retail Group, Elizabeth gave birth to their second child, Catherine Grace, in October 2003. Their third child, James Maximilian, was born in October 2005. Elizabeth is active in the Junior League in Phoenix, as she was earlier in Albuquerque and Los Angeles.

Summer road trips, winter ski trips, museums, restaurants, entertaining, and exercise are Sorayya and Michael’s favorite extracurricular activities. Car trips since 2000 have taken them to Tucson and Phoenix (AZ); Los Angeles and San Francisco (CA); Reno (NV) and South Lake Tahoe (CA/NV); Denver, Ft. Collins, Breckenridge, and Vail (CO); Durango (CO); Albuquerque, Santa Fe (a sometimes Christmas destination), and Taos (NM); Augusta (GA); Baltimore (MD) and Cape May (NJ); Coronado Island (CA); Portland (OR); The Grand Canyon (AZ), Hoover Dam (NV), and Las Vegas (NV); Belfast, Camden, and Searsmont (ME); and throughout Texas, e.g., Galveston and Marfa. As for physical activity, for one or other of them, it’s occasional rollerblading sometimes at Austin Veloway, bicycle-riding every other day in West Austin, occasional tennis, walking every other day (on a bedroom treadmill in bad weather), occasional kayaking on Town Lake and Lake Austin, river and lake fishing in Mid-coast Maine most summers, golf driving range practice, lap swimming outdoors in the summer, and skiing to: Beaver Creek (CO), Big Bear (CA), Blue Mountain (PA), Breckenridge (CO), Durango (CO), Heavenly (CA), Keystone (CO), Lake Louise (Canada), Liberty (PA), Mammoth (CA), Park City (UT, a Thanksgiving destination), Santa Fe and Taos (NM), Vail (CA), White Tail (PA), Winter Park (CA), and Wisp (MD). Michael and Sorayya made their sixth or seventh trip to their favorite city, Paris, in June 2013, eschewing cabs, busses, boats, and the subway for ten days of walking all around town, visiting museums and parks, and enjoying cafés and restaurants. 

Michael has a special interest in autobiographical writing. First came From Durham to Tehran (1991). Then came From Classroom to Courtroom (2008). From and To o a Village in Maine, the final volume in the trilogy, is scheduled for publication in 2014 on the occasion of the celebration of the bicentennial of the incorporation of Searsmont, Maine).

Academic/Research Interests (in alphabetical order)

  • American autobiography
  • Forugh Farrokhzad’s life and poetry
  • Iranian Culture
  • Iranian literature from 1921 to 1978 as social and cultural expression
  • Jalal Al-e Ahmad's life and writing
  • Medieval Persian lyric verse
  • Modernist lyric verse around the world
  • Persian art and carpets as cultural expression
  • Persian language instructional materials development
  • Zora Neale Hurston's life and writing 

Courses of Instruction

  • Elementary Spoken/Colloquial Persian
  • Elementary Written/Books Persian
  • Intermediate Persian Reading and Listening
  • Intermediate Persian Reading and Grammar
  • Advanced Persian: Newspaper Reading
  • Advanced Persian: Fiction Reading
  • Advanced Persian: (Non-journalistic) Persian Prose Reading
  • Classics of Persian Poetry 1 (from Rudaki to Hafez)
  • Classics of Persian Poetry 2 (from Hatef to Simin Behbehâni)
  • Sa'di's Golestân
  • Ferdowsi's Shâhnâmé and the Epic Tradition
  • Hâfezian Ghazals and the Medieval Persian Lyric Poetry
  • Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition
  • Iranian Fiction during the Pahlavi Era
  • Iranian Culture
  • Persian Art Past and Present
  • The American Experience and As Told through Autobiographies
  • Autobiography: A Modern Literary Species
  • Self-Revelation in Women's Writing: Zora Neale Hurston and Forugh Farrokhzâd
  • Classics of World Poetry
  • Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses as Epic and Social Criticism
  • Nima Yushij and Modern(ist) Persian Poetry
  • The Middle East in World Poetry

Books

  • Unity in the Ghazals of Hafez. 1976.
  • Hedayat's ‘The Blind Owl’ Forty Years After. 1979. Edited volume.
  • Major Voices in Contemporary Persian Literature. 1980.
  • Literature and Society in Iran. 1982. Edited volume.
  • Iranian Society: An Anthology of Writings by Jalal Al-e Ahmad. 1982. Edited volume.
  • Persian Carpets. 1984.
  • Sociology of the Iranian Writer. 1985. Edited volume.
  • False Dawn: Persian Poems by Nader Naderpour. 1986. Edited volume.
  • A Lonely Woman: Forugh Farrokhzad and Her Poetry. 1987.
  • Nationalism and Asian Literatures. 1987. Edited volume.
  • Forugh Farrokhzad A Quarter-Century Later. 1988. Edited volume.
  • By the Pen. By Jalal Al-e Ahmad. 1988. Introduction and Editing.
  • From Durham to Tehran. 1991.
  • Iranian Culture: A Persianist View. 1992 (second edition).
  • Special Hedayat Issue-Iran Nameh. 1992. Co-edited with D. Shayegan.
  • From Classroom to Courtroom. 2008
  • Persian Fiction Reader: Second Edition. 2000. With M.M. Khorrami.
  • Persian Newspaper Reader: Second Edition. 2000. With R. Sarraf.
  • Reading Iran Reading Iranians: Second Edition Revised. 2002.
  • Tajiki Textbook and Reader: Second Edition. 2003.
  • Persian Vocabulary Acquisition: Second Edition. 2003.
  • Basic Tajik(i) Word List. 2003.
  • Persian Listening. 2008.
  • Persian Reading and Writing. 2010.
  • Persian Grammar and Verbs. 2012.
  • Advanced Persian Reading: Autobiographical Writing. Online. With A. Atai and B. Aghaei.
  • Advanced Persian Reader. 2013. With K. Angali, A.A. Pejman Aryan. M. Sadeghi.
  • Persian Conversation(s). 2014.
  • From and to a Village in Maine. 2014.
  • The Love Song of M. Sadegh Hedayat. 2014.
  • 5,000 Persian Words. 2014
  • Classics of Persian Poetry: A Primer for Students. 2015. With M. Shariati.
  • Sounds and a Voice That Remain: The Poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad. 2015.

 www.Academia.edu/MichaelHillmann

On this web site appear academic materials in the following categories: book reviews (8 items), books (24 items), courses/seminars (10 items), creative writing [e.g., autobiographies] (4 items), Ferdowsi, Khayyam, and Hafez (5 items), Hedayat’s The Blind Owl (6 items), op-ed pieces (8 items), papers (24 items), a 2013 résumé, talks (12 items), and teaching documents (7 items).

Interests

Persian language; Persian literature, 1921-1978; medieval Persian poetry; Iranian art and culture; autobiography; the nature of lyric poetry

ISL 373 • Persian Art: Past And Present

40695 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342 )
show description

Course Description For over 2,500 years, the Persians [= Persian-speaking Iranians] have comprised a dominant cultural and artistic force on the Iranian plateau. Although their art has taken many forms, it has proved both remarkably consistent in its expression of arguably enduring cultural themes and values and often aesthetically remarkable in culture-specific terms. This introductory survey course presents great moments in representative media of Persian [= Iranian] art from the Achaemenid Empire (559-330 B.C.E.) to the 21st century. The course introduces Iranian art objects and forms in generally chronological order, but does not engage in art history for three reasons. First, the Iranian art scene seems to fit Walt Whitman’s famous lines on his American day and age: “There was never any more inception than there is now, / And will never be any more perfection than there is now.” Second, almost all surviving architectural monuments, including ruins, have a distinctive ahistorical vitality for those Iranians who enjoy art and who exhibit an Iranian past-present cultural duality. Third, because pre-Islamic figural images figure in contemporary art, because pre-modern Islamic calligraphy survives as a vital Iranian art form, because traditional Persian painting styles remain popular, and because pre-modern Persian carpet designs remain the most popular designs today, an art historical focus on Iranian art may not lead directly to an elucidation of Iranian cultural features and culture-specific aesthetic elements. Instead, Persian Art Past and Present situates Iranian art objects and forms in a cultural context that pays less attention to the sociology of art production in the past or intended original audiences than to how those art objects and forms resonate today for Iranians today (whose distinctive takes on history items in the course bibliography present). Accordingly, the course treats the cultural significance of the status of calligraphy and oriental carpet-weaving as major arts in today’s Iran, reasons for an idealized spring season and paradise gardens as primary images in much Iranian art, gardens themselves as art objects, the curious myth of the prohibition of the representation of human figures in Islamic art on the Iranian plateau, the balance and tension between curvilinear and rectilinear patterns in much Iranian art, the depiction of divinity or heaven in some traditional art forms (e.g., architectural decoration, manuscript pages, and Persian carpet designs), the distinctively Iranian role that non-religious written texts play in inspiring subject matter of Iranian painting, and an arguably Iranian aesthetics of decoration. Persian Art Past and Present has two chief aims. First, the course endeavors to help participants to identify and appreciate underlying cultural messages and artistic impulses in Iranian art objects and forms that seem essential in any definition of Persianness or Iranianness in those Iranians who produce and enjoy Iranian art. Second, the course endeavors to encourage course participants, through their exposure to art objects and to basic principles of aesthetic appeal in the visual arts, to think of buildings, paintings, gardens, textiles, calligraphy, and like as enjoyable visual experiences. Students write eight, two-page papers during the course, each on an assigned art object. In the class session after submission of each paper, students discuss writing issues in samples from their papers on a list presenting quoted statements from each paper. Students also begin receiving oral and written suggestions about writing from the beginning of the course, with distributed lists of suggestions expanding as the course proceeds. In the case of an inadequate two-page paper, students resubmit the paper in question bearing in mind comments added to it.

Texts

Course Texts • “Art in Iran,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1986–2011, online at iranicaonline.org. • “Iranian Identity” by Ahmad Ashraf, Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1986–2011, online at iranicaonline.org. • Internet/Google Search Google for: • Images for Achaemenids • Images for Persepolis • Images for Sasanids • Images for Seleucids • Images for Parthians • Images for Early Islamic art • Images for Arts of the Koran • Images for Ghaznavids • Images for Ferdowsi Miniature Paintings • Images for Seljuqs • Images for Mongol Art • Images for Ilkhanid Art • Images for Hafez Miniature Paintings • Images for Timurid Art • Images for Kamaloddin Behzad Paintings • Images for Persian Miniature Painting • Images for Safavid Painting • Images for Safavid Architecture • Images for Isfahan/Esfahan • Images for Qajar Art • Images for Kamalolmolk Paintings • Images for Sohrab Sepehri Paintings • Images for Persian Crafts • Images for Persian Carpets • Images for Persian Calligraphy • Images for Persian Gardens • Images for Tehran Architecture • Images for Persian/Iranian Clothing • Images for Nasser Ovissi Paintings • Images for Hossein Zenderoudi Paintings • Images for Badri Borghe’i Paintings • Images for Persian Architecture • Images for Carpet Museum of Iran • Images for Persian Art • Images for National Museum of Iran • Images for Reza Abbasi Museum • Images for Malek National Library and Museum • Images for Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art • “Persian Art Past and Present Course Packet” (posted on the course Blackboard), containing an annotated bibliography of Iranian art, a chronology of Iranian history and art, critiques of art historical writing on medieval and post-medieval Persian painting and textiles, essays on “art appreciation” and the appreciation of Iranian art, and several essays on dualities in Iranian culture. • “Masterpieces of Persian/Iranian Art,” color images (posted on the course Blackboard) that are the subjects of review test questions).

Grading

Course grades are based on: class participation (10% of the course grade); eight two-page papers, each analyzing a specific, assigned art object (4% of the course grade each); and two review tests (29% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C + (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MEL 321 • Persian Art: Past And Present

40785 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as ISL 373, MES 342 )
show description

Course Description For over 2,500 years, the Persians [= Persian-speaking Iranians] have comprised a dominant cultural and artistic force on the Iranian plateau. Although their art has taken many forms, it has proved both remarkably consistent in its expression of arguably enduring cultural themes and values and often aesthetically remarkable in culture-specific terms. This introductory survey course presents great moments in representative media of Persian [= Iranian] art from the Achaemenid Empire (559-330 B.C.E.) to the 21st century. The course introduces Iranian art objects and forms in generally chronological order, but does not engage in art history for three reasons. First, the Iranian art scene seems to fit Walt Whitman’s famous lines on his American day and age: “There was never any more inception than there is now, / And will never be any more perfection than there is now.” Second, almost all surviving architectural monuments, including ruins, have a distinctive ahistorical vitality for those Iranians who enjoy art and who exhibit an Iranian past-present cultural duality. Third, because pre-Islamic figural images figure in contemporary art, because pre-modern Islamic calligraphy survives as a vital Iranian art form, because traditional Persian painting styles remain popular, and because pre-modern Persian carpet designs remain the most popular designs today, an art historical focus on Iranian art may not lead directly to an elucidation of Iranian cultural features and culture-specific aesthetic elements. Instead, Persian Art Past and Present situates Iranian art objects and forms in a cultural context that pays less attention to the sociology of art production in the past or intended original audiences than to how those art objects and forms resonate today for Iranians today (whose distinctive takes on history items in the course bibliography present). Accordingly, the course treats the cultural significance of the status of calligraphy and oriental carpet-weaving as major arts in today’s Iran, reasons for an idealized spring season and paradise gardens as primary images in much Iranian art, gardens themselves as art objects, the curious myth of the prohibition of the representation of human figures in Islamic art on the Iranian plateau, the balance and tension between curvilinear and rectilinear patterns in much Iranian art, the depiction of divinity or heaven in some traditional art forms (e.g., architectural decoration, manuscript pages, and Persian carpet designs), the distinctively Iranian role that non-religious written texts play in inspiring subject matter of Iranian painting, and an arguably Iranian aesthetics of decoration. Persian Art Past and Present has two chief aims. First, the course endeavors to help participants to identify and appreciate underlying cultural messages and artistic impulses in Iranian art objects and forms that seem essential in any definition of Persianness or Iranianness in those Iranians who produce and enjoy Iranian art. Second, the course endeavors to encourage course participants, through their exposure to art objects and to basic principles of aesthetic appeal in the visual arts, to think of buildings, paintings, gardens, textiles, calligraphy, and like as enjoyable visual experiences. Students write eight, two-page papers during the course, each on an assigned art object. In the class session after submission of each paper, students discuss writing issues in samples from their papers on a list presenting quoted statements from each paper. Students also begin receiving oral and written suggestions about writing from the beginning of the course, with distributed lists of suggestions expanding as the course proceeds. In the case of an inadequate two-page paper, students resubmit the paper in question bearing in mind comments added to it.

Texts

Course Texts • “Art in Iran,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1986–2011, online at iranicaonline.org. • “Iranian Identity” by Ahmad Ashraf, Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1986–2011, online at iranicaonline.org. • Internet/Google Search Google for: • Images for Achaemenids • Images for Persepolis • Images for Sasanids • Images for Seleucids • Images for Parthians • Images for Early Islamic art • Images for Arts of the Koran • Images for Ghaznavids • Images for Ferdowsi Miniature Paintings • Images for Seljuqs • Images for Mongol Art • Images for Ilkhanid Art • Images for Hafez Miniature Paintings • Images for Timurid Art • Images for Kamaloddin Behzad Paintings • Images for Persian Miniature Painting • Images for Safavid Painting • Images for Safavid Architecture • Images for Isfahan/Esfahan • Images for Qajar Art • Images for Kamalolmolk Paintings • Images for Sohrab Sepehri Paintings • Images for Persian Crafts • Images for Persian Carpets • Images for Persian Calligraphy • Images for Persian Gardens • Images for Tehran Architecture • Images for Persian/Iranian Clothing • Images for Nasser Ovissi Paintings • Images for Hossein Zenderoudi Paintings • Images for Badri Borghe’i Paintings • Images for Persian Architecture • Images for Carpet Museum of Iran • Images for Persian Art • Images for National Museum of Iran • Images for Reza Abbasi Museum • Images for Malek National Library and Museum • Images for Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art • “Persian Art Past and Present Course Packet” (posted on the course Blackboard), containing an annotated bibliography of Iranian art, a chronology of Iranian history and art, critiques of art historical writing on medieval and post-medieval Persian painting and textiles, essays on “art appreciation” and the appreciation of Iranian art, and several essays on dualities in Iranian culture. • “Masterpieces of Persian/Iranian Art,” color images (posted on the course Blackboard) that are the subjects of review test questions).

Grading

Course grades are based on: class participation (10% of the course grade); eight two-page papers, each analyzing a specific, assigned art object (4% of the course grade each); and two review tests (29% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C + (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MES 342 • Persian Art: Past And Present

41045 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.206
(also listed as ISL 373, MEL 321 )
show description

Course Description For over 2,500 years, the Persians [= Persian-speaking Iranians] have comprised a dominant cultural and artistic force on the Iranian plateau. Although their art has taken many forms, it has proved both remarkably consistent in its expression of arguably enduring cultural themes and values and often aesthetically remarkable in culture-specific terms. This introductory survey course presents great moments in representative media of Persian [= Iranian] art from the Achaemenid Empire (559-330 B.C.E.) to the 21st century. The course introduces Iranian art objects and forms in generally chronological order, but does not engage in art history for three reasons. First, the Iranian art scene seems to fit Walt Whitman’s famous lines on his American day and age: “There was never any more inception than there is now, / And will never be any more perfection than there is now.” Second, almost all surviving architectural monuments, including ruins, have a distinctive ahistorical vitality for those Iranians who enjoy art and who exhibit an Iranian past-present cultural duality. Third, because pre-Islamic figural images figure in contemporary art, because pre-modern Islamic calligraphy survives as a vital Iranian art form, because traditional Persian painting styles remain popular, and because pre-modern Persian carpet designs remain the most popular designs today, an art historical focus on Iranian art may not lead directly to an elucidation of Iranian cultural features and culture-specific aesthetic elements. Instead, Persian Art Past and Present situates Iranian art objects and forms in a cultural context that pays less attention to the sociology of art production in the past or intended original audiences than to how those art objects and forms resonate today for Iranians today (whose distinctive takes on history items in the course bibliography present). Accordingly, the course treats the cultural significance of the status of calligraphy and oriental carpet-weaving as major arts in today’s Iran, reasons for an idealized spring season and paradise gardens as primary images in much Iranian art, gardens themselves as art objects, the curious myth of the prohibition of the representation of human figures in Islamic art on the Iranian plateau, the balance and tension between curvilinear and rectilinear patterns in much Iranian art, the depiction of divinity or heaven in some traditional art forms (e.g., architectural decoration, manuscript pages, and Persian carpet designs), the distinctively Iranian role that non-religious written texts play in inspiring subject matter of Iranian painting, and an arguably Iranian aesthetics of decoration. Persian Art Past and Present has two chief aims. First, the course endeavors to help participants to identify and appreciate underlying cultural messages and artistic impulses in Iranian art objects and forms that seem essential in any definition of Persianness or Iranianness in those Iranians who produce and enjoy Iranian art. Second, the course endeavors to encourage course participants, through their exposure to art objects and to basic principles of aesthetic appeal in the visual arts, to think of buildings, paintings, gardens, textiles, calligraphy, and like as enjoyable visual experiences. Students write eight, two-page papers during the course, each on an assigned art object. In the class session after submission of each paper, students discuss writing issues in samples from their papers on a list presenting quoted statements from each paper. Students also begin receiving oral and written suggestions about writing from the beginning of the course, with distributed lists of suggestions expanding as the course proceeds. In the case of an inadequate two-page paper, students resubmit the paper in question bearing in mind comments added to it.

Texts

Course Texts • “Art in Iran,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1986–2011, online at iranicaonline.org. • “Iranian Identity” by Ahmad Ashraf, Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1986–2011, online at iranicaonline.org. • Internet/Google Search Google for: • Images for Achaemenids • Images for Persepolis • Images for Sasanids • Images for Seleucids • Images for Parthians • Images for Early Islamic art • Images for Arts of the Koran • Images for Ghaznavids • Images for Ferdowsi Miniature Paintings • Images for Seljuqs • Images for Mongol Art • Images for Ilkhanid Art • Images for Hafez Miniature Paintings • Images for Timurid Art • Images for Kamaloddin Behzad Paintings • Images for Persian Miniature Painting • Images for Safavid Painting • Images for Safavid Architecture • Images for Isfahan/Esfahan • Images for Qajar Art • Images for Kamalolmolk Paintings • Images for Sohrab Sepehri Paintings • Images for Persian Crafts • Images for Persian Carpets • Images for Persian Calligraphy • Images for Persian Gardens • Images for Tehran Architecture • Images for Persian/Iranian Clothing • Images for Nasser Ovissi Paintings • Images for Hossein Zenderoudi Paintings • Images for Badri Borghe’i Paintings • Images for Persian Architecture • Images for Carpet Museum of Iran • Images for Persian Art • Images for National Museum of Iran • Images for Reza Abbasi Museum • Images for Malek National Library and Museum • Images for Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art • “Persian Art Past and Present Course Packet” (posted on the course Blackboard), containing an annotated bibliography of Iranian art, a chronology of Iranian history and art, critiques of art historical writing on medieval and post-medieval Persian painting and textiles, essays on “art appreciation” and the appreciation of Iranian art, and several essays on dualities in Iranian culture. • “Masterpieces of Persian/Iranian Art,” color images (posted on the course Blackboard) that are the subjects of review test questions).

Grading

Course grades are based on: class participation (10% of the course grade); eight two-page papers, each analyzing a specific, assigned art object (4% of the course grade each); and two review tests (29% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C + (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MES 342 • Self-Revlatn Women's Wrtg

41060 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.102
(also listed as AFR 372E, C L 323, WGS 340 )
show description

American prose fiction and Persian lyric poetry constitute two of the most vital literary traditions in world literature. This course deals with one prominent figure in each, the American fiction writer Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) and the Iranian lyric poet Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967). A three-fold rationale accounts for the comparative pairing and study of these two writers and their works in the course. First, both writers have special and similar relationships to the literary traditions in which they wrote both because of their gender and because of Farrokhzad's lack of participation in Muslim culture, on the one hand, and Hurston's African ancestry, on the other. Second, Farrokhzad and Hurston exhibit similar subject matter interests and points of view, presumably in part because of their modernist perspectives and similar removes from mainstream cultural and social power bases. Third, they use prose fiction and lyric poetry, respectively, as vehicles for self-revelation and self-realization. Such self- revelation has particular significance both because of its cultural unexpectedness in their respective traditions and because of mixed consequent mainstream reaction to it.

The core course activities are close readings and group discussion of the chief writings of Hurston and Farrokhzad in the contexts of the crafts of prose fiction and lyric verse, the practice of autobiography, American culture, Iranian culture, and women’s participation in American and Persian/ Iranian literatures. Students leave the course well acquainted with the lives and works of two prominent writers and with literary modernism and are better prepared thereafter to read and analyze works of prose fiction and lyric verse in vacuo and in their cultural contexts.

Texts

The required course texts are: (1) Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women’s Writing (1983); (2) Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934; (3) Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937); (4) Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (1942); (5) Zora Neale Hurston, Seraph on the Suwanee (1948); (6) Michael Hillmann, A Lonely Woman: Forugh Farrokhzad and Her Poetry (1987, available online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann; (7) Forugh Farrokhzad, Sounds That Remain: Forty Poems by Forugh Farrokhzad in English Translation (2015, available on the course Blackboard); and (7) “Self-Revelation in Women’s Writing: A Course Packet” (on the course Blackboard) containing a course schedule and calendar, chronologies, biographical sketches, a handful of critical essays, Hurston’s short story called “Drenched in Light” (1924), and the course bibliography.

Grading

Course grades are based on: (1) class participation, e.g., discussion of assigned readings [20% of the course grade]; (2) two oral presentations, one a report on an assigned primary course (i.e., a poem or a short story or a discrete part of a novel) and the second a report on an assigned secondary source (i.e., a biography or literary critical study) [15% of the course grade each]; (3) a review test on the third to the last day of the course [25% of the course grade]; and (4) a term paper [25% of the course grade], a draft due two weeks before the end of the course and a revised version due on the last day of class. The course has no final examination. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80– 82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MEL 321 • Mid East In World Poetry

41885 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 0.118
(also listed as C L 323, MES 342 )
show description

This Middle East in World Poetry course, which privileges the special status of poetic expression in the region, presents: (1) pre--modern poetic texts originating in the Middle East, (2) Western poetry that engages experiences in and images of the Middle East, and (3) contemporary self- views of Middle Easterners from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, etc.

Middle East in World Poetry involves the close and appreciative reading of poetry in English or in English translation with “Middle Eastern” forms, images, content, and themes. Course reading and discussion take place in the context of relevant concepts and themes, among them: culture, the Middle East, Middle Eastern Islam, cultural and political nationalism, academic Orientalism and Orientalist art, Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) and critiques of the book, post-colonialism, definitions of poetry, Romanticism(s), and practical English/American approaches to reading poetry from A.C. Bradley’s in “Poetry for Poetry’s Sake” (1901) to Perrine’s Sound and Sense (1950s to 2000s).

The course aims to: (1) lead to a new definition of the Middle East inspired by relevant poetry composed in or translated into the English language; (2) suggest cultural insights that poetry can offer adults in today's multicultural world, in this case insights into perceptions on the part of English- speaking poets about the Middle East and culture-specific self-revelation by Middle Easterners through their Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Kurdish, Pashto, and Turkish poems, and poems in English; (3) help increase facility and confidence in independent reading of and reactions to culturally charged poetic texts; and (4) help improve skills in one’s writing about writing and in editing one’s own writing.

In the last-named regard, 42% of the course grade relates to writing; i.e., eight, two-page papers on assigned poems, with peer review of sample statements from each assignment in the session following assignment submission; and a book review submitted in draft and critiqued and then submitted in revised form. Instead of one of the papers on assigned poems, students can choose to submit a poem that they revise throughout the course in response to peer and instructor critiques.

Texts

Required course texts consist of a book-length guide to the Middle East chosen by the student and English-language poems and English translations of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish poems, along with critical writing, compiled in a packet called “The Middle East in World Poetry: A Course Syllabus,” available on the course Blackboard. The selection of Arab and Afghan texts has benefited substantially from recommendations by comparatist critic Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh and suggestions by Arabic literature specialist Tarek El-Ariss and Hebrew literature specialist Karen Grumberg. The course packet also includes a guide to Internet resources on course poets and poems, a bibliography of biographical and critical writing on course texts and authors, and relevant studies on the Middle East.

Grading

The bases for course grades are: almost daily open-book exercises (8% of the course grade), class participation and oral reports on assigned poems (10%), eight two-page essays on assigned poems (4% each), a book review on on an approved book about the Middle East (10%), and two review tests (20% each). The course grading scale is: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D + (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), and F (0-59). Information about absences and special accommodations appears on the course Blackboard.

MES 342 • Mid East In World Poetry

42130 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 0.118
(also listed as C L 323, MEL 321 )
show description

This Middle East in World Poetry course, which privileges the special status of poetic expression in the region, presents: (1) pre--modern poetic texts originating in the Middle East, (2) Western poetry that engages experiences in and images of the Middle East, and (3) contemporary self- views of Middle Easterners from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, etc.

Middle East in World Poetry involves the close and appreciative reading of poetry in English or in English translation with “Middle Eastern” forms, images, content, and themes. Course reading and discussion take place in the context of relevant concepts and themes, among them: culture, the Middle East, Middle Eastern Islam, cultural and political nationalism, academic Orientalism and Orientalist art, Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) and critiques of the book, post-colonialism, definitions of poetry, Romanticism(s), and practical English/American approaches to reading poetry from A.C. Bradley’s in “Poetry for Poetry’s Sake” (1901) to Perrine’s Sound and Sense (1950s to 2000s).

The course aims to: (1) lead to a new definition of the Middle East inspired by relevant poetry composed in or translated into the English language; (2) suggest cultural insights that poetry can offer adults in today's multicultural world, in this case insights into perceptions on the part of English- speaking poets about the Middle East and culture-specific self-revelation by Middle Easterners through their Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Kurdish, Pashto, and Turkish poems, and poems in English; (3) help increase facility and confidence in independent reading of and reactions to culturally charged poetic texts; and (4) help improve skills in one’s writing about writing and in editing one’s own writing.

In the last-named regard, 42% of the course grade relates to writing; i.e., eight, two-page papers on assigned poems, with peer review of sample statements from each assignment in the session following assignment submission; and a book review submitted in draft and critiqued and then submitted in revised form. Instead of one of the papers on assigned poems, students can choose to submit a poem that they revise throughout the course in response to peer and instructor critiques.

Texts

Required course texts consist of a book-length guide to the Middle East chosen by the student and English-language poems and English translations of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish poems, along with critical writing, compiled in a packet called “The Middle East in World Poetry: A Course Syllabus,” available on the course Blackboard. The selection of Arab and Afghan texts has benefited substantially from recommendations by comparatist critic Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh and suggestions by Arabic literature specialist Tarek El-Ariss and Hebrew literature specialist Karen Grumberg. The course packet also includes a guide to Internet resources on course poets and poems, a bibliography of biographical and critical writing on course texts and authors, and relevant studies on the Middle East.

Grading

The bases for course grades are: almost daily open-book exercises (8% of the course grade), class participation and oral reports on assigned poems (10%), eight two-page essays on assigned poems (4% each), a book review on on an approved book about the Middle East (10%), and two review tests (20% each). The course grading scale is: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D + (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), and F (0-59). Information about absences and special accommodations appears on the course Blackboard.

ISL 373 • Iranian Culture

42178 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 208
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342 )
show description

This Iranian Culture course describes the cultural heritage and identity of Iran and its Persian- speaking peoples in the context of standard definitions of culture. The course has two aims: (1) to develop familiarity with cultural facts of life and traditions that have made the Iranian region a significant and distinctive cultural arena for nearly 3,000 years; and (2) to discern and identify roles that cultural traditions and culture-specific attitudes played in Pahlavi Iran (1921-1979) and play in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979- ) and in the lives of Iranians abroad.The core course activity consists of the examination and discussion of these “texts”: Iranian postage stamps with culture-specific images • three stories from Ferdowsi’s Shâhnâmeh [Book of Kings] (1010) • The Koran and Sufi Texts • Iranian history as a “text” • medieval miniature painting • Persian carpet designs • Khâqâni’s “Ode to Ctesiphon” • Hâfezian ghazals (14th century) • Safavid (1501–1622) and Qâjâr (1`795–1925) painting • Edward FitzGerald’s The Rubaíyát of Omar Khayyám (5th edition, 1889) • The Rebirth of Rostam (2002, animation film) • Qaysar (1970, feature film) • contemporary Iranian art • classic Iranian jokes • Iranian short stories with culture-specific content and themes • 20th-century Persian poems by Mehdi Akhavan-e Sâles, Forugh Farrokhzâd, Siyâvash Kasrâ’i, Sohrâb Sepehri, and Nimâ Yushij. Developing ideas first presented in Iranian Culture: A Persianist View (1992, revised printing), the course concludes with: (1) a discussion of factors that have contributed to the survival and vitality of Iranian culture, (2) a characterization of Persian Iranian cultural identity (e.g., Ahmad Ashraf, iranicaonline.org) and cultural nationalism (e.g., Ali Ferdowsi on Hâfez), and (3) a consideration of issues in Iranian culture that concern many educated Iranians in Iran and abroad (e.g., Tâhereh Shaykholeslâm in Âsheqâneh Magazine, partially translated in Advanced Persian Reader (2013).

Texts

The only required course textbook is Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (2006) by Firoozeh Dumas. Other course materials appear in a packet of materials called “Iranian Culture Syllabus,” available on the course’s online Blackboard and photocopy at a nearby off-campus copy center. Besides texts and commentary on cited subjects, “Iranian Culture Syllabus” also contains glossaries of terms on culture and the ta’ârof system of polite and deferential speech in Persian, a series of chronologies on history, religion, language, literature, and cinema, and a course bibliography, some items in which appear online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann. In the case of PowerPoint and slide presentations, students have access to them on a memory stick available for uploading onto their laptop computers at the end of class sessions involving such presentations.

Grading

The bases for course grades are: class participation (10%), daily open-book exercises or minute papers (1% of the course grade each), a book report on an assigned book from the course bibliography (20% of the course grade), and two review tests (20% of the course grade each). The course grading scale is: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D + (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), and F (0-59). Information about attendance, religious holidays and holydays, and accommodations for students with disabilities appears on the course Blackboard.

ISL 373 • Rumi & Persian Sufi Tradition

42187 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CAL 422
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342 )
show description

Since the mid-1980s, collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and perhaps the most popular poet in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described the Sufi poet as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the Persian-speaking world, Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture.

This Rumi and Sufism course, designed for undergraduate students either with and without a background in Iranian Studies or Islamic Studies or the Persian language, examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of representative texts of Persian poems in English translation in the three-fold context of: (1) The Koran, (2) the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and (3) traditional Iranian literary culture. The three cited contexts serve as backdrop for appreciation of Rumi's poetry and the Rumi phenomenon, which course readings and discussion address.

In addition to its focus on the Koran, Sufism, and Iranian culture as embodied in the works of Rumi and other medieval Persian poets, the course also devotes significant attention to writing about writing in the form of six, two-page papers on assigned texts and a ten-page term paper on an assigned text in the framework of the three contexts cited above. Peer review of writing assignments are part of the process, and students receive extra credit for having drafts of assignments critiqued at the Undergraduate Writing Center. As for the term paper, students discuss a draft of it with the instructor at least a week before its due date.

Required Course Texts. Faridoddin 'Attâr’s Conference of the Birds, translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi (Penguin Classics, 2004, ISBN: 014044343); Reza Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8129-8244-2; The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood (Penguin Classics, 2008, ISBN:1439515549); Franklin Lewis’s Rumi–Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Oneworld 2007, revised edition, ISBN:1851685499); and “Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition: A Packet of Persian Texts in Translation and Essays on Sufism,” compiled by Michael Craig Hillmann, online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann and on the course’s Blackboard.

Course Grading. Course grading takes into account class recitation, including oral reports and group discussions (20% of the course grade), six two-page papers on assigned texts (4% of the course grade each), a term paper on an assigned text related to a course concept or context (15% of the course grade), and two review tests (20% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70– 72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination. For information on excused absences, accommodations with respect to disabilities, and academic honesty, see the course Blackboard.

MEL 321 • Iranian Culture

42279 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 208
(also listed as ISL 373, MES 342 )
show description

This Iranian Culture course describes the cultural heritage and identity of Iran and its Persian- speaking peoples in the context of standard definitions of culture. The course has two aims: (1) to develop familiarity with cultural facts of life and traditions that have made the Iranian region a significant and distinctive cultural arena for nearly 3,000 years; and (2) to discern and identify roles that cultural traditions and culture-specific attitudes played in Pahlavi Iran (1921-1979) and play in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979- ) and in the lives of Iranians abroad.The core course activity consists of the examination and discussion of these “texts”: Iranian postage stamps with culture-specific images • three stories from Ferdowsi’s Shâhnâmeh [Book of Kings] (1010) • The Koran and Sufi Texts • Iranian history as a “text” • medieval miniature painting • Persian carpet designs • Khâqâni’s “Ode to Ctesiphon” • Hâfezian ghazals (14th century) • Safavid (1501–1622) and Qâjâr (1`795–1925) painting • Edward FitzGerald’s The Rubaíyát of Omar Khayyám (5th edition, 1889) • The Rebirth of Rostam (2002, animation film) • Qaysar (1970, feature film) • contemporary Iranian art • classic Iranian jokes • Iranian short stories with culture-specific content and themes • 20th-century Persian poems by Mehdi Akhavan-e Sâles, Forugh Farrokhzâd, Siyâvash Kasrâ’i, Sohrâb Sepehri, and Nimâ Yushij. Developing ideas first presented in Iranian Culture: A Persianist View (1992, revised printing), the course concludes with: (1) a discussion of factors that have contributed to the survival and vitality of Iranian culture, (2) a characterization of Persian Iranian cultural identity (e.g., Ahmad Ashraf, iranicaonline.org) and cultural nationalism (e.g., Ali Ferdowsi on Hâfez), and (3) a consideration of issues in Iranian culture that concern many educated Iranians in Iran and abroad (e.g., Tâhereh Shaykholeslâm in Âsheqâneh Magazine, partially translated in Advanced Persian Reader (2013).

Texts

The only required course textbook is Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (2006) by Firoozeh Dumas. Other course materials appear in a packet of materials called “Iranian Culture Syllabus,” available on the course’s online Blackboard and photocopy at a nearby off-campus copy center. Besides texts and commentary on cited subjects, “Iranian Culture Syllabus” also contains glossaries of terms on culture and the ta’ârof system of polite and deferential speech in Persian, a series of chronologies on history, religion, language, literature, and cinema, and a course bibliography, some items in which appear online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann. In the case of PowerPoint and slide presentations, students have access to them on a memory stick available for uploading onto their laptop computers at the end of class sessions involving such presentations.

Grading

The bases for course grades are: class participation (10%), daily open-book exercises or minute papers (1% of the course grade each), a book report on an assigned book from the course bibliography (20% of the course grade), and two review tests (20% of the course grade each). The course grading scale is: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D + (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), and F (0-59). Information about attendance, religious holidays and holydays, and accommodations for students with disabilities appears on the course Blackboard.

MEL 321 • Rumi & Persian Sufi Tradition

42290 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CAL 422
(also listed as ISL 373, MES 342 )
show description

Since the mid-1980s, collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and perhaps the most popular poet in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described the Sufi poet as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the Persian-speaking world, Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture.

This Rumi and Sufism course, designed for undergraduate students either with and without a background in Iranian Studies or Islamic Studies or the Persian language, examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of representative texts of Persian poems in English translation in the three-fold context of: (1) The Koran, (2) the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and (3) traditional Iranian literary culture. The three cited contexts serve as backdrop for appreciation of Rumi's poetry and the Rumi phenomenon, which course readings and discussion address.

In addition to its focus on the Koran, Sufism, and Iranian culture as embodied in the works of Rumi and other medieval Persian poets, the course also devotes significant attention to writing about writing in the form of six, two-page papers on assigned texts and a ten-page term paper on an assigned text in the framework of the three contexts cited above. Peer review of writing assignments are part of the process, and students receive extra credit for having drafts of assignments critiqued at the Undergraduate Writing Center. As for the term paper, students discuss a draft of it with the instructor at least a week before its due date.

Required Course Texts. Faridoddin 'Attâr’s Conference of the Birds, translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi (Penguin Classics, 2004, ISBN: 014044343); Reza Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8129-8244-2; The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood (Penguin Classics, 2008, ISBN:1439515549); Franklin Lewis’s Rumi–Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Oneworld 2007, revised edition, ISBN:1851685499); and “Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition: A Packet of Persian Texts in Translation and Essays on Sufism,” compiled by Michael Craig Hillmann, online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann and on the course’s Blackboard.

Course Grading. Course grading takes into account class recitation, including oral reports and group discussions (20% of the course grade), six two-page papers on assigned texts (4% of the course grade each), a term paper on an assigned text related to a course concept or context (15% of the course grade), and two review tests (20% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70– 72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination. For information on excused absences, accommodations with respect to disabilities, and academic honesty, see the course Blackboard.

MES 342 • Iranian Culture

42517 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 208
(also listed as ISL 373, MEL 321 )
show description

This Iranian Culture course describes the cultural heritage and identity of Iran and its Persian- speaking peoples in the context of standard definitions of culture. The course has two aims: (1) to develop familiarity with cultural facts of life and traditions that have made the Iranian region a significant and distinctive cultural arena for nearly 3,000 years; and (2) to discern and identify roles that cultural traditions and culture-specific attitudes played in Pahlavi Iran (1921-1979) and play in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979- ) and in the lives of Iranians abroad.The core course activity consists of the examination and discussion of these “texts”: Iranian postage stamps with culture-specific images • three stories from Ferdowsi’s Shâhnâmeh [Book of Kings] (1010) • The Koran and Sufi Texts • Iranian history as a “text” • medieval miniature painting • Persian carpet designs • Khâqâni’s “Ode to Ctesiphon” • Hâfezian ghazals (14th century) • Safavid (1501–1622) and Qâjâr (1`795–1925) painting • Edward FitzGerald’s The Rubaíyát of Omar Khayyám (5th edition, 1889) • The Rebirth of Rostam (2002, animation film) • Qaysar (1970, feature film) • contemporary Iranian art • classic Iranian jokes • Iranian short stories with culture-specific content and themes • 20th-century Persian poems by Mehdi Akhavan-e Sâles, Forugh Farrokhzâd, Siyâvash Kasrâ’i, Sohrâb Sepehri, and Nimâ Yushij. Developing ideas first presented in Iranian Culture: A Persianist View (1992, revised printing), the course concludes with: (1) a discussion of factors that have contributed to the survival and vitality of Iranian culture, (2) a characterization of Persian Iranian cultural identity (e.g., Ahmad Ashraf, iranicaonline.org) and cultural nationalism (e.g., Ali Ferdowsi on Hâfez), and (3) a consideration of issues in Iranian culture that concern many educated Iranians in Iran and abroad (e.g., Tâhereh Shaykholeslâm in Âsheqâneh Magazine, partially translated in Advanced Persian Reader (2013).

Texts

The only required course textbook is Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (2006) by Firoozeh Dumas. Other course materials appear in a packet of materials called “Iranian Culture Syllabus,” available on the course’s online Blackboard and photocopy at a nearby off-campus copy center. Besides texts and commentary on cited subjects, “Iranian Culture Syllabus” also contains glossaries of terms on culture and the ta’ârof system of polite and deferential speech in Persian, a series of chronologies on history, religion, language, literature, and cinema, and a course bibliography, some items in which appear online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann. In the case of PowerPoint and slide presentations, students have access to them on a memory stick available for uploading onto their laptop computers at the end of class sessions involving such presentations.

Grading

The bases for course grades are: class participation (10%), daily open-book exercises or minute papers (1% of the course grade each), a book report on an assigned book from the course bibliography (20% of the course grade), and two review tests (20% of the course grade each). The course grading scale is: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D + (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), and F (0-59). Information about attendance, religious holidays and holydays, and accommodations for students with disabilities appears on the course Blackboard.

MES 342 • Rumi & Persian Sufi Tradition

42525 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CAL 422
(also listed as ISL 373, MEL 321 )
show description

Since the mid-1980s, collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and perhaps the most popular poet in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described the Sufi poet as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the Persian-speaking world, Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture.

This Rumi and Sufism course, designed for undergraduate students either with and without a background in Iranian Studies or Islamic Studies or the Persian language, examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of representative texts of Persian poems in English translation in the three-fold context of: (1) The Koran, (2) the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and (3) traditional Iranian literary culture. The three cited contexts serve as backdrop for appreciation of Rumi's poetry and the Rumi phenomenon, which course readings and discussion address.

In addition to its focus on the Koran, Sufism, and Iranian culture as embodied in the works of Rumi and other medieval Persian poets, the course also devotes significant attention to writing about writing in the form of six, two-page papers on assigned texts and a ten-page term paper on an assigned text in the framework of the three contexts cited above. Peer review of writing assignments are part of the process, and students receive extra credit for having drafts of assignments critiqued at the Undergraduate Writing Center. As for the term paper, students discuss a draft of it with the instructor at least a week before its due date.

Required Course Texts. Faridoddin 'Attâr’s Conference of the Birds, translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi (Penguin Classics, 2004, ISBN: 014044343); Reza Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8129-8244-2; The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood (Penguin Classics, 2008, ISBN:1439515549); Franklin Lewis’s Rumi–Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (Oneworld 2007, revised edition, ISBN:1851685499); and “Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition: A Packet of Persian Texts in Translation and Essays on Sufism,” compiled by Michael Craig Hillmann, online at Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann and on the course’s Blackboard.

Course Grading. Course grading takes into account class recitation, including oral reports and group discussions (20% of the course grade), six two-page papers on assigned texts (4% of the course grade each), a term paper on an assigned text related to a course concept or context (15% of the course grade), and two review tests (20% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70– 72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination. For information on excused absences, accommodations with respect to disabilities, and academic honesty, see the course Blackboard.

MEL 321 • Iranian Fiction

42185 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as MES 342 )
show description

After a continuous history of a thousand years in which verse figured much more significantly than prose, Persian literature began turning attention to Iranian prose fiction in the early years of the 20th century. By mid-century, prose fiction became the leading form of Iranian literary expression and remains so in the second decade of the 21st century. This survey course traces that development and focusses on classics of Persian prose fiction during the Pahlavi Era from 1921 to the overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy and establishment of the Islamic Republic in early 1979. The chief course business is a close reading and discussion of classics of Persian fiction in the contexts of, first, 20th-century Iranian society and culture and, second, the craft of fiction. The course uses works of Persian fiction as a window into Iranian culture to glean from them Iranian self-views about modernization and Westernization, cultural and political nationalism, patriarchy and ruler- subject relations, religion, and women. The course also seeks to reach appreciative conclusions as to the critical appeal of classic works of Persian fiction qua fiction. The course calendar cites the required course readings, i.e., seven novels in paperback and ten+ short stories, a screenplay, and critical writing that appear in the “Iranian Fiction Course Packet” on the course Blackboard, as well as online materials (e.g., at iranica.com, JStor, and Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann).

Course activities include open-book exercises, group exercises and discussions (break-out and whole class), oral reports, and the viewing of feature films based on course texts.

Grading

Class participation (10% of the course grade); eight two-page papers, each analyzing a specific, assigned work of fiction (4% of the course grade each), a book report on a study of Persian fiction chosen from a list in the course bibliography (10% of the course grade), and two review tests (25% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83– 86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). Students who miss a class in order to observe a religious holy day will have the opportunity to complete the missed work. Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone) or http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ddce/ssd.

Note: Students with advanced Persian reading skills can participate in a parallel, one-credit PRS 130D course in which they read self-contained passages from Sadegh Hedayat’s Buf-e Kur in the original Persian as presented in the context of advanced Persian reading lessons.

MES 342 • Iranian Fiction

42365 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as MEL 321 )
show description

After a continuous history of a thousand years in which verse figured much more significantly than prose, Persian literature began turning attention to Iranian prose fiction in the early years of the 20th century. By mid-century, prose fiction became the leading form of Iranian literary expression and remains so in the second decade of the 21st century. This survey course traces that development and focusses on classics of Persian prose fiction during the Pahlavi Era from 1921 to the overthrow of the Pahlavi monarchy and establishment of the Islamic Republic in early 1979. The chief course business is a close reading and discussion of classics of Persian fiction in the contexts of, first, 20th-century Iranian society and culture and, second, the craft of fiction. The course uses works of Persian fiction as a window into Iranian culture to glean from them Iranian self-views about modernization and Westernization, cultural and political nationalism, patriarchy and ruler- subject relations, religion, and women. The course also seeks to reach appreciative conclusions as to the critical appeal of classic works of Persian fiction qua fiction. The course calendar cites the required course readings, i.e., seven novels in paperback and ten+ short stories, a screenplay, and critical writing that appear in the “Iranian Fiction Course Packet” on the course Blackboard, as well as online materials (e.g., at iranica.com, JStor, and Academia.edu/Michael Hillmann).

Course activities include open-book exercises, group exercises and discussions (break-out and whole class), oral reports, and the viewing of feature films based on course texts.

Grading

Class participation (10% of the course grade); eight two-page papers, each analyzing a specific, assigned work of fiction (4% of the course grade each), a book report on a study of Persian fiction chosen from a list in the course bibliography (10% of the course grade), and two review tests (25% of the course grade each). The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83– 86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). Students who miss a class in order to observe a religious holy day will have the opportunity to complete the missed work. Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone) or http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ddce/ssd.

Note: Students with advanced Persian reading skills can participate in a parallel, one-credit PRS 130D course in which they read self-contained passages from Sadegh Hedayat’s Buf-e Kur in the original Persian as presented in the context of advanced Persian reading lessons.

PRS 130D • Persian Across Disciplines

42545 • Fall 2013
Meets W 300pm-400pm UTC 4.120
show description

An advanced Persian reading seminar on Iran’s most famous and controversial work of prose fiction ever,    Sâdeq Hedâyat’s Buf-e Kur [(The) Blind Owl] (1937, 1941). Instruction and class discussion take place in Persian.Seminar sessions consist of a close reading of self-contained passages from the author’s original handwritten copy of Buf-e Kur [(The) Blind Owl] (1937, 1941) in a course packet that also includes a series of advanced Persian reading lessons treating Buf-e Kur and a draft of Michael Craig Hillmann’s critical study called The Love Song of M. Sadegh Hedayat. Students can also make use of any edition of D.P. Costello’s translation called The Blind Owl (1957, 1989, 1994, 2010).

Weekly reading assignments include self-contained passages from Buf-e Kur and assigned units from Persian Grammar and Verbs (2012). Copies of Persian Grammar and Verbs are available to students in the PCL Reference Room and in PCL Stacks.

Course grades are based on class participation and recitation (60%) and a review test (40%) that takes place on the third to the last course session. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MEL 321 • Persian Art Past And Present

41785 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 1.108
(also listed as MES 342 )
show description

For over 2,500 years, the Persians [=Iranians] have been a dominant cultural and artistic force on the Iranian plateau. Although their art has taken many forms, it has proved both remarkably consistent in its expression of arguably enduring cultural themes and values and often aesthetically remarkable in culture-specific terms. This introductory survey course presents great moments in representative media of Persian art from the Achaemenid Empire (559-330 B.C.E.) to the beginning of the 21st century.

The course introduces Iranian art objects and forms in chronological order, but does not engage in art history for a variety of reasons. First, the Iranian art scene seems to fit Walt Whitman’s famous lines on his American day and age: “There was never any more inception than there is now, / And will never be any more perfection than there is now.” Second, almost all surviving architectural monuments, including ruins, have a distinctive ahistorical vitality for those Iranians who enjoy art and who exhibit an Iranian past-present cultural duality. Third, because pre-Islamic figural images figure in contemporary art, because pre-modern Islamic calligraphy survives as a vital Iranian art form, because traditional Persian painting styles remain popular, and because pre-modern Persian carpet designs remain the most popular designs today, an art historical focus on Iranian art may not lead directly to an elucidation of Iranian cultural features and culture-specific aesthetic elements.

Instead, Persian Art Past and Present situates Iranian art objects and forms in a cultural context which pays less attention to the sociology of art production in the past or intended original audiences than to how those art objects and forms resonate for Iranians today (whose distinctive takes on history, items in the course bibliography present). Accordingly, the course treats the cultural significance of the status of calligraphy and oriental carpet-weaving as major arts in today’s Iran, reasons for an idealized spring season and paradise gardens as primary images in much Iranian art, gardens themselves as art objects, the curious myth of the prohibition of the representation of human figures in Islamic art on the Iranian plateau, the balance and tension between curvilinear and rectilinear patterns in much Iranian art, the depiction of divinity or heaven in some traditional art forms (e.g., architectural decoration, manuscript pages, and oriental carpet designs), the distinctively Iranian role that non-religious written texts play in the subject matter of Iranian painting, and arguably Iranian aesthetics of decoration.

Persian Art Past and Present has two chief aims. First, the course endeavors to help participants to identify and appreciate underlying cultural messages and artistic impulses in Iranian art objects and forms that seem essential in any definition of Persianness or Iranianness in those Iranians who produce and enjoy Iranian art. Second, the course endeavors to encourage course participants, through their exposure to art objects and to basic principles of aesthetic appeal in the visual arts, to think of buildings, paintings, gardens, textiles, calligraphy, and like as enjoyable visual experiences.

 TEXTS/READINGS

  • “Art in Iran,” Encyclopaedia Iranica (1986–2011, available online at iranicaonline.org).
  • “Iranian Identity” by Ahmad Ashraf, Encyclopaedia Iranica (1986–2011, available online at iranicaonline.org).    
  • Various museum and academic web sites presenting images of Iranian art objects (e.g., shahnama.caret.cam.ac.uk/new/jnama/page/), their viewing assigned daily in anticipation of an upcoming classroom discussion subject. The term“slides” in the Course Presentation and Discussion Subjects below denotes physical slides, images in PowerPoint presentations, and images on websites.
  • Ways of Seeing by John Berger (Penguin Classics (1990). •       
  • Ovissi [paintings by] Nasser Ovissi (La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca, 1988)• 
  • Hafez, Dance of Life [illumination by Hossein Zenderoudi (Mage Publishers, 1988).
  • “Persian Art Past and Present Course Packet,” compiled by Michael Craig Hillmann (Online, 2012), containing an annotated course bibliography with critiques of art historical writing on medieval and post-medieval Persian painting and textiles and several essays on dualities in Iranian culture.

GRADING POLICY

Course grades are based on class participation (10% of the course grade), two review tests (35% of the course grade each), and a book report (20%) on a book chosen from the course bibliography in consultation with the instructor. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MES 342 • Persian Art Past And Present

41905 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 1.108
(also listed as MEL 321 )
show description

For over 2,500 years, the Persians [=Iranians] have been a dominant cultural and artistic force on the Iranian plateau. Although their art has taken many forms, it has proved both remarkably consistent in its expression of arguably enduring cultural themes and values and often aesthetically remarkable in culture-specific terms. This introductory survey course presents great moments in representative media of Persian art from the Achaemenid Empire (559-330 B.C.E.) to the beginning of the 21st century.

The course introduces Iranian art objects and forms in chronological order, but does not engage in art history for a variety of reasons. First, the Iranian art scene seems to fit Walt Whitman’s famous lines on his American day and age: “There was never any more inception than there is now, / And will never be any more perfection than there is now.” Second, almost all surviving architectural monuments, including ruins, have a distinctive ahistorical vitality for those Iranians who enjoy art and who exhibit an Iranian past-present cultural duality. Third, because pre-Islamic figural images figure in contemporary art, because pre-modern Islamic calligraphy survives as a vital Iranian art form, because traditional Persian painting styles remain popular, and because pre-modern Persian carpet designs remain the most popular designs today, an art historical focus on Iranian art may not lead directly to an elucidation of Iranian cultural features and culture-specific aesthetic elements.

Instead, Persian Art Past and Present situates Iranian art objects and forms in a cultural context which pays less attention to the sociology of art production in the past or intended original audiences than to how those art objects and forms resonate for Iranians today (whose distinctive takes on history, items in the course bibliography present). Accordingly, the course treats the cultural significance of the status of calligraphy and oriental carpet-weaving as major arts in today’s Iran, reasons for an idealized spring season and paradise gardens as primary images in much Iranian art, gardens themselves as art objects, the curious myth of the prohibition of the representation of human figures in Islamic art on the Iranian plateau, the balance and tension between curvilinear and rectilinear patterns in much Iranian art, the depiction of divinity or heaven in some traditional art forms (e.g., architectural decoration, manuscript pages, and oriental carpet designs), the distinctively Iranian role that non-religious written texts play in the subject matter of Iranian painting, and arguably Iranian aesthetics of decoration.

Persian Art Past and Present has two chief aims. First, the course endeavors to help participants to identify and appreciate underlying cultural messages and artistic impulses in Iranian art objects and forms that seem essential in any definition of Persianness or Iranianness in those Iranians who produce and enjoy Iranian art. Second, the course endeavors to encourage course participants, through their exposure to art objects and to basic principles of aesthetic appeal in the visual arts, to think of buildings, paintings, gardens, textiles, calligraphy, and like as enjoyable visual experiences.

 TEXTS/READINGS

  • “Art in Iran,” Encyclopaedia Iranica (1986–2011, available online at iranicaonline.org).
  • “Iranian Identity” by Ahmad Ashraf, Encyclopaedia Iranica (1986–2011, available online at iranicaonline.org).    
  • Various museum and academic web sites presenting images of Iranian art objects (e.g., shahnama.caret.cam.ac.uk/new/jnama/page/), their viewing assigned daily in anticipation of an upcoming classroom discussion subject. The term“slides” in the Course Presentation and Discussion Subjects below denotes physical slides, images in PowerPoint presentations, and images on websites.
  • Ways of Seeing by John Berger (Penguin Classics (1990). •       
  • Ovissi [paintings by] Nasser Ovissi (La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca, 1988)• 
  • Hafez, Dance of Life [illumination by Hossein Zenderoudi (Mage Publishers, 1988).
  • “Persian Art Past and Present Course Packet,” compiled by Michael Craig Hillmann (Online, 2012), containing an annotated course bibliography with critiques of art historical writing on medieval and post-medieval Persian painting and textiles and several essays on dualities in Iranian culture.

GRADING POLICY

Course grades are based on class participation (10% of the course grade), two review tests (35% of the course grade each), and a book report (20%) on a book chosen from the course bibliography in consultation with the instructor. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59).

MEL 321 • Classics Of Persian Poetry

41610 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.208
(also listed as MES 342 )
show description

This survey course introduces students without any background in Iranian Studies or the Persian language to translations of classic texts of Persian literature, which has a history of 1,100+ years and which has long struck many readers and critics as having one of the richest traditions of poetry in the world. Moreover, Persian literature, especially poetry and especially pre-modern Persian, have special culture significance in Iranian society. Consequently, familiarization here means both the appreciation of the literary or aesthetic features of classic poems, short stories, novels, and plays and the appreciation of those texts as windows into Iranian culture.

The chief two-fold activity is the close reading and group discussion of course texts with three aims: accounting for the bases for the literary appeal and enjoyment of specific texts, discerning non-Western features in those texts that may play roles in the Iranian appreciation of them as classics, and accounting for culture-specific features and content in the texts.

Texts

The four required course texts are:

• Attar, Faridoddin. Conference of the Birds. Translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi. Penguin Classics, 1984.

• Ferdowsi, Abolqasem. The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings. Translated by Dick Davis. Penguin Classics, 2009.

• Hillmann, Michael Craig. Compiler and editor. Classics of Persian Literature, 900–2000. Unpublished manuscript, 2005.

• Nezami Ganjavi. Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian Romance. Translated by Julie Scott Meisami. Oxford World Classics, 1995.

• Parsipour, Shahrnoush. Women without Men. Translated by Faridun Farrokh. Feminist Press, 2012 (second edition).

 

Grading

Course grades are based on class participation (20% of the course grade), assigned recitations and reports (30%), two review tests (15% of the course grade each), and a term paper (20%). The course has no final examination.

MES 342 • Classics Of Persian Poetry

41698 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.208
(also listed as MEL 321 )
show description

This survey course introduces students without any background in Iranian Studies or the Persian language to translations of classic texts of Persian literature, which has a history of 1,100+ years and which has long struck many readers and critics as having one of the richest traditions of poetry in the world. Moreover, Persian literature, especially poetry and especially pre-modern Persian, have special culture significance in Iranian society. Consequently, familiarization here means both the appreciation of the literary or aesthetic features of classic poems, short stories, novels, and plays and the appreciation of those texts as windows into Iranian culture.

The chief two-fold activity is the close reading and group discussion of course texts with three aims: accounting for the bases for the literary appeal and enjoyment of specific texts, discerning non-Western features in those texts that may play roles in the Iranian appreciation of them as classics, and accounting for culture-specific features and content in the texts.

Texts

The four required course texts are:

• Attar, Faridoddin. Conference of the Birds. Translated by Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi. Penguin Classics, 1984.

• Ferdowsi, Abolqasem. The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings. Translated by Dick Davis. Penguin Classics, 2009.

• Hillmann, Michael Craig. Compiler and editor. Classics of Persian Literature, 900–2000. Unpublished manuscript, 2005.

• Nezami Ganjavi. Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian Romance. Translated by Julie Scott Meisami. Oxford World Classics, 1995.

• Parsipour, Shahrnoush. Women without Men. Translated by Faridun Farrokh. Feminist Press, 2012 (second edition).

 

Grading

Course grades are based on class participation (20% of the course grade), assigned recitations and reports (30%), two review tests (15% of the course grade each), and a term paper (20%). The course has no final examination.

MES 322K • Self-Revlatn In Women's Wrt

41710 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ B0.302
(also listed as AFR 374, C L 323, PRS 361, WGS 340 )
show description

Course Description

Persian lyric poetry from the Iranian plateau and beyond and American prose fiction constitute two of the most vital literary traditions in world literature. This course deals with one prominent figure in each, the Iranian lyric poet Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967) and the American fiction writer Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). A three-fold rationale accounts for the comparative pairing and study of these two writers and their works in the course. First, both writers have special and similar relationships to the literary traditions in which they wrote because of their gender and because of Farrokhzad's lack of participation in Muslim culture and Hurston's African ancestry. Second, Farrokhzad and Hurston exhibit similar subject matter interests and points of view, presumably in part because of their modernist perspectives and similar removes from mainstream cultural and social power bases. Third, they use prose fiction and lyric poetry, respectively, as vehicles for self-revelation and self-realization. Such self- revelation has particular significance both because of its cultural unexpectedness in their respective traditions and because of mixed consequent mainstream reaction to it.

 

Texts

As the following list of required course readings implies, course attention will focus on close readings of the chief writings of Hurston and Farrokhzad in the contexts of the practice of autobiography and Iranian vis-à-vis American culture.

Farrokhzad, Forugh. Sounds That Remain: Forty Poems in English Translation. Introduced and translated by Michael Craig Hillmann. 1988.

Hillmann, Michael Craig. "An Autobiographical Voice: Forugh Farrokhzad." Women's Autobiographies in Contemporary Iran. 1990.

__________. "Dust Tracks on a Road as Autobiography." Zora Neale Hurston Forum. 1997. Hurston, Zora Neale. "Drenched in Light." 1924. __________. Dust Tracks on a Road. 1942. __________. Jonah’s Gourd Vine. 1934.

__________. Seraph on the Suwanee. 1948. __________. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937.

 

Grading & Requirements

Course grades will relate to: (1) class participation [20% of the course grade]; (2) two oral presentations, one a report on an assigned primary course (i.e., a poem or a discrete part of a novel) and the second a report on an assigned secondary source (i.e., a biography or a theoretical or critical study) [15% of the course grade each]; (3) a review test on the third to the last day of the course [25% of the course grade]; and (4) a research paper on a subject determined in consultation with the instructor [25% of the course grade].

PRS 361 • Self-Revlatn In Women's Wrt

41930 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ B0.302
(also listed as AFR 374, C L 323, MES 322K, WGS 340 )
show description

Course Description

Persian lyric poetry from the Iranian plateau and beyond and American prose fiction constitute two of the most vital literary traditions in world literature. This course deals with one prominent figure in each, the Iranian lyric poet Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967) and the American fiction writer Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). A three-fold rationale accounts for the comparative pairing and study of these two writers and their works in the course. First, both writers have special and similar relationships to the literary traditions in which they wrote because of their gender and because of Farrokhzad's lack of participation in Muslim culture and Hurston's African ancestry. Second, Farrokhzad and Hurston exhibit similar subject matter interests and points of view, presumably in part because of their modernist perspectives and similar removes from mainstream cultural and social power bases. Third, they use prose fiction and lyric poetry, respectively, as vehicles for self-revelation and self-realization. Such self- revelation has particular significance both because of its cultural unexpectedness in their respective traditions and because of mixed consequent mainstream reaction to it.

 

Texts

As the following list of required course readings implies, course attention will focus on close readings of the chief writings of Hurston and Farrokhzad in the contexts of the practice of autobiography and Iranian vis-à-vis American culture.

Farrokhzad, Forugh. Sounds That Remain: Forty Poems in English Translation. Introduced and translated by Michael Craig Hillmann. 1988.

Hillmann, Michael Craig. "An Autobiographical Voice: Forugh Farrokhzad." Women's Autobiographies in Contemporary Iran. 1990.

__________. "Dust Tracks on a Road as Autobiography." Zora Neale Hurston Forum. 1997. Hurston, Zora Neale. "Drenched in Light." 1924. __________. Dust Tracks on a Road. 1942. __________. Jonah’s Gourd Vine. 1934.

__________. Seraph on the Suwanee. 1948. __________. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937.

 

Grading & Requirements

Course grades will relate to: (1) class participation [20% of the course grade]; (2) two oral presentations, one a report on an assigned primary course (i.e., a poem or a discrete part of a novel) and the second a report on an assigned secondary source (i.e., a biography or a theoretical or critical study) [15% of the course grade each]; (3) a review test on the third to the last day of the course [25% of the course grade]; and (4) a research paper on a subject determined in consultation with the instructor [25% of the course grade].

MES 324K • Iranian Culture

41545 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 2.112
(also listed as PRS 372 )
show description

This Iranian Culture course examines the cultural heritage and identity of Iran and its Persian-speaking people. This course has two aims: (1) to develop familiarity with cultural facts of life and traditions which have made the Iranian region a significant and distinctive cultural arena for nearly 3,000 years; and (2) to discern and identify roles which cultural traditions and culture-specific attitudes played in Pahlavi Iran (1921-1979) and play in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979- ) and in the lives of Iranians abroad. Full course description to be provided by the instructor.

 

Texts

Dumas: Funny in Farsi

Hedayat: The Blind Owl

 

Grading

To be provided by instructor. 

PRS 372 • Iranian Culture

41717 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 2.112
(also listed as MES 324K )
show description

This Iranian Culture course examines the cultural heritage and identity of Iran and its Persian-speaking people. This course has two aims: (1) to develop familiarity with cultural facts of life and traditions which have made the Iranian region a significant and distinctive cultural arena for nearly 3,000 years; and (2) to discern and identify roles which cultural traditions and culture-specific attitudes played in Pahlavi Iran (1921-1979) and play in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979- ) and in the lives of Iranians abroad. Full course description to be provided by the instructor.

 

Texts

Dumas: Funny in Farsi

Hedayat: The Blind Owl

 

Grading

To be provided by instructor. 

MES 322K • Classics Of World Poetry

42085 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WEL 3.260
(also listed as C L 323 )
show description

Course DescriptionThis introduction to poetry examines classic poems from around the world. The course has two aims:first, to familiarize students with the great variety in poetic expression; and second, to come to adefinition of poetry on the basis of poems studied. In both regards, the course seeks also to show howaccessible and enjoyable poetry cna be if readers approach it on its own terms.

Texts

Course packet of photocopies materials called "Classics of World Poetry" Thomas Arp's Perrine's Sound and Sense (9thedition) T.S.Elliot's The Waste Land and other poems: Centenary edition T.S.Elliot's Four Quartets: Centenary editionEdward Fitzgerald's The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Dover edition) Robert Fitzgerald's translation of Aeneid by VirgilShakespeare's Julius Caesar

 

Grading & Requirements

Class participation 10%Four essays five to six pgs/each on assigned readings (40% - 10% each)Final exam 50%

MES 322K • Autobiog: A Modern Lit Species

42130 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as AFR 374, C L 323, WGS 340 )
show description

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Much of the literary world remains in a golden age of auto/biography. Because the very word "autobiography" only came into the English language two hundred years ago and because some scholars hesitate to apply the term to writing before Rousseau's Confessions (1782-9), the form would appear to embody values and deal with issues peculiar to modern humankind. Consequently, the study of literary autobiographies might reveal salient and distinctive features of modern perspectives and world views. Notions of "intellectual" (Edward Shils) and "individual(ity)" (Karl Weintraub) are two. Because some rich literary cultures around the world do not have literary auto/biographical narratives (as distinguished from life stories in general) as a major literary form, the study of autobiography might highlight cultural differences among otherwise "modern" perspectives in different cultures. The idea of the modern (Irving Howe) may prove a Western notion in such terms.

 

Course work involves close reading of classic autobiographical writings, presented in chronological order after a look at biography, seen as an essentially different literary species. The reading focusses both on specific theoretical and literary critical issues introduced in class and discussed in Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives (2010, second edition) by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson and on literary qualities of the writing as narrative. In conjunction with required reading, students keep a journal, devoted to their responses to the readings and their perceptions of their own individuality and life stories.

 

The required course texts are  a packet of photocopied materials (including Plutarch’s “Life of Brutus”) and these paperbacks: Reading Autobiography by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, Confessions by Augustine of Hippo, The Book of Margery Kempe, Essays by Montaigne, The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Autobiography by Ben Franklin, Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot, Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston, A Stone on a Grave by Jalal Al-e Ahmad, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez–An Autobiography by Richard Rodriguez.

 

Grading: The bases for course grades are (1) preparedness for and participation in class discussion (30% of the course grade); (2) an autobiographical journal (of impressions of course readings and reflections on individuality and the modern), photocopied four-page sections of which are critiqued as writing at four points during the course (40% of the course grade); and two review tests (15% of the course grade each). The grading scale used in the course is: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D+ (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination.

 

About the Instructor. Michael Craig Hillmann (M.A., Ph.D., Persian Studies, The University of Chicago) concentrated on autobiographical writing in his graduate study of English literature at Texas State University at San Marcos (M.A., 1997) and has published essays on autobiographical writing by Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Maya Angelou, Forugh Farrokhzad, Sadegh Hedayat, and Zora Neale Hurston. Hillmann has also authored two autobiographical narratives, From Durham to Tehran (1991) and From Classroom to Courtroom (2008), and is at work on To and From a Village in Maine, the final volume in the trilogy.

PRS 329 • Dari, Farsi, & Tajiki Persian

42345 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am UTC 3.120
(also listed as REE 320 )
show description

Description:

This new DFT Persian Course (DFT stands for Dari, Farsi, and Tajiki Persian) consists of an integrated syllabus in shich students begin their study of the Persian language with basic Tajiki Persian reading (in Cyrillic script) and listening, and proceed to the study of Elementary Farsi reading (in Perso-Arabic script), listening, and speaking and Dari Persian listening and reading. They finish the course with survival skills in Persian reading, listening, and speaking and with preparedness to continue the study of Dari, Farsi, or tajiki Persian on their own in self-study or to take an Intermediate, Dari, Farsi, or Tajiki course.

The DFT Persian Course has no prerequisites and does not fulfill any foreign language requirements. DFT Persian emphasizes elementary level reading and listening skills. The course covers the essentials of Persian grammar and presents and practices upwards of 1,500 vocabulary items through exposure to authentic written and spoken texts. By the end of the course, students have listening and reading skills to handle survival situations in Persian.

 

Texts:

A Beginner's Guide to Tajiki, Azim Bayzoev and John Hayward; Tajiki Textbook and Reader (2003), Michael Craig Hillmann; Basic Tajiki Word List (2003), Michael Craig Hillmann; and Tajiki: An Elementary Textbook (two volumes), Nasrullo Khojayori, along with accompanying audio cassette tapes or CDs and DVD materials for all texts in course textbooks. Syllabus units for Farsi Persian come from Persian Reading and Writing (2009), Michael Craig Hillmann, while syllabus units on Dari Persian come from am unpublished archive of authentic written and spoken tests.

 

Grading:

Daily dictation exercises   10%

Daily review exercises   40%

Daily listening, reading, and speaking activities   25%

Final review test   25%

PRS 612C • Intensv Prs For Heritage Spkrs

41829 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 101
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 Designed for Iranian heritage students who have had exposure to Persian speaking and listening, but who have little or no experience reading or writing Persian, this one-semester course fulfills the UT foreign language requirement and prepares students for advanced courses in Persian. The textbook, Persian Reading and Writing (2009), introduces students to the Persian alphabet in the context of useful real words. The bulk of course activity focuses on reading and talking about authentic texts which present the sorts of written Persian part of everyday life in Iranian American communities; e.g., advertisements, application forms, announcements, restaurant menus, online Persian sites, personal and business notes and letters, and general newspaper and magazine articles. Students develop scanning, skimming, and gisting skills through engaging in listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities with course texts and themes.

 

Texts:

Persian Reading and Writing (2009)

 

Grading:

Daily dictation  10%
Daily review exercises  40%
Daily reading and speaking activities  25%
Final review exam  25%

ISL 372 • Rumi & Persian Sufi Tradition

42083 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm CBA 4.344
(also listed as MES 321K, PRS 361, R S 358 )
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Rumi's (Life and) Poetry

and the Persian Sufi Tradition

Spring 2010 . . . TTh 5–6:30 pm . . . CBA 4.344

ISL 372 (42083), MES 312K (42207), PRS 361 (42438), RS 358 (44517)

Course Description. Since the mid-1980s collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and perhaps the most popular poet in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described the Sufi poet as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the Persian-speaking world, Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture.

This Persian literature-in-translation course, designed for undergraduate students without any background in Iranian Studies or the Persian language, examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of representative texts of Persian poems in translation in the four-fold context of (1) The Koran; (2) the history of Islam from the middle of the 7th century CE to the aftermath of the end of the Baghdad Caliphate in 1258, (3) the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and (4) traditional Persian literature. The four cited historical and literary contexts serve as backdrop for appreciation of Rumi's poetry and the Rumi phenomenon, which course readings and discussion address.

On the occasion of this course, a Rumi Teach-In will take place on 7–9 February, involving guest speakers, a panel discussion, film screenings, music, and recitations from Rumi's poetry.

Required course texts are: The Koran (2006) translated by Anonymous and N.J. Dawood; The Koran: A Very Short Introduction (2000) by Michael Cook; Rumi–Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (2007, revised edition) by Franklin Lewis; and a packet of Persian texts in translation and commentary called "Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition," available for purchase at Paradigm Books (407 W. 24th Street) by the second day of the course.

Course grading takes into account class recitation and participation in discussion (30% of the course grade), two review tests (20% of the course grade each), and a term paper (30% of the course grade). Term papers present a personal impression of a Rumi text chosen by the student, that personal impression grounded in concepts and information developed in class and in course readings. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination.

 

 

 

MES 321K • Rumi & Persian Sufi Tradition

42207 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm CBA 4.344
(also listed as ISL 372, PRS 361, R S 358 )
show description

Rumi's (Life and) Poetry

and the Persian Sufi Tradition

Spring 2010 . . . TTh 5–6:30 pm . . . CBA 4.344

ISL 372 (42083), MES 312K (42207), PRS 361 (42438), RS 358 (44517)

Course Description. Since the mid-1980s collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and perhaps the most popular poet in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described the Sufi poet as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the Persian-speaking world, Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture.

This Persian literature-in-translation course, designed for undergraduate students without any background in Iranian Studies or the Persian language, examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of representative texts of Persian poems in translation in the four-fold context of (1) The Koran; (2) the history of Islam from the middle of the 7th century CE to the aftermath of the end of the Baghdad Caliphate in 1258, (3) the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and (4) traditional Persian literature. The four cited historical and literary contexts serve as backdrop for appreciation of Rumi's poetry and the Rumi phenomenon, which course readings and discussion address.

On the occasion of this course, a Rumi Teach-In will take place on 7–9 February, involving guest speakers, a panel discussion, film screenings, music, and recitations from Rumi's poetry.

Required course texts are: The Koran (2006) translated by Anonymous and N.J. Dawood; The Koran: A Very Short Introduction (2000) by Michael Cook; Rumi–Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (2007, revised edition) by Franklin Lewis; and a packet of Persian texts in translation and commentary called "Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition," available for purchase at Paradigm Books (407 W. 24th Street) by the second day of the course.

Course grading takes into account class recitation and participation in discussion (30% of the course grade), two review tests (20% of the course grade each), and a term paper (30% of the course grade). Term papers present a personal impression of a Rumi text chosen by the student, that personal impression grounded in concepts and information developed in class and in course readings. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination.

 

 

 

PRS 361 • Rumi & Persian Sufi Tradition

42438 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm CBA 4.344
(also listed as ISL 372, MES 321K, R S 358 )
show description

Rumi's (Life and) Poetry

and the Persian Sufi Tradition

Spring 2010 . . . TTh 5–6:30 pm . . . CBA 4.344

ISL 372 (42083), MES 312K (42207), PRS 361 (42438), RS 358 (44517)

Course Description. Since the mid-1980s collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and perhaps the most popular poet in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described the Sufi poet as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the Persian-speaking world, Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture.

This Persian literature-in-translation course, designed for undergraduate students without any background in Iranian Studies or the Persian language, examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of representative texts of Persian poems in translation in the four-fold context of (1) The Koran; (2) the history of Islam from the middle of the 7th century CE to the aftermath of the end of the Baghdad Caliphate in 1258, (3) the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and (4) traditional Persian literature. The four cited historical and literary contexts serve as backdrop for appreciation of Rumi's poetry and the Rumi phenomenon, which course readings and discussion address.

On the occasion of this course, a Rumi Teach-In will take place on 7–9 February, involving guest speakers, a panel discussion, film screenings, music, and recitations from Rumi's poetry.

Required course texts are: The Koran (2006) translated by Anonymous and N.J. Dawood; The Koran: A Very Short Introduction (2000) by Michael Cook; Rumi–Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (2007, revised edition) by Franklin Lewis; and a packet of Persian texts in translation and commentary called "Rumi and the Persian Sufi Tradition," available for purchase at Paradigm Books (407 W. 24th Street) by the second day of the course.

Course grading takes into account class recitation and participation in discussion (30% of the course grade), two review tests (20% of the course grade each), and a term paper (30% of the course grade). Term papers present a personal impression of a Rumi text chosen by the student, that personal impression grounded in concepts and information developed in class and in course readings. The grading scale is: A (93–100), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (63-66), D- (60–62), and F (0-59). The course has no final examination.

 

 

 

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