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 News & Events 2018-2019



*Persian 1A & Persian 1B (check the Linguistics Department listing for times and locations)


Related events at Other Academic Institutions

University of California, Berkeley, CMES

Harvard University, CMES


The GuardianTop 10 books based in Tangier

Middle East Studies Lecture, Performance & Film Series

Spring 2019


Wednesday February 6, 6:00pm, Music Building Building 167 

Contexts of Music Making in the Life of the Kurdish Ahl-e Haqq of Guran Region
Speaker:  Dr. Partow Hooshmandrad,  California State University, Fresno, Department of Music


Thursday February 21, 5:15pm, PB 191 (Middle East Studies Program Annual Peace Lecture)

Life in the Universe:  Origin, Evolution, Future
Speaker: Professor Wil van Breugel, Astronomer and Professor Emeritus, University of California, Merced


Friday March 1, 5:00pm, PB 191 (Cosponsored byArmenian Studies Program & Global Music Lecture Series)

Armenian Song Repertoire of the Middle East Part II
Lecture and Performance: Richard Hagopian and Family


Friday March 8, 5:30pm, PB 191 (Cosponsored by Global Music Lecture Series)

Iranian Classical Music Concert
Artists: Behrouz Sadeghian (Santur) & Faramarz Amiri-Ranjbar (Tonbak and Daf)


(Armenian Studies) Monday March 11, 7:30pm, PB 191

How We Live: The Houshamadyan Project 
Speaker: Dr. Vahe Tachjian (Director of the Berlin-based Houshamadyan Project)


March 18-April 24, Henry Madden Library

Nowruz Exhibition (Read)
Curator: Dr. Negin Tahvildary


Wednesday April 24, 6:00pm, Music Building Building 167 

Iranian Music Cultures
Speaker:  Dr. Partow Hooshmandrad,  California State University, Fresno, Department of Music


(Linguistics Department) Thursday April 25, 12:30-1:45pm, PB 390  

Title to be announced
Speaker: Vahideh Rasekhi (Linguistics Department, UCLA)

Evidence of Morphological Passive in Gilaki
Speaker: Zia Khoshsirat (Anthropology Department, UCLA)


(40th Annual Central California Research Symposium-Session J) Wednesday, May 1, 2:00pm, Henry Madden Library, Room 2134

Foot Binarity in Persian Poetic Meters
Speaker: Fatemeh Samavati (Fresno State Linguistics Department)


TBA, LS#5 (*bring a favorite poem or story to share)

An Evening of Persian Literature


Fall 2018

September 28-October 2, 2018, ASA International Humanitarian Film Festival, Weimar-Germany

Newsbreak:  The Middle East Studies Program at California State University, Fresno, announces its sponsorship of the “ASA International Humanitarian Film Festival” in Weimar, Germany

To help with the propagation of profound humanitarian ideas and an academic understanding of the common goals with the “International Humanitarian Film Festival ASA” in Germany, the Middle East Studies Program at California State University, Fresno conveys its academic support for this festival.

Partners in this collaboration shall carry out screenings of pertinent films and topical workshops in order to generate scholarly discourse and engage the academia in humanitarian concerns.  This partnership will take place during and after the culmination of this festival

Fresno State University is located in California, the United States, and the “International Humanitarian Film Festival ASA” takes place in the city of Weimar, in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany.

The second round of this festival will take place from September 28 to October 2, 2018, through the generous support of the city of Weimar

Website for the “International Humanitarian Film Festival ASA”:

(CineCulture) Friday September 21, 5:30pm, Peters Education Center Auditorium 

The Judge
Discussant:  Erika Cohn (Director)


(CineCulture) Friday September October 12, 5:30pm, Perters Education Center Auditorium 

The Homeland
Discussants:  Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn & Dr. Zoulikha Mouffak


Wednesday October 24, 2:00pm, Kremen Education Building 193 

Identity and Musical Performance Among the Kurdish Ahl-e Haqq of Guran
Speaker:  Dr. Partow Hooshmandrad,  California State University, Fresno, Department of Music 


(Cosponsored by Global Music Lecture Series ) Thursday November 8, 5:00pm, PB 191 (*additional interdisciplinary roundtable with Professor Bonnie Wade, Thursday November 8, 11:00am-12:30pm, PB 191)

Traces in Indian Miniature Paintings of Socio-Cultural Connections Between the Mughal Court and the Persianate World
Speaker:  Professor Bonnie C. Wade, University of California, Berkeley


(CineCulture) Friday November 12, 5:30pm, Perters Education Center Auditorium 

Discussant: Lilit Martirosyan (Producer)

(Western Conference on Linguistics 2018) November 30-December 2

Poetic Meter in the Persian Poem Tarji-band Sadii
(Sunday December 2, 10:30-11:00am, PB 136)
Speaker:  Fatemeh Samavati,  California State University, Fresno, Department of Linguistics


Friday December 7, 5:30-6:30, LS#5

An Evening of Persian Literature 


NOWRUZ PIROOZ! more about Nowruz (Spring Equinox)which is celebrated in many regions of the world including West Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus,.....and diaspora communities around the world....NPR: "Nowruz: Persian New Year's Table Celebrates Spring Deliciously"


Middle East Studies Lecture, Performance & Film Series

Fresno State University



Spring 2018

Friday March 2, 5:30pm, PB 191

(Cosponsored by Global Music Lecture Series ) Iranian Classical Music Concert

Performers: Behrouz Sadeghian (Santur) & Faramarz Amiri-Ranjbar (Tonbak and Daf)

(Armenian Studies Program) Wednesday March 7, 7:30pm, PB 191

Armenians on Records: Music Production from Homeland to Diasporas

Speaker: Dr. Yektan Türkyilmaz, Armenian Studies Program, Fourteenth Henry Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor


(MSA-Student Organization) Wednesday March 14, 6:00pm, Peters Education Center Auditorium

1948: Creation and Catastrophe

Followed by a discussion by one of the directors


Wednesday March 21, 11:00-1:00pm, Free Speech Area on Campus

Nowruz Celebrations Table

Organizer: Dr. Negin Tahvildary, Linguistics Department


(Philosophy) Tuesday April 10, 6:00pm, PB 191

Moral Dilemmas of a Development Worker

Speaker: Mohammad Pournik, United Nations Development Program

(MSA-Student Organization) Thursday April 19, 6:00pm, PB 191

Orientalism and Academic Freedom: Institutional Checkpoints on Arabs and Muslims in Academia


Thursday April 26, 5:00pm, PB 191

(Cosponsored by Global Music Lecture Series & Armenian Studies Program) Armenian Song Repertoire of the Middle East

Lecture and Performance: Richard Hagopian (Oud)


Friday April 27, 5:30pm, PB 191

The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi: An Eleventh Century Persian Literary Epic

Speaker : Fatemeh Samavati, Department of Linguistics, Fresno State


Wednesday May 2, 5:30pm, PB 191

Rai Music: From North African Origins to International Success
Speaker : Dr. Amine Tais, Department of Philosophy, Fresno State


(Philosophy) Thursday May 3, 7:00pm, PB 191

The Exclusion of Africa and Asia from the History of Philosophy
Speaker: Dr. Peter K.J. Park, University of Texas, Dallas

Friday May 4, 5:30-6:30, LS#5

An Evening of Persian Literature




Fall 2017

(CineCulture) Friday October 20, 5:30pm

Frame By Frame

Discussant: Farzana Wahidy


(Art & Architecture) October 9-26, Reception: Thursday, October 12th, 5 p.m. to 8:00pm, Phebe Conley Gallery

The Other Eye On Afghanistan - An Exhibition of Photographs by Farzana Wahidy

Artist presentation: Thursday October 12th 3:30 to 5:00, PB 191




Middle East Studies Lecture, Performance & Film Series 2016-2017

Spring 2017


(History) Friday February 3, 9:30-11:45am, PB 390

Ethnic and Religious Minorities in the Ottoman Empire (Roundtable)
Speakers: Dr. Janet Klein, Dr. Devin Naar, Dr. Bedross Der Matossian, Dr. Stacy Fahrenthold Portland State University, University of Washington, University of Nebraska, California State University Fresno


(History) Friday February 3, 7:30-9:00pm, Smittcamp Alumni House

War, Peace, and the Making of Minorities in the Post-Ottoman Middle East, 1919-1923
Speaker: Dr. Laura Robson Portland State University


Saturday February 11, 7:00pm, Concert Hall

Global Music Lecture Series: Iranian Classical Music Concert
Performers: Behrouz Sadeghian (Santur) & Faramarz Amiri-Ranjbar (Tonbak and Daf)


(English) Friday March 17, 7:00-9:00pm, PB 191

Poetry Reading

Readings by: Somaz Sharif, Jones Lecturer, Stanford University

The Master of Fine Arts Program at Fresno State presents a reading with author Solmaz Sharif as part of the Fresno Poets’ Association reading series. A finalist for the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry and a recent National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Sharif’s debut poetry collection is “Look” from Graywolf Press.


(Filmworks, Fresno) Friday April 14, 5:30 & 8:30 pm, The Tower Theatre, 815 E Olive Ave. Fresno, CA 93728

Fresno Filmworks: The Salesman


Friday April 21, 11:00am, Food Sciences Room 213 

 Food, Power, and Meaning: The Ritual of Blessing of the Food for the Kurdish Ahl-e Haqq of Guran

Speaker: Dr. Partow Hooshmandrad, Fresno State


Thursday April 27, 4:00pm, PB 191

(Cosponsored by Global Music Lecture Series & Armenian Studies Program) Armenian Musical Tradition of the Middle East

Lecture and Performance: Richard Hagopian (Oud)



Fall 2016


Friday November 4, 4:30-6, LS#5

An Evening of Persian Literature

(History) Monday November 7, 5-7, Smittcamp Alumni House

Ottoman History from the Margins: Reflections on Women and Dhimmis at Aleppo's Shari'a Court Guest Speaker: Dr. Elyse Semedjian, History and Islamic Studies, Whitman College

(Armenian Studies): Monday November 14, 7:30, PB 191

Armenian Educational Life in Lebanon
Guest Speaker: Dr. Paul Haidostian, President, Haigazian University


Spring 2016

Friday January 29

CineCulture:  Dawn of the World (L’aube du monde, 2008)
Discussant: Dr. Rose Marie Kuhn                                         
Directed by Iraqi-born French film maker Abbas Fahdel, Dawn of the World is set in the Mesopotamian Marshes.  This complex of shallow freshwater lakes, swamps, marshes, and seasonally inundated plains between the Tigris and Euphrates makes up the largest river delta in the Middle East.  Located in southwestern Iraq on the border with Iran and Kuwait, the area is known as the land of the mythical Garden of Eden, explains the film director. This is where the Maadan tribes, also known as the Marsh Arabs, live, and where Mastur and Zahra grow up.
Shortly after their marriage, the first Gulf War breaks out and Mastur is sent to the front.  There he befriends Riad, a young Baghdadi soldier, and makes him promise to protect Zahra should something happen to him… Fahdel’s film is a visual poem taking place in a haunting and magical landscape.  The simplicity of his plot and the beauty of the images of the film almost make the story seem like a misty dream.  Starring in the film are two actresses whom some of the viewers might have seen in Radu Mihaileanu’s film La source des femmes (2011), Tunisian-FrenchHafsia Herzi as Zhara and Arab-Israeli Hiam Abbass as Mastur’s mother.  Additionally, Dawn of the World won the prestigious Grand Prix for the Best Screenwriter in France. In Arabic and French, with English subtitles.  96 minutes.  Trailer (in French): Co-Sponsors: Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures Department, the French and Middle East Studies Programs

Tuesday March 1, 2-3pm, Henry Madden Library 2206

International Coffee Hour:  Iranian Culture & Society
Guest Speaker:  Peyvand Hajian, Engineering Graduate Student, California State University, Fresno

Thursday March 3

Global Music Lecture Series:  Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell
(University of Washington) Conducting two workshops on global music in the elementary classroom


Thursday March 16 & 30

Persian Calligraphy Workshops
Guest Speaker:  Dr. Fariborz Tehrani, Engineering, California State University, Fresno

Saturday April 16, 1pm, Kremen School of Education Bldg 172

War Stories: World War I in the Syrian Diaspora and the Challenge of Transnational Microhistory
Guest Speaker: Dr. Stacy Fahrenthold, History, Visiting Scholar, Center for Middle East Studies, UC Berkeley

Thursday April 28, 4-6, UBC 191

Melodic Modes and Rhythms of Arab Music: Theory vs. Practice
Guest Speaker: Dr. Scott Marcus, Ethnomusicology, UC Santa Barbara

Friday April 29, 11-12, UBC 191
The Lute (`Ud), the Reed Flute (Nay), the Double Reed Oboe (Mizmar), and Drums:  Instruments of the Eastern Arab World from a Performer's PerspectiveGuest Speaker: Dr. Scott Marcus, Ethnomusicology, UC Santa Barbara
Friday April 29

CineCulture:  When Voices Meet; One United Choir; One Courageous Journey (2015)
Discussants: Marilyn Cohen (Music Therapist) & Sharon Katz (Director) & Band Members.  When Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, courageous South African musicians broke through Apartheid’s barriers to form a 500-voice, multiracial children’s choir. Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train.  Singing their way into the hearts, minds and soul of a divided nation amidst a civil war, they promoted a peaceful transition to democracy and went on to become Mandela’s face of the new rainbow nation.  When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years; never lost touch with one another; and then reunited 20 years later. 86 minutes.  Band concert following film screening and Q&A! It was music that brought the disparate groups together, and the harmony of their voices became emblematic of the new South Africa. Original songs in the trailer’s award-winning soundtrack include We Are The Children of South Africa, The Time Is Right Today and Siyajabula.  Co-Sponsors: Cross Cultural and Gender Center, Jewish Studies Certificate Program & Jewish Studies Association, Africana Studies Program and Global Music Lecture Series

Fall 2015

Edward Said Lecture Series (PDF 572 KB) download PDF icon Reader)

Middle East Studies Lecture, Performance & Film Series 2015-2016


Monday, September 21, 5-7, Science 145

Religious Traditions: Islam
Guest Speaker: IRFAN ALI, Co-Chair, Interfaith Alliance of Fresno
What is Islam?
Guest Speaker: DR. NEGIN TAHVILDARY, Philosophy and Religious Studies, California State University, Fresno
Women’s Rights in Islam


Friday, September 25, 3-5, PB (UBC) 191

(Edward Said Lecture 1) The Responsibility of the Worldly Intellectuals
Guest Speaker: DR. DAVID LLOYD English, University of California, Riverside

Monday, September 28, 5-7, Science 145

A Historical Perspective: The Ancient Near East
Guest Speaker: DR. MARITERE LOPEZ, History, California State University, Fresno

Monday, October 5, 5:15-7, Science 145

A Historical Perspective: The Rise and Fall of the Islamic Empire
Guest Speaker: DR. FREDERIK VERMOTE, History, California State University, Fresno

Monday, October 12, 5-7, UBC 191

(Edward Said Lecture Series 2) Orientalism: Its Genealogies and its Legacies
Guest Speaker: DR. NADIA LATIF, Anthropology, Georgia State University

Monday, October 19, 5-7, Science 145

Imperialist Interests, The Postwar Era, Israel’s Birth and the Occupation of Palestine
Guest Speaker: DR. MANZAR FOROOHAR, History, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Monday, November 2, 5-6:30, Science 145

(Edward Said Lecture Series 3) Edward Said: The Non-humanist Humanist
Guest Speaker: DR. R. RADHAKRISHNAN, UC Irvine

Wednesday, November 4, 5-6:30, Peters Education Auditorium (Student Rec Center)

Humanism Food Security and Climate Change
Guest Speaker: DR. HILAL ELVER, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and Research Professor at the Orfalea Center at UC-Santa Barbara

Friday, November 6, 10-12, UBC 191

(Edward Said Lecture Series 4: Mini Conference) Universities at the Crossroad: The Assault on Academic Freedom
Edward Said's Humanism and the Rejection of the State Department's Definition of Anti-Semitism
Guest Speaker: DR. RICHARD FALK, Princeton University/UCSB
Censoring Palestine at the University: Growing Threats to Academic Freedom
Guest Speaker: AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI, President, National Lawyers Guild
What Is to Be Done? An Activist Agenda
Guest Speaker: Dr. VIDA SAMIIAN California Scholars for Academic Freedom, Professor of Linguistics, Dean Emerita, College of Arts and Humanities, California State University, Fresno

Monday, November 9, 5-7, Science 145

Middle East Art and Cinema
Guest Speaker: DR. ADAN AVALOS, Professor of Cinematic Arts, University of New Mexico

Monday November 16, 5-7, Science 145

Music in the Middle East
Guest Speaker: DR. PARTOW HOOSHMANDRAD, Music, California State University, Fresno 


Monday, November 30, 5:30-7, Science 145

Contemporary Literature of the Middle East (Arabic, Azeri, Turkic, Persian)
Guest Speaker: DR. ALISON MANDAVILLE, English, California State University, Fresno

An Evening of Persian Literature Wednesday December 9, at 5pm, LS#5