Events

The Pourdavoud Center holds conferences, workshops, seminars, and lecture series that serve as a catalyst for pioneering interdisciplinary scholarship, while enhancing the visibility of the field for a wider audience. The programmatic initiatives of the Pourdavoud Center seek to stimulate new scholarship in the field, and complement the work of the Pourdavoud scholars in residence. The activities of the Pourdavoud Center are podcast and made available on the Center’s website.

Browse list of Past Events:
Lecture Series  |  Conferences  |  Seminars  |  Workshops

  • 15 Feb

    Excavations at Pasargadae: The First Imperial City of the Achaemenids

    Wed, February 15, 2017
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    306 Royce Hall
    10945 Dickson Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Excavations at Pasargadae: The First Imperial City of the Achaemenids

    The World Heritage site of Pasargadae was the first dynastic site of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, in Fars, in the sixth century BCE. Its palaces, gardens, and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and testament to the grandeur of the Achaemenid civilization. In 2016, a new comprehensive excavation project was launched at the site. The first season of work concentrated on the ruined, solitary tower known as Zendāne Soleymān (“Prison of Solomon”), with the aim of shedding more light on this enigmatic edifice that has been regarded as a tomb, a fire temple, or a depository.

    Ali Mousavi was born and raised in Iran. He studied in Lyon, France, and took his B.A. in Art History, and his M.A. in Archaeology, from the University of Lyon, France. He obtained his Ph.D. in archaeology of the ancient Near East from the University of California, Berkeley. He excavated in France, Turkey, and Iran, and contributed to the nomination of a number of archaeological sites and monuments for inscription on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. He is the author of a book on the site of Persepolis (Persepolis: Discovery and Afterlife of a World Wonder), co-editor of the book Ancient Iran from the Air, and a number of scholarly articles. He worked as an Assistant Curator of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 2006 to 2013. He teaches art and archaeology of ancient Iran at UCLA. He is the director of the Pasargadae Archaeological Excavations.

    *Light refreshments will be served*

  • 8 Mar

    The Anatomy of Loyalty and Patterns of Patronage in the Religio-political Culture of Sixteenth Century Iran

    Wed, March 08, 2017
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    306 Royce Hall
    10945 Dickson Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095
    The Anatomy of Loyalty and Patterns of Patronage in the Religio-political Culture of Sixteenth Century Iran

    Dr. Khafipour discusses the spiritual dimensions of political loyalty that was instrumental in the formation of strong ties between the Safavid rulers and their chiefs at the epicenter of the order, where power was continually contested. Drawing on a wide variety of historical and literary sources, Islamic theology, and theories of power, he discusses the anatomy of political loyalty among the early Safavids within the context of early modern state formation and posits that hierarchies of spiritual power inherent in Sufi orders and sacrosanct mutual obligations that inform pir-murid interactions helped to create a strong patronage system that offered the early Safavids the ideological sources for long term success as a political order.

    Hani Khafipour received his doctorate from the University of Chicago. He is a specialist in the history of medieval and early-modern Iran. His research encompasses study of the structures of political orders, theories of power and state formation, sociolinguistics and critical discourse analysis. He has held research fellowships from the Iran Heritage Foundation (UK), and the American Institute of Iranian Studies.

    He was an Andrew W. Mellon fellow, and a fellow of the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute. Khafipour teaches courses on Islamic political thought and theory, and medieval and modern history of Iran at the University of Southern California. His recent research and teaching interests have culminated in an edited volume, Empires of the Near East and India: Source Studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal Literate Communities (Columbia University Press, 2017), and a book manuscript, The Mantle of Authority in an Early Modern Society (under preparation). He is the current History of Iran Section Editor for the Encyclopedia of Islam 3, Brill.

  • 19 Apr

    Whither the Study of Ancient Iran?

    Wed, April 19, 2017 - Thu, April 20, 2017
    All Day
    306 Royce Hall
    340 Royce Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Whither the Study of Ancient Iran?

    On April 19–20, the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World will be convening a number of workshops to assess the state of ancient Iranian studies, as well as reflect on the Center’s research agenda and priorities for the next 3–6 years, in consultation with invited affiliates.

    The main axes, along which the Center’s research shall be tentatively organized, are threefold (see below): (1) History and Civilizations of the Iranian World; (2) Oral and Literary Traditions — Scribal Practices; and (3) Religious Ideas and Practices. These overarching themes and their subcategories will be informed by patterns of continuities in the Iranian world, and its interactions with other civilizations of antiquity. In time, we hope that our affiliates will help further develop and populate these and other research areas.

    History and the Civilizations of the Iranian World
    1. Sources and Material Culture
    2. New Methodologies and Historical Constructions
    3. Networks, Elites, and Cosmopolitanism
    Oral and Literary Traditions — Scribal Practices
    1. Iranian Library
    2. Writing and Scribal Practices
    3. (Oral) Epic Traditions
    Religious Ideas and Practices
    1. Religions of the Avesta
    2. (Elamo-)Achaemenid Religions
    3. Iranian Religious Practices in the Hellenistic and Arsacid Worlds
    4. Religious Landscape in the Sasanian Empire
    5. Iranian Religions in the East
    First Day: April 19, 2017
    • 9:30: Coffee and Cakes
    • 10:00–10:15: Introductory Remarks
    • 10:15–12:00: Workshop I: Elam/Achaemenid Iran
    • 12:00–1:30: Lunch
    • 1:30–3:00: Workshop II: Seleucid and Arsacid Iran
    • 3:00–3:30: Coffee Break
    • 3:30–5:30: Workshop III: Sasanian Iran
    • 7:00: Dinner
    Second Day: April 20, 2017
    • 9:30: Coffee and Cakes
    • 10:00–12:00: Workshop IV: Iranian Philology
    • 12:00–1:30: Lunch
    • 1:30–3:30: Workshop V: Religious Practices
    • 3:30–4:00: Coffee Break
    • 4:00–5:30: Workshop VI: Continuities and Reception
    • 7:00: Dinner
    Participants
    1. Azarnouche, Samra (ÉPHÉ, Paris)
    2. Brookshaw, Dominic (University of Oxford)
    3. Brosius, Maria (University of Toronto)
    4. Carter, Elizabeth (UCLA)
    5. Daniel, Elton (Columbia University)
    6. Daryaee, Touraj (UCI)
    7. Davidson, Olga (Boston University)
    8. Grenet, Frantz (Collège de France)
    9. Hauser, Stefan (Universität Konstanz)
    10. Henkelman, Wouter (ÉPHÉ, Paris)
    11. Herzig, Edmund (University of Oxford)
    12. Ingenito, Domenico (UCLA)
    13. Jamison, Stephanie (UCLA)
    14. de Jong, Ab (University of Leiden)
    15. Moazami, Mahnaz (Columbia University)
    16. Mousavi, Ali (UCLA)
    17. Nagy, Gregory (Harvard University)
    18. Panaino, Antonio (University of Bologna, Ravenna)
    19. Potts, Daniel (ISAW, NYU)
    20. Rollinger, Robert (Universität Innsbruck)
    21. Rose, Jenny (Claremont Graduate U.)
    22. Shayegan, M. Rahim (UCLA)
    23. Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (Harvard University)
    24. Stronach, David (UC Berkeley)
    25. Vevaina, Yuhan (University of Toronto)

    *Closed workshops – open to faculty, graduates, and invited guests

  • 20 Apr

    Whither the Study of Ancient Iran?

    Thu, April 20, 2017
    All Day
    306 Royce Hall
    340 Royce Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Whither the Study of Ancient Iran?

    On April 19–20, the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World will be convening a number of workshops to assess the state of ancient Iranian studies, as well as reflect on the Center’s research agenda and priorities for the next 3–6 years, in consultation with invited affiliates.

    The main axes, along which the Center’s research shall be tentatively organized, are threefold (see below): (1) History and Civilizations of the Iranian World; (2) Oral and Literary Traditions — Scribal Practices; and (3) Religious Ideas and Practices. These overarching themes and their subcategories will be informed by patterns of continuities in the Iranian world, and its interactions with other civilizations of antiquity. In time, we hope that our affiliates will help further develop and populate these and other research areas.

    History and the Civilizations of the Iranian World
    1. Sources and Material Culture
    2. New Methodologies and Historical Constructions
    3. Networks, Elites, and Cosmopolitanism
    Oral and Literary Traditions — Scribal Practices
    1. Iranian Library
    2. Writing and Scribal Practices
    3. (Oral) Epic Traditions
    Religious Ideas and Practices
    1. Religions of the Avesta
    2. (Elamo-)Achaemenid Religions
    3. Iranian Religious Practices in the Hellenistic and Arsacid Worlds
    4. Religious Landscape in the Sasanian Empire
    5. Iranian Religions in the East
    First Day: April 19, 2017
    • 9:30: Coffee and Cakes
    • 10:00–10:15: Introductory Remarks
    • 10:15–12:00: Workshop I: Elam/Achaemenid Iran
    • 12:00–1:30: Lunch
    • 1:30–3:00: Workshop II: Seleucid and Arsacid Iran
    • 3:00–3:30: Coffee Break
    • 3:30–5:30: Workshop III: Sasanian Iran
    • 7:00: Dinner
    Second Day: April 20, 2017
    • 9:30: Coffee and Cakes
    • 10:00–12:00: Workshop IV: Iranian Philology
    • 12:00–1:30: Lunch
    • 1:30–3:30: Workshop V: Religious Practices
    • 3:30–4:00: Coffee Break
    • 4:00–5:30: Workshop VI: Continuities and Reception
    • 7:00: Dinner
    Participants
    1. Azarnouche, Samra (ÉPHÉ, Paris)
    2. Brookshaw, Dominic (University of Oxford)
    3. Brosius, Maria (University of Toronto)
    4. Carter, Elizabeth (UCLA)
    5. Daniel, Elton (Columbia University)
    6. Daryaee, Touraj (UCI)
    7. Davidson, Olga (Boston University)
    8. Grenet, Frantz (Collège de France)
    9. Hauser, Stefan (Universität Konstanz)
    10. Henkelman, Wouter (ÉPHÉ, Paris)
    11. Herzig, Edmund (University of Oxford)
    12. Ingenito, Domenico (UCLA)
    13. Jamison, Stephanie (UCLA)
    14. de Jong, Ab (University of Leiden)
    15. Moazami, Mahnaz (Columbia University)
    16. Mousavi, Ali (UCLA)
    17. Nagy, Gregory (Harvard University)
    18. Panaino, Antonio (University of Bologna, Ravenna)
    19. Potts, Daniel (ISAW, NYU)
    20. Rollinger, Robert (Universität Innsbruck)
    21. Rose, Jenny (Claremont Graduate U.)
    22. Shayegan, M. Rahim (UCLA)
    23. Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (Harvard University)
    24. Stronach, David (UC Berkeley)
    25. Vevaina, Yuhan (University of Toronto)

    *Closed workshops – open to faculty, graduates, and invited guests

  • 4 Oct

    Greater Glory: Darius I and Divinity in Achaemenid Royal Ideology

    Wed, October 04, 2017
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    306 Royce Hall
    10945 Dickson Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Greater Glory: Darius I and Divinity in Achaemenid Royal Ideology

    Matthew Waters (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

    The close link between the king and the divine has deep roots in Near Eastern royal ideologies, and the Persian kings during the Achaemenid period (c. 550-330 BCE) followed this tradition. Exactly how close was the link? Recent studies suggest a blurred line between the two especially during at least some parts of the Neo-Assyrian period. However one chooses to answer that question for the Achaemenids, the king is to be considered a fulcrum. The glorification of the King considers his multiple roles within the Achaemenid ideological scheme, as manifest in both textual and iconographic evidence. The Achaemenids were masters of adoption and adaptation of previous structures in the fashioning a compelling royal ideology, one that incorporated several Persian and Iranian elements and one that also embedded some ambiguity. This presentation considers some of the ambiguity within Achaemenid royal ideology, and its reception, with regard to the glorification of the king and the intersection with the divine.

    Event Flyer

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  • 10 Oct
    No Categories

    2017 Pourdavoud Center Fall Reception

    Tue, October 10, 2017
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    306 Royce Hall
    10945 Dickson Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095
    2017 Pourdavoud Center Fall Reception

    Please join our Director, Professor M. Rahim Shayegan, to celebrate the start of the academic year at the newly opened Pourdavoud Center.


    Registration

    Please complete this form to register for the event. 

  • 16 Oct

    Rashīd al-Dīn in the Eye of the Beholder: Proposing a Holistic Approach to Reception History

    Mon, October 16, 2017
    4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
    10383 Bunche Hall
    315 Portola Plaza Los Angeles, CA (CALIFORNIA) 90095
    Rashīd al-Dīn in the Eye of the Beholder: Proposing a Holistic Approach to Reception History

    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Wolfgang Hemmann

    Central Asia in Transition Lecture by Judith Pfeiffer (University of Bonn)

    Recent scholarship has painted a rather dim picture of the Mongol-Ilkhanid vizier and historian Rashīd al-Dīn’s (d. 718/1318) historiographical impact in the Muslim world. This lecture proposes a holistic approach to Rashīd al-Dīn’s oeuvre that includes both his historiographical and theoretical works, and adduces evidence to revise the above statement by reviewing the reception of Rashīd al-Dīn in the Islamic world with a special focus on Central Asia and here in particular Bukhara in its connection to Herat.

    Judith Pfeiffer’s research focuses on the social, political, and intellectual history of the Nile to Oxus region with a particular emphasis on Iran, Central Asia, and Anatolia during the Later Middle and Early Modern Periods of Islamic history. She has a special interest in the ways in which political and confessional boundaries were re-negotiated and re-defined during the post-Mongol period. Her publications include History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East (2006, co-edited with Sholeh Quinn); and Politics, Patronage and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th-15th Century Tabriz (2013). In 2016 she was appointed Alexander von Humboldt Professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn, where she currently directs the Alexander von Humboldt Kolleg on 13th to 16th century Islamicate intellectual history.

    This event is co-sponsored by The UCLA Asia Pacific Center.

    NOTE: This lecture was rescheduled from spring 2017.

  • 18 Oct

    How much of a Physician was Rashīd al-Dīn?

    Wed, October 18, 2017
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    306 Royce Hall
    10945 Dickson Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095
    How much of a Physician was Rashīd al-Dīn?

    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Wolfgang Hemmann

    A lecture by Judith Pfeiffer (University of Bonn)

    Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍl Allāh Hamadānī (d. 718/1318) is often introduced as “ṭabīb,” or ‘physician,’ mostly to distinguish him from authors with similar names, notably the epistolographer Rashīd al-Dīn Waṭwāṭ (d. 578/1182). This paper discusses Rashīd al-Dīn’s scholarly persona as a physician. Starting from his epithet, ṭabīb, the paper explores his role as a medical practitioner, patron, and author of scholarly medical treatises, arguing that Rashīd al-Dīn’s name is henceforth to be included in earnest in the history of Islamic medicine.

    Judith Pfeiffer’s research focuses on the social, political, and intellectual history of the Nile to Oxus region with a particular emphasis on Iran, Central Asia, and Anatolia during the Later Middle and Early Modern Periods of Islamic history. She has a special interest in the ways in which political and confessional boundaries were re-negotiated and re-defined during the post-Mongol period, and has worked on Islamization processes, historiography, and political thought during the 13th to 17th centuries.

    Her publications include History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East (2006, co-edited with Sholeh Quinn); Theoretical Approaches to the Transmission and Edition of Oriental Manuscripts (co-edited with Manfred Kropp, 2007); and Politics, Patronage and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th-15th Century Tabriz (2013).

    Judith received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies/History from the University of Chicago in 2003. In the same year she joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Oxford as a University Lecturer and then Associate Professor, where she taught courses on Islamic History and Culture; Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish historical texts and palaeography; and special options on Seljuq, Mongol, Mamluk, Timurid, Ottoman, and Safavid history and historiography. In 2016 she was appointed Alexander von Humboldt Professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn, where she currently directs the Alexander von Humboldt Kolleg on 13th to 16th century Islamicate intellectual history.

    Co-sponsored by the UCLA Program on Central Asia

    NOTE: This lecture was rescheduled from spring 2017.

    Registration

    Please complete this form to register for the event. 

  • 15 May

    Sasanian Iran

    Tue, May 15, 2018
    8:00 am - 7:00 pm
    306 Royce Hall
    10945 Dickson Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Sasanian Iran

    In May 2018, the Pourdavoud Center will organize, in conjunction with the Jordan Center for Persian Studies at the University of California, Irvine, the first of a series of international conferences exploring the Sasanian empire and the world of late antiquity. The term “Sasanian Workshops” emulates the successful “Achaemenid Workshops” that were responsible for the re-invigoration of Achaemenid studies.