Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian & Persianate Studies Announced for Winter and Spring 2022

We are delighted to announce our incredible lineup of Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian & Persianate Studies for Winter and Spring 2022. The upcoming lectures will be held from February 2022 to June 2022 and they will continue to be offered online via Zoom. The lecture series remains free and open to the public, and will invite international scholars to share their knowledge and expertise in Iranian and Persianate Studies through historical, cultural, and critical lenses. Details of each lecture (individual dates, times, titles, and guest speaker info, etc.) could be found in the lecture list below as well as in its individual event page that will be released soon.

For Winter and Spring 2022, each lecture will begin with a presentation from the guest speaker, followed by a discussion between the guest speaker and a discussant (a scholar who shares expertise with the speaker), and then finally a Q&A session to answer burning questions from the audience directed to the guest speaker as facilitated by the moderator. We are hoping to create more engaging and insightful conversations yet again this term!

Where possible, each event will be recorded and posted afterward on YouTube, and we also have subtitles available in each session for those who desire them.

Winter & Spring 2022 series

Saturday February 5, 2022 (11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.; Online)

Representations of Ethnicity in Young Adult Persian Literature

Speaker: Farzaneh Aghapour, PhD, Assistant Professor of Persian Literature, University of Guilan

Discussant: Soudabeh Shokrollah-Zadeh, PhD, Assistant Professor, Preschool and Elementary School Studies Program, Allameh Tabataba’i University


Saturday February 26, 2022 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online)

The Changing Diet of the Iranians – From Quasi-Vegetarians to Quasi-Carnivores

Speaker: Mr. Willem Floor, Iran Historian

Discussant: Nader Mehravari, PhD, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis


Saturday March 5, 2022 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online)

Molla Nasreddin of Tiflis and the Transnational Diasporic Milieu that Gave Birth to It, 1906-1931

Speaker: Janet Afary, PhD, Professor and Mellichamp Chair in Global Religion, UC Santa Barbara

Discussant: Hassan Javadi, PhD, Retired Academic, University of California, Berkeley


Saturday March 12, 2022 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online) This talk has been postponed to May 28 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online).

The Indian Connection in Hedayat’s The Blind Owl

Speaker: Marta Simidchieva, PhD, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University

Discussant (TBD)


Saturday April 2, 2022 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online)

The Persian Prison Poem from South Asia to the Caucasus: Towards an Anthology

Rebecca Gould, PhD, Professor and Professorial Research Fellow, Islamic World and Comparative Literature, University of Birmingham
Kayvan Tahmasebian, PhD, Research Associate, GlobalLit, University of Birmingham

Discussant: Samuel Hodgkin, PhD, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Yale University


Saturday May 14, 2022 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online)

Weaving Femininity into Mysticism: Rereading Parvīn Iʿtiṣāmī’s “God’s Weaver”

Speaker: Behnam M. Fomeshi, PhD, Research Fellow, Monash University

Discussant (TBD)


Saturday June 18, 2022 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m.; Online)

The Impossible Gift of Sense in Rahnavard Zaryāb’s “The Snakes Under the Silverberry Trees”

Speaker: Hessam Dehghani, PhD, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Persian Language and Culture, University of British Columbia

Discussant: Mr. Mujib Mehrdad, Writer and poet, Kabul


About the Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian and Persianate Studies: Alireza Ahmadian (1981 – 2019) was an enthusiastic researcher, a consummate socio-political analyst, and an opinion leader on foreign policy who nurtured the virtues of diplomatic dialogue and liberal democracy. Alireza was a proud and devoted UBC alumnus, supporter of UBC’s Asian Studies department, and beloved member of Canadian-Iranian Community. UBC’s Asian Studies department renamed this lecture series in his honour in 2019. Alireza’s friends in the community have provided funding to support this series, and this generous gift will see these important academic and community engagement events supported through to the end of the 2025/2026 academic year.

Any questions can be directed to