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Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian & Persian Gulf Studies

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian
and Persian Gulf Studies

The mission of the Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies is to coordinate a variety of teaching, research, and outreach activities at the University of Oklahoma that explore the history, culture, society, and politics of Iran, the Persian Gulf, and those regions historically shaped by the Persian language. These activities include publications, lectures, conferences, workshops, film screenings and art exhibits.

The Farzaneh Family Center is a part of vibrant and growing resources in Middle East and North Africa studies at the University of Oklahoma. Visit our MENA at OU page for more information.

Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies


Tabestan Book Club

June 7th - August 9th, 2024
Fridays, 1-3pm
Farzaneh Hall Room 319

For Zoom link contact Marjan Seirafi-Pour at

Join us and unlock the beauty of Persian literature this summer with the Tâbestân Book Club. Embark on a journey of language and culture as we delve into the rich tapestry of Persian stories and books. Led by esteemed guides Dr. Mina Raminsabet and Marjan Seirafi-Pour, our informal gatherings provide an immersive experience for those eager to enhance their reading and comprehension skills in Persian. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate learner, or advanced enthusiast, there's a group tailored just for you. Mina Raminsabet will guide the Beginner and Intermediate levels, while Marjan Seirafi-Pour will lead the Advanced group..

The Young Turks and the Ottoman Occupation of Iran: What Did They Want?

Wednesday, April 17, 12-1 p.m.
Farzaneh Hall 145

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies brown bag lecture series presents a talk with Kayhan Nejad, Farzaneh Family Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies.

Bring your lunch; snacks will be provided.

Persian Idioms and Proverbs

Thursday, April 18, 2 p.m.
Farzaneh Hall 145

Join us for a discussion of Persian and English idioms led by OU Persian language students. Idioms are a secret language within a language. Understanding idioms requires a deep familiarity with the culture, and knowing them facilitates communication. This cultural project helps us explore the use of language by native speakers.

Persian Circle

Persian Circle

Thursdays Spring 2024, 2-3 p.m.
Kaufman Hall 230

Join us every Thursday to learn Persian!
We will enjoy Baklava cake and chai, practice conversation, prepare for upcoming exams and learn about Persian culture.

Persian Tutoring

Persian Tutoring

Wednesdays & Fridays 10-11 a.m.
Farzaneh 319

Improve your Persian language skills with our free tutoring! Meet with tutor Proshat Haghighi to practice conversation, seek help on your homework, or get ready for an upcoming test. Persian tutoring is available to all students, even if not enrolled in Persian classes.

News & Announcements

Call for Applicants: Jafar and Shokoh Farzaneh Prize for Best Article on Persian Literature

The University of Oklahoma’s Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies is pleased to announce a competition for the Jafar and Shokoh Farzaneh Prize for Best Article on Persian Literature.

This $2,000 prize will be awarded to the best published article on any topic relating to Persian literature. The winner will also be invited to present a public lecture at the University of Oklahoma and to serve on the award selection committee for the following year. To be eligible for consideration, articles or book chapters must have been published in English or Persian in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals or edited volumes between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023. Publications must be on Persian literature specifically and not other related fields.

Submissions should be emailed to Marjan Seirafi-Pour at by May 1, 2024.

Award: $2,000

Deadline: May 1, 2024

Results will be announced in summer 2024 at the 14th Biennial Iranian Studies Conference.

Award Committee:

  • Chair: Mina Raminsabet, Visiting Scholar, Professor of Persian language and literature, University of Oklahoma
  • Vice Chair: Marjan Seirafi-Pour, Farzaneh Family Persian Language Instructor/Director of Persian Digital Libraries, University of Oklahoma
  • Vahid Davar, Persian Poet, Researcher in the field of Persian literature, University of St. Andrews

Congratulations to the Winner of the Iranian Studies Best Paper Award: Maksim Zakharov

June 07, 2024

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies is proud to announce Maksim Zakharov as our winner for the 2024 Iranian Studies Best Paper Award with their paper, "Iranian Cinema as a Tool Against the Islamic Republic".

Introducing Dr. Kayhan A. Nejad, New Assistant Professor of Iran Studies

September 12, 2023

The Farzaneh Family Center is pleased to welcome Dr. Kayhan A. Nejad, our new assistant professor! Dr. Nejad earned his Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2021. Before joining OU, he served as a Nizami Ganjavi Centre Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford, and as a Senior Researcher with the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program at Sabanci University in Istanbul. His research focuses on the linkages between the greater Middle East and the former Soviet Union. Here at OU, Dr. Nejad teaches on modern Iranian history, modern European history, contemporary and historical Iran-U.S. relations, Soviet and post-Soviet nationalisms, and the global history of communism. We are so excited to have Dr. Nejad with us!

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2023 Iranian Studies Best Undergraduate Paper Prize

Announcing the winners of the 2023 Iranian Studies Best Undergraduate Paper Prize

May 10, 2023

Brennan Clifton“Show Don’t Tell: The Metaphor of Love in Iranian Cinema”

Claire Silk“Student Power! The Iranian Student Movement in the United States During the 1960s and 1970s and the Fall of the Shah"

Learn more and submit for the prize

Iranian Studies.

IAS Professor Afshin Marashi Edits Special Issue of the journal Iranian Studies

February 14, 2023

The issue is titled, "Parsis and Iranians in the Modern Period."

Read the issue of Iranian Studies

Vahid Davar

Vahid Davar Named Winner of the 2022 Jafar and Shokoh Farzaneh Prize for Best Article on Persian Literature

November 22, 2022

Vahid Davar is the 2022 winner for his article, "Relation to Relating: A Sketch for the New Epic." Davar is a PhD researcher in Persian Studies at the University of St. Andrews. His collection of poetry, Sefr-e Safar (The Book of Journeys), was highly commended for the 2019 Ahamad Shamlou Prize. His second book, Ahd-e Nassim (Nassim's Testament), forms part of the British Museum exhibit, "Atlas of the World", 2022.

Read more about Davar and the prize

Afshin Marashi

IAS Professor Afshin Marashi publishes op-ed in The Oklahoman

The article is titled, , "Iran's Struggle for Democracy Has a Long History."

Read the article (PDF)

About Us

Omar Khayyám

A marble statue of Omar Khayyam, the 11th century Persian polymath, stands outside the David L. Boren College of International Studies at Farzaneh Hall. The statue was carved by the famed sculptor Hossein Fakhimi.

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies serves as the hub for Iranian Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Established in 2010 as an academic program within the OU David L. Boren College of International Studies, the Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies expanded into a center in 2016 through a generous donation by the Farzaneh Family. An institutional member of the American Institute for Iranian Studies and the Association for Iranian Studies, the Center draws from the multidisciplinary strength and research breadth of its faculty to offer one of the premier curriculum and programming initiatives in Iranian Studies today.

Students are able to select from a growing list of course offerings in Iranian Studies at the University of Oklahoma, including language instruction in Persian at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. The Center currently offers an undergraduate minor in Iranian Studies, and is working towards establishing an undergraduate major. In the coming years, the Center will also establish a graduate program in Iranian Studies.

In addition to its academic emphasis, the Center organizes an active “Iranian Studies Lecture Series” that brings scholars from the field of Iranian Studies to the University of Oklahoma campus. These lectures cover all aspects of Iranian history, culture, society, and politics. The “Iranian Studies Lecture Series” is open to the public and has been generously supported by the Farzaneh Family, the Parsa Community Foundation, and the Iran Heritage Foundation.

We invite you to explore our additional initiatives on this webpage.

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies
is located on the third floor of Farzaneh Hall at 729 Elm Ave, Norman, OK 73019.

Joshua Landis, Director
Phone: (405) 325-3330

Marjan Seirafi-Pour, Farzaneh Family Instructor of Persian and Director of Outreach Programs
Phone: (405) 325-5164