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Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies


Dr. Jane Mikkelson Wins Jafar and Shokoh Farzaneh Prize for Best Article on Persian Literature

Jane Mikkelson was awarded the prize for her article: “Flights of Imagination: Avicenna’s Phoenix (ʿAnqā) and Bedil’s Figuration for the Lyric Self," (Journal of South Asian Intellectual History 2 [2019]: 28-72).  Dr. Mikkelson is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia (College Fellows). In 2019, she received a joint Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Her research focuses on comparative literature, Persian literature and Islamic thought, translation studies, and theories of literature, with a particular interest in comparative projects that connect early modern Near Eastern, South Asian and European literary and religious cultures. Her work has been published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, University of Toronto Quarterly, Journal of South Asian Intellectual History, Modern Philology and elsewhere. Her first book project, Steadfast Imagining, examines practices of lyric meditation in the early modern Persianate world, situating these practices alongside premodern theories of literature and of the imagination.

Dr. Manata Hashemi Publishes Article in The Conversation

Dr. Manata Hashemi's article, "How Iran's Millennials Are Grappling with Crippling US Sanctions," was published in The Conversation on February 10, 2020. 

New Issue of DĀNESH Published

Volume 4 (2019) of DĀNESH: The OU Undergraduate Journal of Iranian Studies has been published. Thanks to the editorial collective for their hard work in seeing the issue to completion. See the journal's webpage for more information. 

Farzaneh Family Center Research Fellowship Announced

The Farzaneh Center is sponsoring a competitive research fellowship for visiting scholar to make use of OU's pamphlet collection. The deadline for applications is December 10, 2019. Read more about the fellowship

2019 Best Undergraduate Paper

Congratulations to Lindsey Eisenmann for winning the Farzaneh Center’s 2019 Best Paper Prize in Iranian Studies for her paper, "American Colonialism and the Illusion of Power in US-Iranian Relations."

Annual Persian Poetry Night

The Farzaneh Center organized its annual “poetry night” on November 30th. Students in Marjan Seirafi-Pour and Alexander Jabbari’s Persian language courses recited Persian poems and engaged in translation and discussion of the poems they selected to share with the audience of faculty, students, and community members in attendance. This year’s event also included Mr. Feraidoon Alavi as a special guest. Mr. Alavi discussed the role of poetry in Persian culture. Thanks to Marjan Seirafi-Pour for organizing the event.

2018 Best Undergraduate Paper

Congratulations to Adam Oberlitner for winning the 2018 “Best Paper Prize” in Iranian Studies. Adam’s paper, “Queer Theology: Theological, Theocratic, and Secular Influences on Iran’s Relationship to Transgender Bodies” was selected from a group of outstanding submissions. The next deadline for the best paper prize is May 1, 2019. See the Center’s Awards and Scholarships link under the “Academics” tab on the Center’s website for more information about the 2019 deadline, and other awards and scholarships sponsored by the Farzaneh Center.

Khayyam Day at OU

The Center organized its annual “Celebration of Persian Literature” event in April. In addition to a reception, lunch, and student poetry reading, this year’s event also included keynote lectures by Dr. Fartemeh Keshavarz (University of Maryland) and Dr. Farzaneh Milani (University of Virginia). A special calligraphy exhibit and demonstration was also organized by OU’s Mohsen Parvin.


New Issue of DĀNESH published

Volume 3 (2018) of DĀNESH: The OU Undergraduate Journal of Iranian Studies has been published. Thanks to the editors-in-chief, Corey Standley and Kaleigh Kuyon, and to the entire team of associate editors, for their work in seeing the issue to completion. The DĀNESH team is now working on volume 4. Be sure to go to the journal’s webpage under the “Publications & Sponsored Research” tab to the left for more details about the journal.

Dr. Alexander Jabbari

The Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies extends a warm welcome to Dr. Alexander Jabbari as its newest faculty member and Coordinator of the Persian Language Program. Dr. Jabbari holds the Farzaneh Family Professorship in Persian Language and Literature and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International and Area Studies. Dr. Jabbari received his PhD in Comparative Literature with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Irvine and a BA with Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research addresses historical interaction between Persian and other literary and linguistic traditions, especially Urdu, and literary history and modernization. We are excited to have Dr. Jabbari at the Center, contributing his expertise to our growing Iranian Studies and Persian Language curriculums.

2017 Best Undergraduate Paper

Congratulations to Jared Johnson, winner of the 2017 Iranian Studies Prize for Best Undergraduate Paper for his paper titled, "Iran's Others through Cinema."

Dr. Manata Hashemi Virtual Book Launch Hosted by Princeton

The official launch of Dr. Manata Hashemi's book, Coming of Age in Iran: Poverty and the Struggle for Dignity, was hosted virtually by the Center For Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University on October 6, 2020. Watch video of the launch and conversation here

Dr. Afshin Marashi Interviews Veteran Peace Corp Volunteers

Professor Marashi interviews veteran Peace Corp volunteers Dee Fink and Jeff Gritzner about their time in Iran between 1962-1964. Watch the oral history interview.

Dr. Alexander Jabbari Organizes Digital Humanities Research Workshop

The Farzaneh Center hosted Dr. Mathew Miller (University of Maryland) and Dr. Austin O’Malley (University of Arizona) for a two-day collaborative workshop led by OU’s Dr. Alexander Jabbari. The workshop focused on their ongoing joint research project designed to develop Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for Persian language printed material.

The Farzaneh Center Publishes Seven-year Report

2018 marked the seventh year of the Iranian Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. To mark this achievement, the Center published a retrospective report highlighting the growth of the program since its establishment. The report can be viewed on the Center’s homepage, or at the following link:

Iranian Studies Minor Approved

The Farzaneh Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies has gained approval from the OU academic senate and the OU board of regents for the establishment of an undergraduate minor in Iranian Studies.

The minor will be offered as a degree within the OU David L.Boren College of International Studies, and the Department of International and Area Studies. Beginning in the fall semester of 2016 students who complete the minor requirements can petition for this degree. Students successfully completing the degree requirements will have the “Minor in Iranian Studies” designated on their official university transcript.

Click on the link to the left for more details regarding the requirements for the “Minor in Iranian Studies.” Students wishing to petition for the minor should contact the Iranian Studies faculty advisors (Afshin Marashi: or Manata Hashemi: or the Department of International and Area Studies’ undergraduate student advisors (Malin Collins: or Katie Watkins:

Farzaneh Center Launches Digital Research Initiative

In collaboration with the University of California, Irvine’s Jordan Center for Persian Studies, the OU Farzaneh Center has launched an initiative to digitize the print-run of the Nameh-ye Iran-e Bastan: The International Journal of Ancient Iranian Studies. This bilingual English-Persian journal, specializing in the history, culture, languages, and archaeology of ancient Iran, was published from 2001-2014, under the editorship of Dr. Touraj Daryaee, at the University of California, Irvine. The digitization of this journal will be accompanied by an online platform, making this resource available to students, scholars, and the general public from around the world.

Spring 2016

“Iranian Studies Program” becomes the “Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies”

With a major new gift by the Farzaneh family, the University of Oklahoma has expanded the OU Iranian Studies Program to become the newly established “Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies.”

This major new gift will enable a significant expansion of Iranian Studies at the University of Oklahoma. There are currently two endowed faculty positions in the Department of International and Area Studies. Dr. Afshin Marashi is the holder of the Farzaneh Family Chair in Modern Iranian History, and Dr. Manata Hashemi is the holder of the Farzaneh Family Professorship in the Sociology of Contemporary Iran. With the new gift to Iranian Studies by the Farzeneh family, three additional endowed professorships will be added in the coming years.

The first of these three additional faculty lines will be to fill the Farzaneh Family Professorship of Persian Language and Literature, with a search to be conducted during the 2016-17 academic year. Two additional Farzaneh Professorships will be announced, with searches to be conducted in the following years.

For more detail see the news release at OU's Office of Public Affairs.

Omar Khayyam Statue unveiled at OU

President Boren unveiled one of OU’s newest pieces of artwork, “Omar Khayyam,” inspired by the Persian polymath, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet of medieval Iran.

The sculpture stands more than seven feet tall and its stone originates from the city of Azna located in the province of Lorestan, Iran. Khayyam is holding a globe signifying his contributions to astronomy, as well as the numbers representing his developments in binomial theorems and Algebra. The book located at the bottom of the sculpture is a representation of Khayyam’s famed poetry.

The sculpture was made possible by internationally noted sculptor, Professor Hossein Fakhimi.

The statue will permanently sit outside of the newly renamed “Farzaneh Hall,” which houses the David L. Boren College of International Studies, the Department of International and Area Studies, and the Farzaneh Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies.

Farzaneh Hall