2017 – 2018

Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art

Modern and Contemporary Art of Iran

Fall 2017
Rhode Island School of Design

This course explores developments in the arts of modern and contemporary Iran and their reception in the West by way of a broad introduction to the discourses of artistic production and criticism in Iran and issues of cross-cultural encounter and interpretation. It begins with a historical survey and a review of important movements, significant historical events and their influences on the art production, and significant theoretical issues that appertain to what we have come to know as the “global art world.” It then takes up specific themes and studies those through the reading of primary texts and analysis of artworks alongside exploring the lexicon of Western media when writing about Iran’s visual cultures and art. The central goals of the course will be to think critically about the relation between history and cultural representation, to examine different Iranian aesthetic traditions and their reception in the West, and to consider the present state of art production and reception in the age of globalization from the margins.

Image: detail from installation view of Shirin Neshat's The Book of Kings at Faurschou Foundation, Beijing.
© Photograph: Jonathan Leijonhufvud, 2013.

2016 – 2017

Columbia University

Contemporary Civilization


2016 – 2017
Columbia University

In Fall 2016, I began teaching Contemporary Civilization. Created in 1919 as a course on War and Peace Issues, Contemporary Civilization, which is the oldest course taught through Columbia's Core Curriculumoffers an overview of some of the text that were, and continue to be, most influential in the formation of Western civilization and thought.

During my 1-year tenure as a Contemporary Civilization preceptor, I introduced to my class the larger epistemic arch of “absent voices.” This allowed us to accentuate Western thought’s significant reliance on the exclusion of minorities of race, gender, ethnicity, and religion in its formation of the modern subject. I included selections from Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Cary Wolfe’s Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal, and Michael Marder’s Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life to my syllabus in order address those constituencies absent from our philosophical imaginations of the subject, the citizen, and the state.