Iranian Art and Culture

Activist and Critical Art in Contemporary Iran

This course explores Iranian artists’ intent and hope for change and their playful strategies of making a difference through their visual or performing arts created since 1980. While exploring key concepts, contexts, and debates by examining a variety of artworks (cartoons, graffiti, film, theatre, music, blog arts), we explore diverse and unique transgressive stories and styles that these works present to address themes of social justice through the art. The course promotes open dialogues and discussions, bridging the readings with current events to promote stronger analytic and writing skills. A combination of lecture, discussion, (virtual)role-playing, textual, and aesthetic analysis brings the course to life. Your creative responses are welcome too.

Theatre and Performance in Iran

This course offers a multimedia survey of Iranian theatre and performance traditions from ancient Persia to contemporary Iran. Throughout the rich Iranian theatre history, old forms (oral storytelling, shadow/puppet shows, comic and passion plays) and Western-style theatre never stopped inspiring and influencing each other. While exploring this dynamic interplay, particular attention is given to recent theatre history, milestone playtexts as examples of trends and developments in dramatic writing and performance, and the way they relate to their wider social and cultural context. Practical information about how to write about plays, close readings (selected plays and articles), class discussions, watching performances, role-playing, and creative responses help you develop analytical and critical skills. The ultimate aim is to examine Iranian theatre’s potentials in reflecting and changing the way Iranians think, ask questions, and play.

Digital Art and Media in Iran and Its Diaspora

Contemporary communications and individual directions in Iranian art and media function as platforms for personal storytelling and public interventions while providing gateways to learn about Iranian culture, society, and politics. This online course explores the history, context, material content, and form of digital art and social media in contemporary Iran and its diaspora by examining audio/visual integrated digital art, multimedia performances, installation, interactive and networked arts as well as experiential and social networking processes in social media technology.

Art by Iranian Women
This online course uses visual, performing and music art to examine Iranian women’s reflections on their everyday life as well as their responses to various sources of power (patriarchy, religion, and ideology). Following a short sampling of significant practices before the 1950s, the course primarily looks at the contemporary Iranian women’s artistic creations and the intentions and processes behind them. We examine how multimedia art forms (dance, theatre, cinema, painting, digital art, and music) empower Iranian women to practice their identity and exercise their agency as these aspects intersect with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability, and education in a shifting and multilayered context.