Day 1 of a two-day conference examining Iran's national epic, composed in the 10th century CE by Iran's national poet Ferdowsi.
The Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic, was composed from a prose literary archetype in the 10th century CE by Iran’s national poet, Ferdowsi (c. 940 – 1020 CE), whom many Iranians consider to be the father of their language. It exists in more than a thousand complete and fragmentary manuscripts, some of which are beautifully illustrated by excellent specimens of classical Persian art. It is some 50,000 distiches (100,000 lines) long, which makes it nearly twice the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The Shahnameh as Iran’s national epic is central to Iranians’ sense of cultural identity. It is the text that defines who is culturally Iranian regardless of that person’s citizenship, language, or religion. In addition to Iranians who live in Persia proper, many Tajiks, Kurds, Beluchis, and others relate to the narrative of the Shahnameh as their “ethnic history.” For this reason, its influence and importance extends beyond the borders of Iran and the limits of Persian literature.
Tuesday May 25: Faculty Center, Downstairs Lounge
9:30 AM: Welcome and Opening Remarks
10:00 AM-12: 00 PM: Panel 1: Comparative Epics
Chair/Discussant: Rahim Shayegan
Olga Davidson, Boston University
Women's Lamentations and the Ethics of War in Medieval Persia and Ancient Greece
Amin Banani, UCLA
Reflections on Re-reading the Iliad and the Shahnameh
Lunch open to the public
2:00-5 PM: Panel 2: Theory and Poetics
Chair/ Discussant: Nasrin Rahimieh, University of California, Irvine
Mahmoud Omidsalar, CSU Los Angeles
An Epic Unity: The Hero Pattern and the Shāhnāma
Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh: The Epic of the Conquerors at the Time of their Defeat
Reception open to the public
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Sponsor(s): ILEX Foundation, Farhang Foundation
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