Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies

The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies is the first academic institution of its kind — dedicated to research and teaching about the historical and cultural experiences of the global Iranian diaspora community. The Center fosters innovative and collaborative scholarship between faculty and students and engages with complex and pressing subjects such as nationalism, immigration, xenophobia, gender, sexuality and identity. Its research, programming, and projects examine overlooked and under-emphasized narratives, advocate for new forms of scholarly engagement, and support collaboration between individuals and institutions.


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Trailer: "The Dawn is Too Far: Stories of Iranian-American Life in the SF Bay Area"

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The Center's Blog: “With A Trace”


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Unlocking Cultural Prisons with Poetic Keys — Sahba Aminikia’s Melodies Bridge Cultural Divides

San Francisco-based Iranian composer and artist, Sahba Aminikia, grew up with his grandmother, mother, and sister in the 1980s. These women influenced his artistic path and informed his admiration for the resilience of women in the face of domestic and sociopolitical struggles inside Iran, particularly in the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the establishment of the Islamic Republic, and the subsequent Iran-Iraq war. Despite the darkness of those years, Aminikia says that the “brightest memories are from that formative period of my life.” His sister introduced him to music, culture, and books, and how “reading the poetry of Hafiz, Saadi, and Molavi played a pivotal role in my decision to become a composer, musician, and performing artist.”

Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour and the Glittery Iranian-American Pandemic Novel That Will Give You Fomo

Born in Tehran and raised in Los Angeles, Porochista Khakpour is known for her explorations of identity and displacement in her bold, raw, and deeply introspective books of both fiction and nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in many prestigious publications, and her books include Sons and Other Flammable Objects (2007), The Last Illusion (2014), Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity (2020), and Sick: A Memoir (2018). Khakpour’s writing — in both fiction and nonfiction — showcases her talent for tackling complex and challenging subjects through her unique, incisive, and non-conforming voice. Khakpour’s chaotic, sparkly, and most-recent novel, Tehrangeles, is the perfect way to reflect and process our collective trauma of transitioning out of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Memorial Service for Faramarz Aslani

A Remembrance of Musician and Composer Faramarz Aslani

On March 31, 2024, a solemn and large crowd gathered at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., to celebrate and remember Iranian musician, Faramarz Aslani, who passed away after battling cancer. “Faramarz Aslani: A Celebration of Life” brought together many beloved fans, friends, and members of the Iranian diaspora community to celebrate this innovative and dynamic musician and performer. Aslani was always much more than the first Iranian singer, songwriter, and guitarist in Persian pop music. Everything he wrote, he lived by, and believed in.

Armen Davoudian and Saba Keramati smiling on Zoom

A Conversation on “Two-Sidedness” and the Power of Language to Name

During an online conversation with poets Armen Davoudian and Saba Keramati for National Poetry Month, Davoudian answers a question about belonging and un-belonging and how it suggests the very nature of the complicated “two-sidedness” — a theme that gets to the heart in both Davoudian's and Keramati's debut poetry collections. The two poets’ personal identities are explored in their respective poetry collections: The Palace of Forty Pillars (Tin House Press, 2024) and Self-Mythology (University of Arkansas Press, 2024).





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