Announcing the Recipients of AIS' Naficy Book Award & the Nobari Dissertation Award

Author: NA
September 19, 2022
Dr. Farzaneh Hemmasi and Dr. Amir Sayadabdi Receiving Awards at AIS Conference-August 2022

Award recipients at Association for Iranian Studies Conference, August 2022

The Hamid Naficy Book Award is awarded biennially by the Association for Iranian Studies on behalf of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University to acknowledge and support recent scholarship in the emerging field of Iranian diaspora studies. This award honors the pioneering work of Dr. Hamid Naficy, whose critical scholarship on Iranian cinema and media, and exilic and diasporic subjects has been instrumental in laying the foundation for this field. Books published within the last two years of the AIS conference are read and considered for this prize.

This first book prize, made possible by  the Center for Iranian Diapora Studies, was awarded at the 2022 conference in Salamanca to Dr. Farzaneh Hemmasi University of Toronto (Ethnomusicology), for her book, Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California's Iranian Pop Music (Duke University Press, 2021) . The award committee, composed of Professors Persis Karim (chair) of San Francisco State University,, Camron Amin, University of Michigan, Dearborn, and Kevan Harris, University of California, Los Angeles, selected Hemmasi’s book for its rigorously researched study of Persian pop music in Los Angeles and its wider influence globally. This book provides an in-depth investigation of the intersection of history, politics, cultural production and distribution of this genre of music in the numerous cultural contexts in which it resides. Hemmasi’s work explores the ways that music, and the communities that consume it, maintain a dialogue with the heritage of the homeland, while also nurturing its own musical brand in a globalized mediascape. The committee was  impressed with the project's scope, as well as the ways it contributes to the emerging field of Iranian Diaspora Studies. Additionally, two other outstanding books received honorable mentions for this prize. They are: Exile and the Nation: The Parsi Community of India and the Making of the Modern Iranian Nation (University of Texas Press, 2020) by Dr. Afshin Marashi (University of Oklahoma) and Iranian Literature After the Islamic Revolution: Production and Circulation in Iran and the World  Edinburgh University Press, 2021) by Dr. Laetitia Nanquette (University of New South Wales). These awards were presented  by Persis Karim at the conference in Salamanca.

The Neda Nobari Dissertation Award is awarded biennially by the Association for Iranian Studies on behalf of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University to the author of an exceptional PhD dissertation (completed within the last three years of the nomination) that investigates topics connected to the global Iranian diaspora. Dissertations written in languages other than English are accepted if they are accompanied by a condensed translation of chapters into English. This award was established in honor of SF State University alumna and philanthropist Neda Nobari, whose generous gift established the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at SF State University in 2017. Ms. Nobari’s vision to support new research and scholarship about the global Iranian diaspora is critical to expanding our understanding of transitional experiences and to developing interdisciplinary approaches to this emerging field. The first award of the Nobari Dissertation Prize in Iranian Diaspora Studies was made to Amir Sayadabdi (University of Canterbury, New Zealand; currently a Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington) for his dissertation,“Food and Identity: The Iranian Diaspora in New Zealand.” This beautifully written dissertation offers a nuanced account of how Iranians in Christchurch, New Zealand negotiate the vicissitudes of migration through cooking, eating, and sharing food within and beyond their own community. Sayadabdi offers a deeply thoughtful account of his fieldwork in family homes, at parties and celebrations, in Iranian restaurants and grocery stores, in which he observes the symbolic and affective dimensions of food and foodways. Additionally, the award committee composed of Dr. Manijeh Moradian (Barnard College), Dr. Nima Naghibi (Toronto Metropolitan University), Dr. Amy Malek (Oklahoma State University), and Dr. Neda Maghbouleh (University of Toronto) awarded  an honorable mention to Dr. Nazli Akhtari  for her dissertation in Performance Studies from University of Toronto for her dissertation, “Diasporic Constellations: Performing on the Periphery of the Archives.” Manijeh Moradian presented the award in Salamanca at the AIS conference.