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Current research seminars

2014/15 research seminar programme

Semester 2

Wednesday 15 April

Middle Eastern Film Screenings

Snowman (1995)
By Davood Mirbagheri
Iran – 97 min, In Persian with English subtitles 

3pm, School B305

Wednesday 15 April

St Andrews Early Modern Society Symposium


Dr Emma Herdman (Department of French): ‘“Nous pleurons souvant la perte des bestes que nous aymons, ainsi font elles la nostre”: Anthropomorphic Birds in Renaissance France.’

Ms Julianne Mentzer (School of English): ‘“Fellowships in Vice: Persuasive Speech in the Drama of early modern London”’

Dr James Harris (Department of Philosophy): ‘David Hume (1711-1776): the philosopher as man of letters’ 

5-7pm Buchanan Building 305

Wednesday 15th April

PG Seminar 

Lottie Pearce-Slade (Department of French)
‘Love as a battle-field: Marguerite de Navarre's vertu vs. virtus’

Tiran Manucharyan (Department of Arabic)
Theatre as a means of reaffirmation of national identity: Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm and Yūsuf Idrīs searching for an Egyptian theatre

Coffee and Tea available

5pm Buchanan Building 216

Wednesday 22nd April 2015

Persian Seminar

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
University of Maryland

From Epic to Gnostic: Observations on Dynamics of Change in Persian Poetry


As we know it today, Persian literature emerges in the tenth century CE with a dominant discourse that tends to explore the world and man’s surroundings, to look, question and explore the phenomena of external nature, of human life, and of relations among humans and other inhabitants of the earth.  In time, primarily through the 12th century, this dynamic changes gradually and begins to gel into a more complex expressive system in which explorations are directed more toward understanding the “interior” and hidden aspects of objects and relations, animals and humans.  This is the process that leads from direct, objective observations to contemplations of the “nafs” in the mystic tradition, and is exemplified most visibly by the type of struggle that personages such as `Attar’s Shaykh San`an face, when compared to the divs, dragons and demons that a hero like Rostam confronts; or one that leads from the kind of figuration we see in Shahnameh’s Simorgh to that in the Conference of the Birds.  I have called this change “interiorization”, and in my talk I will present examples of this change and share my thoughts on its causes and consequences, as well as its ultimate significance and implications for conceptualizing a new historiography of Persian literature.  

5pm-7.00pm, Arts 7