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Literature and ethnic Americans topic of April 8 lecture


Persis Karim

  • April 1, 2009

"Literature and the Making of Ethnic Americans" will be discussed in a presentation April 8 by Persis Karim as part of the year-long Global Knowledge Series looking at Afghanistan and Iran at California State University, East Bay.

The free presentation by the associate professor of comparative literature at San Jose State University will be from noon-1:30 p.m. in the Biella Room of the University Library, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward.

Karim will investigate the ways that the Afghan and Iranian communities have forged an ethnic community and identity through literature and the ways they've challenged and grappled with representations of their countries, cultures and experiences through poetry, fiction and nonfiction.

Karim teaches literature, creative writing and Middle Eastern Studies at SJSU. She is the editor of Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (2006) and co-editor of A World Between: Poems, Short Stories and Essays by Iranian-Americans (1999). She has written numerous articles about Iranian American literature and is working on a collection of essays about Middle Eastern American communities.

On April 28, Soheila Amirsoleimani, associate professor of Persian at the University of Utah, will speak on, “Hyphenated Lives: Muslim Americas in the United States” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the same location.

Amirsoleimani specializes in medieval Perso-Islamic history and classical Persian literature. Her articles on various Persian texts have appeared in Islamic and Iranian studies journals in the U.S. and Europe.  

The CSUEB series by the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences began in the fall with the exhibit, "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul," at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, combined with the collaborative conference, "Recovering Afghanistan's Past: Cultural Heritage in Context," at the University of California campus in Berkeley, and the panel discussion, "The Future of Afghanistan's Past: Valuing Cultural Heritage," also at the Asian Art Museum.

The year-long focus on Afghanistan and Iran will conclude October 23-24 with the conference "In the World, At Home: A Conference on Afghan and Iranian Diaspora Cultures and Communities in the Bay Area," on Cal State East Bay's Hayward Campus. Additional information on the conference and other events in the series are available at the CLASS Web site.

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