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Iranian & Middle Eastern Studies Center

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Upcoming Events


April 24

Aram Sarkissian and Professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh

IMESC is proud to host a roundtable discussion about recent events in Armenia and the conflict with Azerbaijan, including the impact on the diaspora, in the context of a historical experience of genocide. The discussants are Mr. Aram Sarkissian, pillar of the local and statewide Armenian community, and Professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, acclaimed art historian at UC Davis.

This roundtable discussion will be held in the University Union, Orchard Suite, from 4:00-5:15pm. Registration is not required.


Past Events

April 22, 2024

Nationally and internationally renowned scholar of Palestine and Islamophobia Dr. Hatem Bazian visited Sac State and gave a presentation titled, "Palestine, Islamophobia, and the Structural Demonization of Palestinians." The event was hosted by the Professor Ayad Al-Qazzaz Endowment and co-sponsored by the Departments of Women's and Gender Studies, Humanities and Religious Studies, and Geography; IMESC; the Palestine American League; Students for Justice in Palestine; Faculty for Justice in Palestine; the Palestine, Arab, and Muslim Caucus of the CFA; and the Sharif Family Foundation.

March 27, 2024

Nowruz Fundraising Luncheon and SWANA Center Soft Launch. This event brought together campus partners whose contributions enable IMESC to establish two new research grants for students studying South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA) and its diasporas. Research funds are expected to become available in Fall 2024.

March 5, 2024

Film Screening and discussion with the filmmakers, "36 Seconds: Portrait of a Hate Crime." IMESC is proud to have hosted Tarek Albaba and Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb for a screening and discussion of the West Coast academic premier of this award-winning documentary, which tells the story of Muslim American college students Deah, Yusor, and Razan, who were killed in a hate crime in Chapel Hill, NC in 2015.

November 16, 2023

Two of the stars of the Afghan Girls' Robotics Team, Shabnam Noorzai and Somaya Faruqi, discussed their experiences with the team, the collapse of Afghanistan, and the transformative impact of girls' education in turbulent times. Co-hosted with the Department of Women's and Gender Studies and the Office of International Programs and Global Engagement.

October 29, 2023

"Alborz: We Climb Mountains" Documentary film screening and discussion with award-winning filmmaker, Maryam Sepehri. The film tells the story of the school during many tumultuous years in Iran’s modern history, from the perspectives of its graduates, teachers, and even Dr. Mojtahedi’s own voice from archival recordings.

October/November, 2023

"The Seen Iranian Woman" art exhibit curated by Sac State faculty Jaleh Naasz, MFA, highlighting Iranian women's experiences and showing the ways that laws regarding compulsory hijab, veil, and other fashions can lead to the atrocities and plight that many women face around the world. Co-sponsorship and collaboration.

September 28, 2023

Dr. Sahar Sadeghi discussed her newly-published book, Conditional Belonging: The Racialization of Iranians in the Wake of Anti-Muslim Politics.

September 21, 2023

IMESC served as a co-sponsor on the first-ever Sac State World Culture Festival. The event featured musical, cultural, and artistic performances from around the world.

April 13 and 14, 2023

Ambassador John Limbert discussed the future of the US-Iran relationship in an English-language presentation titled "Iran and the US: Building the Road to Nowhere." He also sat for a Persian-language interview on his book about Shiraz in the time of the poet Hafez, titled شیراز در عصر حافظ: میدان جنگ رندان و زاهدان as well as his novel, "Believers: Love and Death in Tehran."

April 5, 2023

IMESC hosted a special screening of the documentary film, "The Voice of Dust and Ash" about legendary Iranian classical singer and maestro Ostad Mohammad Reza Shajarian. The film's Executive Producer, Mr. Sam Changizi, led the Q&A session after the film.

March 30, 2023

Nowruz Celebration, hosted in partnership with the Center for International Programs and Global Engagement.

March 8, 2023

Somayeh Kargar, former political prisoner who was incarcerated in Iran’s notorious Evin and Qarchak prisons for her women’s rights advocacy, discussed her work in support of women’s rights in the context of a repressive religious government. She also shared her experience of being arrested and incarcerated and ultimately securing her release, grounded in the broader political context of Iran’s "Woman, Life, Freedom" movement. Watch the presentation on the IMESC YouTube channel.

February 9 and 10, 2023

Kourosh Ziabari, internationally award-winning Iranian journalist, spoke about media, journalism, and fake news. His recent articles report on the Islamic Republic’s violent crackdown on the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, including pieces on the Iranian government’s targeted killing of children in the protests and the use of the death penalty and denial of due process as a deterrent to repress popular dissent. Watch his talks on the IMESC Youtube channel.

October 24, 2022

"Soapboxes and Stealth on Revolution Street: Iranian Women’s Local and Transnational Activism." In this presentation Dr. A. Marie Ranjbar compared the 2009 Green Movement, the Girls of Revolution Street, and My Stealthy Freedom to examine how women’s political participation is used to frame pro-democracy protests in Iran. Dr. Ranjbar argues that Iranian women’s activism become legible to US audiences when protests conform to narrow frames of feminist activism and orientalist tropes. Taken together, these case studies illustrate how limiting feminist activism in Iran to binary frameworks of pro-regime or anti-government can erase the multidimensional claims of women protesters.

August 14, 2022

Classical Iranian Music Concert by the Varashaan Ensemble.

December 6, 2021

"Imagining Afghanistan" Book Talk

This presentation featured Nivi Manchanda, PhD, Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London. Professor Manchanda discussed her recently-published book, titled Imagining Afghanistan: The History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge. The presentation also included a discussion of the current situation in Afghanistan and the status of women in light of recent events.

To access a recording of the presentation, click here.

April and May, 2021
Culture & Language Workshop Series for K-12 Educators
Sessions: Iran, Afghanistan, and the Arab World

February 7, 2019
Panel Discussion: The US-Iran Conflict
Dr. Mansour Farhang: “The Islamic Republic’s Regional Ambitions: From Mythology to Reality”
Dr. Gary Sick: “American’s Undeclared War on Iran: A Dangerous Gamble”

February 1, 2019
Masih Alinejad, “Revolutions are Not Possible Without Women’s Participation” (in Farsi)

January 31, 2019
Masih Alinejad, “The Iranian Women’s Movement Against Compulsory Hejab”

August 17, 2018
Dr. Sahar Razavi: “Oasis or Mirage? Gender, War, and Iran’s Revolutionary Women”

March 2, 2012
Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian
“Vocal Chanting in Persian Music" plus lecture in Farsi

October 6, 2011
“Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution”
Documentary film by Khaled Sayed followed by Q & A discussion

October 28, 2010
Dr. Mohammad H. Qayoumi: “Afghanistan: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities”

March 10, 2010
Dr. Maziar Behrooz: “Iran’s 2009 Contested Presidential Election and the Rise of the Green Movement.”

November 6, 2009
Dr. Juan Cole: "Can the Obama Administration Avoid War with Iran?"

April 14, 2009
Mehri Yazdani: "Persia: A Journey Through Arts"

March 10, 2009
Dr. Bahman Fozouni: "US-Iran Relations in Historical Perspective"

February 27, 2009
Dr. Manzar Foroohar: “Zionism and Peace: Compatible or Contradictory Ideas”

February 26, 2009
Dr. Manzar Foroohar, “Occupation of Palestine: The Obstacle to Peace.”

April 18, 2008
Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo, “How to be an Iranian Today” (Emroozeh Chegooneh Mitavan Irani Bood?)

April 17, 2008
Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo, "The Changing Concept of the 'intellectual' in Iran Today."

September 17, 2007
Dr. Hamid Shirvani, "The Challenge of Higher Education in the US."

November 5, 2006
Conversation with Reza Badiyi

April 14, 2006
Mehrangiz Kar: "Human Rights and Democracy in Iran"

March 23, 2006
Dr. Mansour Farhang: "Behavioral Impediments to the Development of Democracy in the Middle East"

October 27, 2005
Dr. Alireza Shomali: "Theocracy vs. Democracy: The Metamorphosis of Political Thought in
Post-Revolutionary Iran”