March 24, 2014 Lecture Series to Accompany Library of Congress Exhibition "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book"

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In conjunction with its exhibition “A Thousand Years of the Persian Book,” the Library of Congress will offer a series of lectures from April through September that examines the Persian-language literary tradition.

The Library’s exhibition—the first major U.S. exhibition to make a wide-ranging study of the Persian language and literature—opens on Thursday, March 27 in the South Gallery on the second level of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 E. First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. It is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The exhibition will close on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

The lectures will take place at both the Library of Congress and at the University of Maryland, College Park. The lecture series is sponsored by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, through a gift from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute in Hawaii.

In addition to the lecture series, the Library will celebrate the March 27 exhibition opening—timed to coincide with the Persian New Year season of Nowruz—with a day-long program on Persian manuscripts, including a lecture at 10:30 a.m. on “Illustrating the Persian Book: The Happy Marriage of Literary and Visual Narrative.” For more information, visit

Lectures taking place at the Library of Congress will be held at noon in room 220, the AMED Reading Room, on the second level of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Lectures at the University of Maryland also will start at noon but the room locations will be announced later. The exhibition’s lecture series will end on Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a symposium at the Library of Congress, including a lecture by Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University titled “The World of Persian Literary Humanism: Spreading Culture through Books.” Details about the symposium will be announced later.

Lecture Series Schedule

Wednesday, April 9, University of Maryland
“Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran: A Digital Exploration”
Afsaneh Najmabadi, Harvard University

Friday, April 25, Library of Congress
“The Persian Book of Kings: Vicissitudes of a Foundational Text in Iranian Culture”
Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, University of Maryland

Wednesday, May 7, Library of Congress
“Persian Mystical Literature: the Marriage of Poetry and Music”
Jessika Kenney, Cornish College of the Arts, and Fatemeh Keshavarz, University of Maryland

Wednesday, May 21, Library of Congress
“When Ink and Color Meet: The Art of Painting in the Shahnama (Book of Kings)”
Massumeh Farhad, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Wednesday, June 11, Library of Congress
“Woven Words and Painted Pictures: The Persian Book in India”
Sunil Sharma, Boston University

Wednesday, June 25, Library of Congress
“The Persian Book: Animation and Illustration”
Rashin Kheiriyeh, freelance illustrator

Wednesday, July 9, University of Maryland
“Librarians, Patrons and Poets: The Personal Dimension of Persian Manuscripts”
Amy Landau, Walters Art Museum

Wednesday, July 23, Library of Congress
“The Printing Press as an Agent of Tradition in Iran: Revisiting Elizabeth Eisenstein’s The Printing Press as an Agent of Change”
Ulrich Marzolph, University of Goettingen, Germany

Wednesday, Aug. 13, Library of Congress
“The Persian Book in Pre-Modern Turkey”
Ahmet Karamustafa, University of Maryland

Wednesday, Aug. 27, University of Maryland
“Forough Farrokhzad’s Biography and Unpublished Letters”
Farzaneh Milani, University of Virginia

Wednesday, Sept. 10, University of Maryland
“Modern Literature in Afghanistan: Contributions to the Persian Book”
Wali Ahmadi, University of California, Berkeley

The Library’s exhibition will explore the rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last 1,000 years, from illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications. It will focus on the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus. The exhibition features 75 items drawn primarily from AMED’s outstanding Persian collection. For more information, visit

The Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division is the center for the study of 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East and the Caucasus to Central Asia. For more information, visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 14-053
ISSN 0731-3527