Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Los Angeles, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10426
Approve DateOctober 11, 2022
Project TitleKhoshsirat, Zia (California, Los Angeles, U. of) "Language Ideologies and Affect: An Ethnography of Spiritual Persian Poetry Assemblies in Los Angeles"
At the heart of the diverse cultural activities of Iranians in Los Angeles in the post-Islamic Revolution era, the emergent spiritual Persian poetry assemblies’with a broad historical background in early Islamic and medieval Persianate royal courts’became the most organized and elaborated forms of cultural practices among mid-upper-class Iranians. Drawing on the nationalist ideologies of the Pahlavi period and following the tense US-Iran relations (1979 revolution, hostage crisis, and 9/11), participants of these assemblies in Los Angeles have erased the Islamic past and recontextualized the literature in the form of an idealized pre-/non-Islamic Persia. This study focuses on three Persian poetry classes where Iranians engage in the discourse of spirituality, and within which such activities in these forms of assemblies, the concepts of a ‘spiritual,’ ‘elite’ Iranian are continuously recreated and reshaped. It examines how the discourse of spirituality (erf_n) shifts across hierarchal contexts of interaction at these Persian poetry assemblies in Los Angeles. It investigates how partaking in such affective-discursive practices becomes semiotically welded into forms of knowledge, authority, and personhood resulting in making ‘authentic,’ ‘elite,’ ‘spiritual’ members of the community. To answer these questions, I will continue observant participation (Vargas 2006), interviews, and archival study in Los Angeles County.