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Home » Cultural Geography, Geographical Education, Geopolitics, Southwest Asia and North Africa

Iran Lecture Slides

Submitted by on June 4, 2015 – 1:53 pm 10 Comments |  
Arabic Persian Islam MapMy second-to-last lecture on the history and geography of current global events has now been delivered, and the slides are available here at the link. As is noted on the first slide, the lecture was titled, Iran: Nuclear Negotiations, Geopolitical Ambitions, Cultural Complexities, and Historical Legacies.    

Next week I will speak on Nigeria; after that I hope to resume regular posting on GeoCurrents. 

In the map posted here, Farsi (Iran), Dari (Afghanistan), and Tajik (Tajikistan) are all taken to be dialects of Persian. Afghanistan is mapped as a Persian-speaking country even though it is possible that a bit less than half of its population speaks Dari as its mother tongue. But even if this is the case, Persian is still the main language of inter-ethnic communication in the country.

In the lecture, I played a four-minute video clip of the Iranian American comedian Maz Jobrani joking about the differences between Iranians (Persians) and Arabs (a still-shot of Jobrani’s routine is included in the slides). I played this clip because I think that comedy is an effective way of conveying  ethnic stereotypes that may be offensive but are still important to understand. I also think that Jobrani is a talented comedian. But in the beginning of his routine, Jobrani makes some comments about Iranians being “Aryans” that I could not let pass. As a result, the slides following the one of Jobrani take a short detour into the issue of Indo-European linguistics.


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  • SirBedevere

    I find the distinction between language, religion, and citizenship is quite difficult for students to grasp in the Near Eastern context (except, of course, for Near Eastern students).

    While you are in the neighborhood, I would love to see your take on the Turkish election.

    • I’ve had the same difficulty explaining language vs. ethnicity vs. citizenship in the Eastern European context. Perhaps it’s a positive thing that American students don’t have the same worries about ethnicity as in so many other parts of the world?

      I too would like to talk more about the Turkish election.

      • SirBedevere

        In isolation, I think the American equation of citizenship and identity is a good thing. It only becomes dangerous when it is assumed that others think the same way.

        • Oh yes, that’s precisely what I meant. It’s good that we have a way of identifying without ethnicity being so first-and-foremost as it is in Eastern Europe (and elsewhere). But it’s dangerous to impose our own concepts on others: dangerous because it doesn’t work and simply backfires.

          • SirBedevere

            And, of course, because solutions that would work in our context, woudn’t ever work in some others.

          • You always put it so much better than I ever could!

          • SirBedevere

            I don’t know, Asya. I think you just have a taste for the stilted and overly vague.

          • Yeah, for the beautiful prose I can only hope to imitate! 🙂

    • Good point. I will start regular blogging next week, and I will certainly do something on Turkey’s election.