September 2018 Newsletter

There's always something happening at NMC, missed out?
Here is a snapshot of what went on this month and what's to come

NMC Students, Staff, and Faculty came together for the new students orientation and graduate students reception to kick off the new academic year with a little taste of the Near and Middle East. More photos of the event have been posted to our Facebook page.

For some this will be the beginning of their academic journey and their very first year at the University of Toronto, while others will be approaching the end of their masters or doctorate. Whatever your situation we wish everyone a happy and successful year!

Professor Ehsan Yarshater (1920-2018)

Professor Ehsan Yarshater served the field of Iranian studies for many decades as an exemplary scholar and a pioneer. With a Ph.D. in Persian Literature from the University of Tehran (1947), and a second Ph.D. in Old and Middle Iranian Languages from the University of London (1960), he had an enormous scholarly range. He crafted the critical tools for the professionalization of Iranian studies and for the dissemination and accessibility of scholarly research to both Persian and English language readerships. He peacefully passed away on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the age of 98 in Fresno, California.

The Yarshater Lectureship in Avestan & Pahlavi Languages and Cultures was established at the University of Toronto in 2016. Please join us in honouring Dr. Yarshater’s legacy by enhancing course opportunities for our students. Your support is deeply appreciated.

Amir Hassanpour Memorial Lecture

Amir Hassanpour was a scholar of Kurdish history and language, a committed social-justice activist, a professor at the University of Toronto, and a great friend.

On October 13, 2018 from 6-9 pm  we honour Dr. Hassanpour with a lecture and musical performance. We hope you can join us.

The keynote speaker for the evening is Dr. Joost Jongerden who will be speaking on the topic State and Capitalism in Kurdistan: Imagining Alternative Futures.

This event is free and open to the public. Please register in advance here.

NMC Alumnus Publishes New Book

Mohammed Rustom, NMC alumnus and associate professor at Carleton University, has translated a volume of Al-Ghazali's Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, entitled The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration. The translation of this volume is part of a larger project to translate all 40 volumes into English. You can learn more about the book or purchase your copy here.

Institute of Islamic Studies New Website Launched

The Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto has launched their new website. Learn more about the Institute, their events, and how to get in touch with them by visiting the new site here.

The Institute has also put out a call for post-doctoral fellows. Learn more about the requirements and how to apply here.

Comets, Eclipses, and other Phenomena in Syriac Chronicles

Over the past three years, Prof. Amir Harrak has been working with scholars of the history of astronomy at the University of Jena, Germany, to verify the historicity of the celestial phenomena described in the Syriac Chronicles. The reports are compared with Chinese, Byzantine, Arab and European records, and sometimes all of these writings amazingly concord in dating such appearances, observed in various locations in the sky, following the places of the chroniclers. Three articles are to be published shortly, one in the Journal for the History of Astronomy, and another in the Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies (2018).

The attached poster entitled “Celestial signs in the 8th century Syriac Chronicle of Zuqnīn: their cultural and scientific relevance – here comet Halley in 530 and 760” was presented in a Vienna conference on August 22, 2018.     

NMC263: The Archaeology of Gods, Ghosts, Witches and Demons in the Ancient Near East

Halloween costumes modeled in class showed insight into some aspects of religious practices in the Ancient Near East.

The first picture is a cylinder seal, with images from Gobekli Tepe (Turkey), and Mesopotamia showing a continuing thread of human-animal imagery across time.

The second picture, a Bucrania, represented by a cattle head and horns, was a powerful symbol in the Neolithic Ancient Near East.

Paul Pesach Heger

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Paul Heger. Dr. Heger wrote his dissertation here in NMC and published mainly on topics relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dr. Heger passed at the age of 94. May he rest in peace.

Afghanistan in Academia

Recent NMC graduate Sajjad Nejatie (PhD 2017) will present a paper at the Afghanistan in Academia workshop that is set to take place at SOAS in October.Dr. Nejatie’s presentation will explore the ways in which research of little-known primary sources located in British archives may advance the field of “Afghanistan Studies.” For further details about the workshop click here

Upcoming Events

There's always something happening at NMC, keep up to date with our upcoming events here.

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