Category Archives: arts

A Blog on Cultures of Migration in Italy

A friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Federica Mazzara, a fellow at the UCL Mellon Programme, has recently started a blog, entitled, Moving Boarders: The Aesthetics of Migraton. I had the opportunity to meet Federica this past December and in March, she organized a workshop on the Aesthetics of Migration at UCL which I had the chance to present a paper on the use of parody in photoshopped and YouTube clips by those who are 2nd generation Iranian in the diaspora.

I hope that you take the time to visit Federica’s blog as it has great commentary and links about Italy, migration and visual cultures.



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Favorite Fiction?

Oh, well, it doesn’t have to be fiction alone. It could be non-fiction, graphic novel, etc. What I am getting at is: “What would be your top 10 list of books with a diaspora, migration, identity bent?”

Well, my reading habits tend to change day-by-day, but this would be my top 10 list. I should mention that the list might reflect a more Iranian-centric feel to diaspora and identity issues.

10. Daughter of Persia: A Woman’s Journey From Her Father’s Harem Through the Islamic Revolution  by Sattareh Farman Farmaian.

9. Too See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America by Tara Bahrampour.

8. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez — this is a hard one, because I also enjoyed reading In the Name of Salome.

7. A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans by Persis M. Karim & Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami. I also enjoyed and have reviewed Karim’s latest, Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora, but I feel that her first anthology on Iranian diasporic writing was so raw and powerful. The only passage in Let Me Tell You that captured this “raw” appeal, was the short autobiographic story by Paz, entitled, “1979”– this is a must read!

6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel by Milan Kundera. I went through a Kundera phase a two years ago and voraciously read anything from him. This work, by far, is my favorite. Don’t cheat and watch the movie first– that will do you an incredible disservice to the many themes mentioned in the book.

5. Strangeland by Tracey Emin. You already know her for well because of her provoking installations and legendary behavior, but this isn’t about “that” Tracey, but rather a reflective look at the “Tracey, from Margate”. I was especially captivated how she viewed her own bi-cultural heritage, being both English and Turkish Cypriot.

4. The Ministry of Pain by Dubravka Ugresic. The title alludes to an S&M club where Tanja’s students occassionally work to make extra money. Yet, the S&M theme is apt, considering the emotional trauma and pain that each in the book undergoes as Yugoslavia falls apart.

3. Snow by Orhan Pamuk. This book is heavy into identity, especially political and religious identity of a nation. The novel is set in Kars, a city at the crossroads between, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran, where Ka, a poet who has been a political exile in Germany for the past 12 years returns. Posing as a journalist, Ka attempts to uncover the reasons for suicide among young women, but gets embroiled in more serious events that are happening between secularist and Islamist in Kars.

2 and 1 tied– Persepolis 1 & 2  by Marjane Satrapi. I simply love this book. I particularly love how it uses graphics to illustrate her powerful and painful story. If you decide to watch the film before reading the book, I won’t chastise you for it because both are brilliant!


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Free poetry writing workshops for refugees and exiles

Exiled Writers Ink invites you to participate in:


Tuesdays 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th October, 11.00 am to 1.00 pm

Where do you come from, what is your identity?

If you are interested in writing poems about your life experiences and what it is like to be exiled in a new country, do come along and be encouraged to find a way into writing. All welcome. Poetry Writing Workshops with poet and workshop facilitator Lynette Craig who holds an MPhil in Writing; she mentors exiled writers and leads workshops for both beginners and more experienced writers. Her own writing reflects her interest in the dispossessed, the persecution and exile.  

Finsbury Library

245 St.John Street


Close to corner of St John Street and Skinner Street

Tube: Angel, Northern Line

Buses: 153

Wheelchair access. Disabled toilet.


Exiled Writers Ink thanks Islington Libraries for providing the workshop venue.

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Lecture on ‘Stereotypes and Strangers: Muslims in Film and Television Drama since 9/11’

23 October 2007, 5.30pm, Room NG 15, Senate House, University of London

Dr. Peter Morey 

‘Stereotypes and Strangers: Muslims in Film and Television Drama since 9/11’

Seminar ‘Inter-University Postcolonial Studies’, organised by the Institute for English Studies, University of London

Dr. Peter Morey is Reader in English at the University of East London. He is author of ‘Fictions of India: Narrative and Power’ (Edinburg UP, 2000), ‘Rohinton Mistry’ (Manchester UP Contemporary World Writer’s Series, 2004), and co-editor of ‘Alternative Indias: Writing, Nation and Communalism’ (Rodopi, 2006). He has published widely in the fields of colonial and postcolonial literature, and is currently working on a new monograph, entitled ‘Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation from 9/11 to 7/7’, co-authored with Amina Yaqin, to be published by Harvard University Press.

The autumn 2007 seminar series of the Inter-University Postcolonial Studies is dedicated to the topic of Postcolonial/Muslim Cultures and Representation.  Find the full programme on their website:

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Call for Contributions: Exiled Ink Magazine

The editorial committee of Exiled Ink magazine, a magazine featuring the work of exiled writers, invite contributions for the next issue.

Deadline: end of September 2007

Please send contributions to:

For more information see:

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Rrahman Dedaj at the Exiled Lit Cafe

Monday 8th October 2007 (2nd Monday of the month) at 7.30 pm

Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2 (Covent Garden tube)

Rain Cries in Kew Gardens

The evening is dedicated to one of the greatest Kosovar Albanian poets: Rrahman Dedaj who recently died in exile in London with with poetry performed by his daughter, Arta Dedaj and other Kosovan poets and musicians

Chair: Valbona Ismaili Luta plus Open Mic session

£2 EWI members; £4 others

Exiled Ink! magazine for sale: £3.

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CFP: Conference on Museums and Refugees

Museum in Docklands, London, 13-14 March 2008

Deadline for call of papers:  17 October 2007

How do museums and more broadly the heritage sector engage with refugees and asylum seekers and the increased global focus on forced migration?  The collective and individual voices of the people are rarely heard and often misrepresented in the media.  Museums, academic research centres, non-government organisations and government departments/agencies now see the need to explore the cultural contributions to and impact of refugee and asylum seeker groups on urban and regional centres.

The conference aims to explore how museums and other heritage agencies are responding to complex ethical, legal, social and political issues.  How can museums inform debate and, given recent trends in immigration and asylum polices, highlight international and national obligations to protect people from persecution? 

These issues impact on the work practices of museums in terms of curatorial decisions, collecting strategies, partnerships, approaches to programming, as well as shared decision making in collaborative exhibitions and public events.  Are museums agents and forums of cultural change or do they reflect social change?  Is there a new role for museums in terms of cultural facilitation and mediation?  Should museums be more proactive as places for cross-cultural exchange and developing understanding between ‘new’ communities and peoples of diverse backgrounds?  Are there appropriate ethical codes of practice in place to facilitate these new agendas?

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