Category Archives: event

MRN sponsored walk for PICUM

MRN is organising a fun sponsored walk along the River Thames in London, in order to raise money for the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM). PICUM works to promote respect for, and raise awareness of the issues faced by, undocumented migrants across Europe.

The walk will take place on Saturday 5th July 2008 and will take us from Greenwich to the London Eye, along the River Thames. It promises to be an enjoyable and worthwhile event, so please come and join us, and bring friends and family!

More details can be found on the MRN website at , including a downloadable registration form. If you’d like to come along, please contact Cristina ( by the 20th June.


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Weapons of Massive Laughter

I am a connoisseur of humor and satire. In fact, on those days that I feel blue and find life a bit overwhelming, I retreat into my room and watch a few YouTube clips of stand-up by Dave Chapelle (famous for his Comedy Central show, Chapelle Show), Margaret Cho, and Russell Peters among others. Sometimes, I’ll look up old Saturday Night Live skits from Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman. Friend have witnessed me on my own hilarious musings and I know that if a person is down in the dumps, nothing gets one out of their doldrums better than deep, belly-filled laughs!

I’ve decided to combine my love of humor into my own examination of the Iranian Diaspora, specifically how 1.5 and second generation Iranian diasporics utilize photoshopping to create digitally altered and humorous images poking fun of Iranian and US/UK politics, and Iranian culture in Iran and in the diaspora among other themes. I first presented a rough version of this at the Third Annual BRISMES Graduate Conference at Wolfson College, Oxford, and will expand the theme to explore how diasporic Iranians are also utilizing Youtube to make their own home-grown humor exploring such things as dating, inter-generational issues (i.e.: 1.5 and second generation Iranians versus how their parents act in daily life), and double standards in how parents treat young women and men in the diaspora. I’ll be presenting my findings at the Moving Borders: The Aesthetics of Migration, part of the Mellon Lecture Series at UCL. My colleague, Dr. Federica Mazzara has been marvelous in organizing the entire event and I am excited by all the interesting papers that will be presented, especially one by my friend Alpesh!

Perhaps another motivation for my recent interest into humor and parody in the diasporic Iranian landscape has a lot to do with how Middle Easterners are portrayed and essentialized as being either overly sensual/sexual or barbarically violent. In between these two massive stereotypes is the picture that Middle Easteners are also devoid of any humor or parody. Well, take away the stereotypical images usually presented and there is a very rich history of humor, especially in the Iranian context. I grew up on the parody short stories of Mulla Nasruddine. For the diasporic Iranian community, there is a plethora of talented stand-up comedians, such as Omid Djalili, Shappi Khorsandi, and Maz Jobrani to name a few. These comedians are answering back to many years of bigoted assumptions through the use of wit and humor. Who says that Iranians can’t appreciate a good laugh?

To drop you all a good WML (Weapons of Massive Laughter), I have included a few links to my favorite stand-up by Djalili, Jobrani, and Khorsandi.



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Filed under conference, event, Humor, Iranian diaspora, multimedia, research, Uncategorized


Please click on the image to find out more about the contribution of the Irish to the British construction industry.

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Filed under event, history, Uncategorized

Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum

Friday November 9th, 2007
Room N336, Senate House, University of London

Registration from 9.15am
9.45am – Welcome
Session 1: 10 – 11.45am  Owen Wright (SOAS) The Ikhwan al-Safa’ on Rhythm
Sam Mirelman (SOAS) ‘Music Theory’ Texts from the Ancient Near East
11.45am – tea/coffee
Session 2: 12.15 – 1pm  Ruth Davis (University of Cambridge) Portraying
the East in Mandatory Palestine: Jewish Nationalism and ‘Oriental Music’.
1pm – Lunch
Session 3:  2.30 – 4.15pm   Martin Stokes (University of Oxford) The
Melancholic Cosmopolitanism of Müslüm Gürses
Tony Langlois (University College, Cork) Constructing the Sacred and
Ethnic in North African Music Festivals
4.15 – 5.15pm tea/coffee and final discussion session
5.30 – 6.30pm   Concert featuring Palestinian singer Reem Kelani

The Middle East and Central Asia Music forum is open to researchers,
students and anyone interested in the music and culture of the region. In
the spirit of fostering dialogue and interdiscplinarity, we hope that the
issues discussed at the forum will be of interest to a broad audience,
including musicologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers in the
arts, humanities and social sciences. In addition, we welcome those
working on other aspects of Middle Eastern and Central Asian culture
broadly speaking (dance, visual arts, media, film, literature, etc.)

Advance booking is requested via Valerie James at; there
will be a nominal charge of £5 to include tea and coffee. Attendance for
students is free.


Filed under event, music, research

SOAS Centres Launch: Food Studies Centre and Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

11 October 2007, Brunei Gallery, 6.30pm

Apparently, inter-sections was cutting edge when formulating our theme of the month of May. The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) will launch its two new centres, the Food Studies Centre and the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies together.

Professor Sidney Mintz from John Hopkins University will give a guest lecture on ‘Food and Diaspora’.

For email enquiries write to

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Exiled Lit Cafe: State of Emergency

Monday 6th August 2007 at 7.30 pm

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

Soleïman Adel Guémar whose poetry book State of Emergency has just been published by Arc. Rooted in Algerian experience, it speaks of urgent concerns everywhere – oppression, resistance, state violence, traumas and private dreams. Soleiman Adel Guemar was born and raised in Algiers where he worked as a journalist. He also published numerous stories and won two national poetry prizes. In 2002 he left Algeria to seek safety for himself and his family in the UK.
Jean-Louis N’tadi Playwright Jean-Louis N’tadi was born in 1964 in Congo-Brazzaville. A political activist with the main opposition party and a Red Cross humanitarian worker, he was dubiously charged by the government with “trafficking information” and defamation. His works include the Le Chef de l’Etat, a parable highly critical of the presidency of Sassou-Nguesso, Vendu, Verve d’une Creature and Monsieur le Maire and L’Acte de Naissance, two volumes written during his detention at Campsfield. He also writes poetry.
Cristina Viti is a poet and translator. Published work includes translations of Dino Campana and Elsa Morante.
Janet Simon comes from the East End of London and was educated at York and Oxford Universities. She lived in Paris throughout the 1970s and became fluent in French. Returning to London she worked with deaf, homeless and older people and with asylum seekers. Janet was a prizewinner in the 1991 National Poetry competition. In 1995 she published a collection of poems called “Victoria Park” (Loxwood-Stoneleigh), and in 2006 her pamphlet Asylum was produced by Hearing Eye.
Tom Cheesman will be reading Adel’s work in English. He lectures in German at Swansea University, and recently finished a book on contemporary German Turkish novelists, which will appear in November 2007. He set up and runs Hafan Books, a not-for-profit publisher, which has produced five anthologies since 2003, all featuring writing by refugees and asylum seekers dispersed to Wales, and other writers in Wales who donate their poems, stories and other pieces. The project raises public awareness of refugee issues and raises funds for the local asylum seekers support group. See
EWI Members – £2, others £4

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Guide to African London

The Mayor of London together with Transport for London recently published a small Guide to African London. It contains information on cultural organisations and events; radio and television programmes as well as newspapers on Africa; addresses of shops and restaurants; and contacts of community groups based in London.

The free guide is available at the bigger tube stations or can be downloaded as a PDF file:

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