Fall 2017 Course - URDU 3300/7300

Ongoing Mahfil: Readings in Urdu Poetry URDU3300/7300

Instructor: Mehr Farooqi,; Monday 6-8:30 pm.

The seminar is taught as a weekly mahfil which means a gathering of people who love literary arts, specially poetry. The syllabus is flexible. It reflects the general mood of the participants; what they want to read. Mostly we read the ghazal form of poetry, analyze and translate. The oral, performative aspect is emphasized. Texts are available in both Urdu and Hindi script. Participants should be able to read and understand the basic language. The response papers and other written assignments are in ENGLISH. Advanced students (graduate) read literary criticism.

Students have to write weekly responses. By the end of the semester we expect everyone to have a fairly high degree of familiarity with the world, or rather the milieu that shaped the poetry. Most students will be able to acquire critical skills in analyzing poetry.

Course work and grade allocation:

  • Weekly response papers 25%
  • Mid-Term paper 15%
  • Translation project 20%
  • Attendance and participation 20%
  • Final paper 20%

Highlight: This semester’s highlight is a live ghazal performance by renowned artiste Pooja Goswami Pavan, October 15, in Old Cabell Hall. Pooja will give a workshop on ghazal performance on October 16 specially for our class.

Come join the mahfil!

NEW COURSE - PERS 3559/5559: Human Rights in Iran

Instructor: Mehrangiz Kar

Beginning with the Constitutional revolution of 1905-11 and its two central concerns--limiting the power of the king and the establishment of a House of Justice (civil courts), this course studies the struggle for and the social and political obstacles to the promotion of human rights in contemporary Iran. Although Iran did sign the three basic International human rights documents before the 1979 Islamic revolution, the fight for individual and women's rights, freedom of press, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, among others, continues to this day. Through a variety of readings and documentary films, we will focus on the Iranian people's relentless demand for freedom of expression, free and fair elections, gender equality, minority and labor rights.

NEW COURSE - PETR 3559: Women's Rights in Iran

Instructor: Mehrangiz Kar

A widespread and longstanding struggle for gender equity and reform within the family unit characterizes contemporary Iranian history. This course will introduce students to Iranian Laws and the historical, socio-cultural, Islamic, and political aspects of its construction before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.  We will study the debates around the contested applications of Sharia Laws on family and personal status laws. We will examine laws pertaining to marriage, polygamy, divorce, child custody, inheritance, and labor and reproduction rights. We will also analyze contemporary Iranian voices of reform, including the approaches of Muslim women rights activists to equality, secularity, and modernity as well as the Campaign for One Million Signatures.

Spring 2017 Shea Vacancies

12/13/16 - There are currently 9 vacancies at Shea House: 6 female spaces, 2 male spaces, and 1 single room available across the following language pods: 2 Japanese, 1 Korean, 1 Persian, 1 Arabic, 4 Chinese. Please apply through Housing & Residence Life if interested or go to the Shea House website for more information.

Shea House Application Deadline

Shea House language residence hall will be accepting applications starting October 6th. You have until November 7th to apply. Selection results will be available at the end of November. If interested, apply through the UVA online housing portal, here. For more information about Shea House, click here.


NEW COURSE: Middle East/South Asia Histories of Shakespeare on Film

Wednesdays, 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM, 191 New Cabell Hall, Instructor: Samhita Sunya

NEW COURSE: Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East

This course is designed to explore the diversity and complexity of human life in the Middle East and to interrogate categories of identity and knowledge. In pursuit of this, the course will focus on four large themes and provide a variety of points of entry into these topics: representation, gender and sexuality, religion and religious expression, and political and associational life. Readings will be pulled from a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, but will have a particular focus on anthropological and ethnographically informed material.

Shea House Vacancies

8/12/16 - There are currently two vacant female double rooms available at Shea House. If interested, apply via the Housing & Residence life website. For more information, contact Joshau Sagartz at

New Course: Islam, Women, and Feminism

232 New Cabell Hall

This course will critically examine the diversity of women’s status, roles, and experiences in Muslim societies. We will learn how Muslim women shape and are shaped by their local Islamic/ate life-worlds as well as the wider global forces. The topics will include identity politics, orientalism, colonialism, postcolonialism, Islamic feminism, veiling, sexuality, women’s activism, subjectivity, agency, piety, secularism, modernity, nationalism, neoliberalism, civil society and the state.
This course will draw on multiple disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, history, Islamic studies, literature and media. As such, we will develop an in-depth comparative perspective on the variety of ways in which Muslim women inhabit their gendered identities. Throughout the course, rather than working in the abstract categories of Islam and patriarchy, deemed to be essentialist, immutable, and ahistorical, we will instead locate the issues of Muslim women in their own specific sociopolitical and historical contexts. We will use the feminist theory of “intersectionality” by critically situating gender at the intersections of religion, culture, ethnicity, family, nation-state, nationalist movements, laws, social institutions, economic realities, class dynamics, and political ideologies.

MESA 3559, Section 004

Islam, Women, and Feminism

Feyza Adli

Th 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM

232 New Cabell Hall

TEDxUVA Conference 2016: Sights Unseen - Farzaneh Milani

Click here to visit the MESALC video archive and watch department chair, Farzaneh Milani, give a TEDx talk!