Public views of Iran in the United States date mostly from the Revolution of 1978-79, and are colored by that event and the subsequent 444 day U.S. Hostage crisis. Few Americans understand anything of the richness of Iranian culture, or the civilized tapestry of Iranian life--something that has changed surprisingly little since ancient times. In this talk I will present another side of Iran than that which most Americans perceive--a deeply spiritual civilization, infused with a profound sense of aesthetics tinged with humor and irony, where men and women share a sense of the interrelationship of human beings, nature and the destiny inherent in all forms of life.
William O. Beeman is Professor of Anthropology; Theatre, Speech and Dance; and Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. During 2004-2005, he is Visiting Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University in California. He has lived and worked in the Middle East for over 30 years, including nearly 10 years residence in Iran. He is author of more than 100 scholarly articles, and 500 opinion pieces and essays. His books include: Language, Status and Power in Iran; Culture, Performance and Communication in Iran; and the forthcoming books: The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other; and Iraq: State in Search of a Nation. He has served as consultant to the U.S. State Department, The U.S. Department of Defense; the United Nations; and has testified before the U.S. Congress on Middle Eastern affairs.
This lecture is part of the "Iran: Past and Present" program organized by the Persian Students Association at Stanford University.