Doing some work on my teaching philosophy and I just can’t explain how much I love, love bell hooks. 

“I celebrate teaching that enables transgressions—a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom,” (bell hooks in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, p. 12). 

pleasenomoretimothyhay:

phosphorescentt:

occupiedmuslim:

Living on the shore of Lake Ontario, just east of Toronto, photographer Matt Molloy has daily encounters with brilliant sunsets and cloudscapes that he’s been taking photographs of for over three years. One day he began experimenting with time-lapse sequences by taking hundreds of images as the sun set and the clouds moved through the sky. Molloy then digitally stacked the numerous photos to reveal shifts in color and shape reminiscent of painterly brush strokes that smeared the sky. You can learn more about his “timestack” technique over at Digital Photo Magazine and prints are available here.

my love for these is absolutely infinite

This is magnificent. Wow. I’ve seen these before, but they are just so stunning. Absolute genius. 

(via bucketofrhymes)

Super excited!!! I asked my Uni’s library to purchase these books & they just came in!


The first is:

Identity, Language and Culture in Diaspora: A Study of Iranian Female Migrants to Australia

Book description:


Over recent decades, there has been a great influx of migrants from Iran to various parts of the globe due to various socio-political upheavals. This group has a unique characteristic before migrating to Australia, North America, and Europe. They had lived the first 20 years of their lives in the Western-oriented monarchy of Iran, and then, after the 1978 Islamic Revolution, under the Islamic anti-Western government of the country. This fascinating book investigates changes in the identity of a specific group of these migrants: first generation Iranian Muslim women in Australia. These women have experienced contact-based processes, such as acculturation and adaptation to a new social context. The focus of this study is on investigating modifications in five different aspects of identity: linguistic, cultural, national, gender, and religious. The book examines whether the attitudes of these women are influenced by socio-cultural, language, and time factors, and it identifies the core values that they continue to hold after migration.

The second is:

Welcoming the Stranger: Narratives of Identity and Belonging in an Iranian Diaspora


Book description:


About six million people are estimated to have left Iran since 1979. They are dispersed in Western countries, including Australia, where they form a relatively unknown community. To Western eyes, they left their birthplace due to a range of historical events-the 1979 revolution and its aftermath, the protracted war between Iran and Iraq. Arriving in the host country, they had to wait on the host to give them an identity that tted the prevailing socio-political notions: they had to become either ‘migrants’ or ‘refugees’. The voices in this book challenge the identities imposed on them. They see themselves as strangers, travellers, and their reception in Australia has been at odds with the ancient Persian notions of hospitality. Welcoming the Stranger: Narratives of Identity and Belonging in an Iranian Diaspora allows Iranians to speak through their stories of displacement and cultural trauma. Their voices bring to the fore questions about identity, hospitality, displacement and language which challenge how the West welcomes people who ‘come knocking on the door’.

On studying diaspora and investing so much of yourself in it

Grad school’s been hard. 

Not because of the amount of readings and assignments, not because of the deadlines and grant applications, not because of re-orienting myself in a new faculty and becoming acquainted with the academic culture of my university. 

It’s been hard because I’m investing so much of myself in my research subject. I know that everyone in grad school doing research invests a big chunk of them in it and there are many folks doing work based on their lived experiences and identities. But sometimes, doing this work is really, really emotionally hard and de-stabilizing. 

My working research title is: 

Mahn ahz enjah hastam (I am from here): Diaspora and citizenship through the lives of Iranians in Canada.” 


I’m doing work on a community I grew up in, a community I am a part of but part of my studies is trying to do a huge catch up on learning the geopolitics of Iran, the history of Iran (pre and post 1979 revolution), how the current regime works, what kind of migration patterns out of Iran there are (pre 1979 revolution, immediately after the 1979 revolution, and current migration) all in efforts to understand what caused the Iranian diaspora to form, how it was created and how it is maintained. For this, I’m looking at everything from activism (transnational networking, solidarity building), the importance of having cultural hubs like Iranian grocery stores and bookstores, how diasporic Iranians understand themselves and express this through mediums such as short stories, music videos, etc. A whole slew of things that require a comprehensive understanding of the various political factions that came out of the 1979 revolution. But most of all, I’m desperately trying to quickly improve my language skills and this, above everything else, is the most emotional and frustrating part of my research.

I was born in Canada, English is my first language and I speak Farsi at home but it’s a hybrid mix of Farsi and English (Fargilisi). When I was a kid an my mama wanted to put me in Farsi class, I refused. I’m regretting this so hard right now. Why didn’t I just go to the weekend classes? Learn the alphabet, learn the script, learn how to read and write in Farsi? I’m really lucky that I have a supportive partner. He’s non-Iranian and is learning the Farsi alphabet (there’s a bunch of cool apps for this) but he’s learning so fast that I can’t keep up! At a family party we were sitting with some of my Iranian girlfriends and Trevor was reading the label of some dried fruit and he said “Toursh” (sour) and we all started laughing and shouting about how we can’t believe he can read it and we can’t!

I’ve taken Rosetta Stone-like CDs from the library to kick-start my language lessons and I know this is going to be a long process and I’m okay with that, it’s an important part of my studies. But there’s something about having to ask your parents for definitions of words, to explain the context of a Farsi video you watch on YouTube that gets really tiring and draining. I wonder am I bugging my parents too much about this stuff? Should I even be doing diasporic Iranian studies if my language isn’t up to snuff? This is the first time in my academic studies I’m relying on my folks to help me, to be an important support, to help guide me with language and cultural references and sometimes, I feel small. I feel small that I have to google translate the Farsi Facebook statuses my friends post. I feel small that I can’t understand the lyrics of my farvourite Iranian rappers. I feel small that I can’t easily talk to my grandma and cousins over the phone on our weekly calls. I feel small that I’m being so self conscious about this and I get frustrated that I won’t allow myself to just sit with this struggle, to recognize how much privilige I hold as a diasporic body and how privileged I am that I am choosing to learn a second language. It’s not something that was forced on me. It’s not something that I have to do in order to survive like my parents did and so many other immigrants and other folks have (especially colonized folks). When it comes to learning Farsi, I have to take a step back and unpack what it all means. I have to remember that there is so much world-wide history of not learning your mother tongue and how many folks were (and still are) systematically not allowed to learn their mother tongues or speak it on a daily basis and how much trauma this has caused people around the world. 

I have to remember that Farsi itself is a language that is forced on folks in Iran. As the official national language, it trumps regional dialects and minority languages. I have to remember that Farsi is something my grandmother had to learn when she moved from Northern Iran to Tehran. I have to remember how my grandfather forced her to practice a Gilaki-free (Northern-Iranian dialect) Farsi accent. 


I have to remember that I’m not alone in all of this. At the 2013 Allied Media Conference there was a session on (Re)Connecting to our Mother Tongues I wish I had attended (but alas, I was on the bus to Detroit). The description itself sums up so much of how I feel: 

We’ll be writing about our experiences as people of color who have been either been told to not speak our language, have been assimilated and are no longer fluent speakers, or have never had the connection at all. We will have time to write about the possible grief that comes with losing connection to mother tongue(s) as well as sharing our words in a safer space open with people of color. Our hope is that participants leave having hope for relearning their language or healing from assimilation.


But unlike many, many folks, I did not experience the kind of state and colonial violence that enforced people to stop using their mother tongues. 

These are the multiple thoughts that are constantly swirling through my mind as I delve deeper into my studies. 

In my program, we have to draft a program plan that outlines what we plan to research. In this document, I added a footnote as to why I felt it was important to include Farsi in my title Mahn ahz enjah hastam (I am from here): Diaspora and citizenship through the lives of Iranians in Canada” and I want to end this post with an excerpt from it:  

I felt the need to use Farsi in my title as this program plan is not only an academic endeavour, it is also personal. Growing up, I was never able to master the Farsi language and instead at home would switch between Farsi and Englisi (English) and spoke in a hybrid way called “Fargilisi.” As Eva Hoffman writes, for immigrants (and I would add anyone who has to speak a language which is not their mother tongue) “much of our inner existence, our sense of self, depends on having a living speech within us” and when one is not allowed to or able to speak their own language, they become “alien” to themselves (Gunew 46). For me, integrating Farsi in my work grounds me and reminds me what I am doing here in the academy. My grandmother never had the chance to pursue any kind of education and my mother and father were not able to complete higher education in Canada. It is because of these three life forces and their constant encouragement to pursue education that I am here. And so, I feel I am not only doing doctoral studies for myself, but also for them. Having Farsi in the title reminds me that I am from “here”—Canada, Iran, and my family. 

Gunew, Sneja. “The Home of Language: A Pedagogy of the Stammer.” Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of      Home and Migration. Eds. Sara Ahmed et al. Oxford, UK: Berg, 2003. 41-58. Print.

____________________________________

Excerpted from: G., Ronak. “Mahn ahz enjah hastam (I am from here): Diaspora and citizenship through the lives of Iranians in Canada.” York University, 2013. 

Thank you for reading. 

Friday night reads: Siege of Azadi Square A Novel of Revolutionary Iran by Manny Shirazi
Such a fantastic and vivid read about women’s organizing in Iran immediately after the 1979 revolution. It focuses on an intergenerational group of women with mixed political orientation (Islamic feminism, secular feminism, pro regime, anti regime) and how all of them are part of the wider women’s movement against the regime’s compulsory hijab laws.
Shirazi’s writing takes you to the streets of Tehran, to the halls of Tehran University, to the kitchen of women’s homes where so much of their organizing, self care and community support takes place.
Right now I’m just overwhelmed by the sheer ferocity of Iranian women and how strong their collective voices were (and still are) and there are do many dynamic elements to this text I will reflect on in a later post.
But as a second generation diasporic Iranian I’m so thankful that a novel like this exists and that it’s written in English (I can’t read Farsi).
It’s providing so many details about the 1979 revolution I haven’t come across yet (I especially appreciate the time Shirazi spends exploring the different political parties that existed during the 1979 revolution (I find that the diversity of opinions and schools of thought that existed during the revolution is often glossed over in texts about it).

Friday night reads: Siege of Azadi Square A Novel of Revolutionary Iran by Manny Shirazi

Such a fantastic and vivid read about women’s organizing in Iran immediately after the 1979 revolution. It focuses on an intergenerational group of women with mixed political orientation (Islamic feminism, secular feminism, pro regime, anti regime) and how all of them are part of the wider women’s movement against the regime’s compulsory hijab laws.

Shirazi’s writing takes you to the streets of Tehran, to the halls of Tehran University, to the kitchen of women’s homes where so much of their organizing, self care and community support takes place.

Right now I’m just overwhelmed by the sheer ferocity of Iranian women and how strong their collective voices were (and still are) and there are do many dynamic elements to this text I will reflect on in a later post.

But as a second generation diasporic Iranian I’m so thankful that a novel like this exists and that it’s written in English (I can’t read Farsi).

It’s providing so many details about the 1979 revolution I haven’t come across yet (I especially appreciate the time Shirazi spends exploring the different political parties that existed during the 1979 revolution (I find that the diversity of opinions and schools of thought that existed during the revolution is often glossed over in texts about it).

mcojdc:

"i am passionate about everything in my life—first and foremost, passionate about ideas and that’s a dangerous person to be in this society". - bell hooks

mcojdc:

"i am passionate about everything in my life—first and foremost, passionate about ideas and that’s a dangerous person to be in this society". - bell hooks

Trying to make sense of a bunch of things and wanted to share a cool quote I just read

"diaspora offers myriad, dislocated sites of contestation the hegemonic, homogenizing forces of globalization" (braziel and mannur in theorizing diaspora pg 11)

So much packed into one short sentence, so much moving between worlds/spaces/places so much hope and possibilities for alternatives and change 

thechosenjuan:

honestly a good partner isn’t necessarily someone who loves the exact same things you love but rather someone who is willing to listen to you ramble on and on about a particular subject that you’re passionate about even if they have little to no interest in it

(via e-goddess)

confusedtree:

Zimmerman got acquitted

Don’t ever fucking tell me racism is over

(via radicalheart82)


Can we just…..

Can we just…..

(Source: beytrill, via the-goddamazon)