Sponsored in part by the Iran Heritage foundation, the conference takes place June 12-16, 2008, and has a really rich programme and a parallel series of documentary film screenings. In addition, there is an impressive exhibition of photojournalist Kaveh Golestan. Iranian documentarians and many anthropology, media and film scholars working on Iran have congregated here for the occasion. It is recent developments in the academic context at St. Andrews that allow us to hold an event like this: the conference is co-organized between the visual anthropology strand within Social Anthropology, our own Centre for Film Studies, and the recently established Iranian Institute. Conference organiser Pedram Khosronejad has been with s for less than a year. Such an event would not have been possible juts a few years ago as none of these units was in existence.
Keynote speaker is our fellow-film scholar Hamid Naficy who is now a Professor of Film at Northwestern University in Chicago (pictured here in a photo taken by Parstimes). In his earlier reincarnation, Hamid worked at Rice University in Houston where he pioneered the studies of transnational, migrant and diasporic filmmaking with a conference which he organised in Houston in the mid-1990s, this was the period when the world was discovering the work of Frida Kahlo (who had her first large rtrospective in Houston at about the same time). Eventually, this strand of Hamid’s work resulted in acclaimed Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking (2001), which is one of the key texts in transnational film studies today, as well as the edited collection Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place. Over the past several years Hamid has been working on a history of Iranian cinema which, as he is telling me, he is about to complete. The work is about 3000 pages long at the moment and is forthcoming from Duke University, hopefully next year. He is also the author of an important work of media anthropology, exploring the work of Iranian Television in LA (1993), a study which set some of the basics of exilic media studies.