Persian and Iranian Studies in Honor of Professor Heshmat Moayyad

Persian and Iranian Studies in the United States

in Honor of Professor Heshmat Moayyad

A Two-day Conference, 8th – 9th March 2019

The Franke Institute for the Humanities
First Floor, Regenstein Library, University of Chicago
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 | 773-702-8274

Heshmatollah Moayyad Sanandaji (1927-2018) was born in a Baha’i household in Hamadan, Iran, in 1927, moved with his family to Tehran during the reign of Reza Shah, received his B.A. in Persian and Arabic from the University of Tehran after the Second World War, and went to Germany to pursue his studies, obtaining a doctorate from J.W. von Goethe University of Frankfurt in 1958. After teaching at the Istituto Orientale di Napoli, and at Harvard University, he came to the University of Chicago in 1966, where he taught for over forty years, until his retirement in 2010.

Professor Moayyad’s early research focused on manuscripts of Sufi hagiographical texts and collections of medieval letters, for which he produced with expert philological acumen the first modern critical editions.  He also wrote and taught extensively about Persian poetry, from the earliest period to the present, contributing regularly to the Encyclopaedia Iranica, Iran Nameh, and Iran Shenasi.  He also maintained a keen interest in Iran’s modern literature, translating novels, poetry and short stories from Persian into German and English.  In both his teaching and his research, he drew attention to the contribution of women to the literature of Iran, leading inter alia, to an edition of the Persian poems, as well as an English translation, of Parvin Eʽtesâmi. He maintained an extensive correspondence with writers, scholars, and intellectuals, and helped facilitate the visit of many renowned figurers in the field to the University of Chicago. In the 1980s he established a monthly Persian poetry night (shab-e sheʽr) and a weekly Persian Circle for the benefit of both students at the university and the growing Iranian diaspora community in Chicago.  As persecution of his fellow Baha’is increased in Iran, he turned his scholarly attentions increasingly to publishing collections of letters and other works of prominent Persophone Baha’is, as well as biographical works about prominent Baha’is he had known, some of them documented in his travelogue from the 1940s, published near the end of his life.

This two-day Conference of Persian and Iranian Studies Conference in memory of Heshmat Moayyad  brings together 16 of his former students or colleagues whose work intersected in various ways with his own.  Professor Moayyad was one of the early founders of Iranian Studies in North America, and we come together to celebrate his legacy, remember his gentleness and humor, and discuss many of the topics with which he passionately engaged.

This program was made possible by the generous support of
The American Institute of Iranian Studies,
and the sponsorship of multiple programs at the University of Chicago, including:
The Center for Middle Eastern Studies  /  The Committee on South Asian Studies   The Franke Institute for the Humanities /  The Joyce Z. &  Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies / The Persian Circle at the University of Chicago / The Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations