Welcome to the Monash Persian and Iranian Studies Network (MPISN)

The Monash Persian and Iranian Studies Network (MPISN) is the first interdisciplinary network of Persian and Iranian Studies in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Persian and Iranian Studies is a multidisciplinary field dealing with studies of the culture, art, history, society, language, and literature of Iran and the Persian-speaking world and their respective diasporic communities. The aim of the network is to bring together, educate, encourage research and scholarship, and open up new spaces of dialogue amongst Persian/Iranian cultural groups within an academic Australian context, and beyond.

Among the activities of the Network are seminars on topical and issues of interest on Persian and Iranian Studies, workshops and (international) conferences, engaging cultural and arts events, and language and cultural activities that bring together the latest research in the field and to highlight and communicate the richness and variety that characterises Iranian/Persian studies and cultures to academic and non-academic audiences.

A current project

Conceptualisations of life, fate, and the Universe in Khayyam’s Rubaiyat: A Cultural Linguistics perspective

Chief Investigator: Prof. Farzad Sharifian

This project explores conceptualisations (both cultural and idiosyncratic) of life, fate, and the Universe in Omar Khayyam’s Rubayiat. In particular, if focuses on the themes of life is too short; enjoy the moment; our fates are pre-destined; and the Creation is a secret (to us). For example, a particular Rubayi uses the metaphors of the Universe as a caravanserai, the Universe as a banquet, and the Universe as a palace. Rubayiat refers to mythological figures in Persian history, such as [king] Jamshid, as well as real people, such as the king, Bahram V (Bahram Gur). The life histories of these figures provide cultural schemas that are resources for many literary works in Persian. For example, Jamshid had the Jâm-e Jam, or Jâm-e Jahân namâ, a seven-ringed cup representing the seven heavens of the Universe. The cup was filled with the elixir of immortality and was used as a crystal ball in divination and allowed Jamshid to observe the Universe, including the seven heavens.  Certain Rubayis draw on the cultural proposition schema: HUMAN FATE IS PREDESTINED AND IT IS WRITTEN ON OUR FOREHEAD. This belief dates back to the Proto-Indo Iranian religion, which existed prior to Zoroastrianism and Hinduism, before Khayyam was writing. Overall, the findings of the project reveal that the analytical framework of Cultural Linguistics provides a set of robust tools for in-depth explorations of poetry.