College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Persian at KU

Why Persian

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Persian language is sweet (farsi shireen ast)!

Persian, an Indo-European language with a rich cultural and literary history, enjoys the status of official language in three countries: Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan where it is locally known as Farsi, Dari and Tajiki respectively.

Beyond this core Persianate societies, significant Persian-speaking minority populations live in Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, and the UAE. The language is, indeed, the second most spoken language in the Middle East after Arabic.

Iran’s economic and political clout, regional geopolitical realities, its complicated relations with the West, especially the United States, and strategic importance of Afghanistan and Tajikistan have created a demand for Persian linguists and cultural experts to join the ranks of diplomats, officials in government agencies, journalists, international development and aid organizations, political analysts, the military, conflict management and resolution intermediaries, and translators and interpreters. In fact, Persian language experts in the US are high in demand but short in supply. 

It is well-accepted by political analysts that Iran, owing to its increasing military strength, ascending religious soft power, and natural gas and oil-rich economy, has emerged as a major geopolitical player in the region. The country is endowed with the world’s second-largest natural gas and fourth-largest oil reserves. On top of it, major shale oil reserves (estimated to be at 2 billion barrels of light crude) was recently discovered in its western Lorestan province.

Persian has been a prestigious language of high culture in the Persianate world, stretching from the Ottoman Empire to Iran, Central Asia, and South Asia, and has had a considerable influence not only on neighboring Iranic languages but also on the Turkic (Uzbek, Uyghur, etc.) and Indian (especially Urdu/Hindi and Punjabi) languages. The world famous Taj Mahal bears testimony to the Persian linguistic, cultural and architectural influence on the Indian subcontinent.

Persian is notable for its rich literary heritage, with contributions from poets such as Rumi (mystic poet and the founder of Mehlevi Order, known as the whirling dervishes in the West), Hafez (famous lyric poet) and Omar Khayyam (master of quatrains). 

Persian films from Iran have received accolades at film festivals around the globe and bagged numerous awards including two Oscars (A Separation (2011)  and The Salesman (2016), both directed by Asghar Farhadi).


Persian at KU

Learning Persian will give you deeper insights into a region of the world too little understood in the United States. The Persian program at KU differs from any other US institution in that students are provided with an opportunity to acquaint themselves with all the three variants of the language—Iranian, Dari and Tajik Persian used in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan respectively. Additionally, you have the chance to get involved in interesting activities on campus related to Persian language and culture: join the Persian language table for tea and conversation; attend the annual Persian Culture Festival; become a member of the KU Persian Club to socialize and organize Persian events! Persian is offered by the Center for Global and International Studies. For detailed information, please refer to the department's website


Courses Offered

Our Persian Program consists of beginner, intermediate and advanced level language classes, offering a progressive and immersive learning environment. Directed study is also available for students seeking proficiency in Persian beyond the advanced level, adding substantial knowledge of Persian culture in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

Persian Classes Offered
PERS 110 Elementary Persian I
Vocabulary acquisition, pronunciation, grammar, and writing. Course includes reading of simple texts. Five hours of class per week. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Spring 2018 semester.

PERS 120 Elementary Persian II
Continuation of PERS 110. Vocabulary acquisition, pronunciation, grammar, and writing. Course includes reading of simple texts. Five hours of class per week. Prerequisite: PERS 110 or departmental permission. LEC.
Spring 2018
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Ahmad, Razi
MTuWThF 09:00-09:50 AM WES 4014 - LAWRENCE
5 62511
PERS 210 Intermediate Persian I
A continuation of PERS 120. Course emphasizes oral and written work in Persian. Systematic review of grammar and introduction to reading in cultural texts. Prerequisite: PERS 120 or departmental permission. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Spring 2018 semester.

PERS 220 Intermediate Persian II
A continuation of PERS 210. Course emphasizes oral and written work in Persian. Systematic review of grammar and introduction to reading in cultural texts. Prerequisite: PERS 210 or departmental permission. LEC.
Spring 2018
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Ahmad, Razi
MWF 10:00-10:50 AM WES 1046 - LAWRENCE
3 62512
PERS 310 Advanced Persian I
Enhancement of speaking, comprehension, reading and writing abilities in Persian. Readings from Persian literature introduced. Prerequisite: PERS 220 or placement exam that establishes a level of proficiency in Persian suited to Advanced Persian I. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Spring 2018 semester.

PERS 320 Advanced Persian II
Enhancement of speaking, comprehension, reading and writing abilities in Persian. Readings from Persian literature introduced. Prerequisite: PERS 310 or placement exam that establishes a level of proficiency in Persian suited to Advanced Persian II. LEC.
Spring 2018
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Ahmad, Razi
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
3 62513
PERS 593 Directed Study in Persian Culture and Literature: _____
This course is designed for students seeking proficiency in Persian beyond PERS 320. The instructor directs the student through readings and materials in Persian that add to the student's substantive knowledge of Persian culture in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. May be taken multiple semesters for credit with varying content. Prerequisite: PERS 320 and consent of instructor. LEC.
Spring 2018
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Ahmad, Razi
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 65263

Resources

KU has several great resources for those interested in learning about Persian language and culture:

  • Persian at KU - download the flyer
  • Critical Language Scholarship offers financial support and study abroad programs for Persian
  • Digital Textbook, available through KU's Open Educational Resources
  • The Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center (EGARC) at KU houses numerous feature films and documentaries. Each year new movies are added to the collection. Students can check the digital catalog and availability of these movies online.
  • The Moore Reading Room located in Smith Hall has a large collection of printed materials related to Pesian philosophy, religion, and culture.
  • The KU Persian Club consists of Persian Language students as well as students from or interested in Iran and Persian cultural activities.
  • Each year the KU Persian Club, in collaboration with the KU Middle East Studies Program, Center for Global & International Studies and other KU units hosts the "Persian Culture Festival." The Festival consists of a series of cultural events that varies from year to year offering activities like film screenings, Persian music concerts, Persian Calligraphy workshops and other such events. These events are always free and open to all KU students, faculty and staff and the Lawrence and Kansas City Community.
  • Be sure to check out our Persian language table for an informal, relaxed practice environment to help you improve your language skills. 

Contact Us

For additional information and inquiries, please contact:

Razi Ahmad
r.ahmad@ku.edu
(785)864-9250

 

 


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Diversity

Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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