Rich with evocative images and vignettes, The Persian Square spans the extraordinary range of Iranian-American self expression, chronicling the myriad and indelible contributions Iranian emigres have made over their decades, fashioning American lives out of Persian identity and traditions.
Drawing on everything from Ralph Waldo Emerson's odes to his beloved Persian poets to Pierre Omidyar's founding of eBay, The Persian Square culls together stunning images and sharp storytelling, weaving a modern, multimedia tapestry of Iranian American history over the centuries.
Available on iPad.
Until fairly recently, Iranian Americans have been one of the country's quietest minorities. Their presence has animated great cities like Los Angeles and their traditions - from the transcendent poetry of Rumi, to aromatic kabobs to the Persian New Year celebration of the vernal equinox - have seeped into mainstream American experience.
But even a decade ago, Iranian Americans' civic voice was a whisper, and their coming of age story as immigrants to America a tale told in living rooms rather than documentaries and coffee table books. All that is gradually changing today, with multiple generations of Iranian Americans becoming highly visible players at the forefront of virtually every field in America. The Persian Square offers a vivid portrait of Iranian Americans at this moment, exploring the early intersections between the two countries' citizens, and the unexpected places where American and Iranian tradition have embraced one another.
NPR Senior Producer, Iran Davar Ardalan's storytelling draws on her family origins, interweaving her grandparents' first meeting in New York and her parents' migrations in an intimate but historically grounded telling of how America and Iran came together both in her life, and in the world. The result is a deeply personal portrait of her community, whose confidence and accomplishments grows by the day.
The Editor-at-Large of The Persian Square is journalist and author Azadeh Moaveni. This book includes historic documents, handwritten letters, archival photos from Iran and over 30 media files including, music, videos and several audio recordings from 1912, 1915, and 1924 used with permission from Sony Music. The book contained links to NPR stories from 1995-2012 with permission from NPR.
Ardalan also encourages the public to share their own personal Iranian American portraits for possible inclusion in upcoming volumes using firstname.lastname@example.org and #PersianSquare.
INTERVIEWS & NEWS COVERAGE
A Multimedia Journey Through 'The Persian Square' by NPR Staff March 04, 2013 10:39 AM
Iran is often portrayed as dangerous, violent and politically unstable. But that's only one side of the story. Art, technology and culture are central to Persian identity. The new digital book The Persian Square shows surprising ties between Iran and the U.S. Host Michel Martin speaks with author and NPR Senior Producer Iran Davar Ardalan.
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“Davar Ardalan produced our NPR series, "Iran At The Crossroads," in 1995 -- eight stories of Iranians and culture, ranging from young people to women to poets and artists and teachers, including Azar Nafisi who was then teaching literature in Iran. I knew then that I had made a rare journey. Here, Iran Davar gives you some of the same sense of exploration and history and cultural exchange -- the ‘goftegu’ or dialogue between civilizations, that I experienced. ‘The Persian Square’ is a valuable series for the scholar and the casual wanderer, embracing what Iran has meant to the West, and what our traditions have meant to some of its most notable people. Simply put, this book is a treat. Many people will never go to Iran. Explore here.” - Jacki Lyden, Host and Correspondent, NPR
“Iranian Americans, so long stuck in the shadows of America’s immigrant story, emerge in The Persian Square in vibrant color. Ardalan weaves together a sharp and modern multitouch tapestry of Iranian American achievement and contribution to American life.” - Dr. Firouz Naderi, Director of Solar System Exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
“Persian Square is a wonderful collection of facts -- and I'm an expert on facts. But this book isn't only for Persian-Americans; we live in a world that requires understanding and tolerance, and Iran Davar Ardalan has given us a beautiful way to learn about a culture that is a mystery to many Americans. These stories of art, science, history, and journalism can introduce us to Iranian life, and the many links to multimedia resources make it easy to expand our knowledge.” - Kee Malesky, NPR Librarian and author of All Facts Considered and Learn Something New Every Day
“Part family narrative, part encyclopedia, part travelogue, always fascinating, The Persian Square is a wonderful guide to anyone wanting to get beneath the surface of the relationship between the US and Iran.” - Mike Shuster, roving foreign correspondent who traveled numerous times to Iran for NPR
About Iran Davar Ardalan
Davar Ardalan is Senior Producer at NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin. Prior to this, she was the Executive Producer of The Michael Eric Dyson Show, a one-hour daily news/talk program supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and WEAA-FM in Baltimore, MD. Prior to the Dyson Show, Ardalan was in charge of Weekend Edition at NPR News, and some seven million listener tuned in. As the head of morning programming on the weekends, she oversaw Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday, two of NPR's most popular newsmagazines. Along the way, she introduced her own sensibility and expanded audience interactivity. Ardalan began in public radio as a reporter at KUNM in Albuquerque, NM in 1991 and began working at NPR News in 1993. Since then she has worked on All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.
* Innovative leader in the new media platform: Increased audience interactivity and introduced social media tools that are enhancing the radio listening experience and connecting NPR listeners 360 degrees back to the radio.
* Speaker at social media and tech forum such as the PDF (Personal Democracy Forum) in New York, where she spoke on a panel with YouTube on Social media in Iran as well as a second panel on how to integrate new and traditional media.
* Author of "My Name Is Iran," (2007 Henry Holt, NY) 2007. In addition to her leadership role at NPR, she also authored a book based on an NPR and American Radioworks radio series and has been a featured speaker all over the country including member stations KUNM, KPCC, Minnesota Public Radio and Higher Education institutions such as Harvard University, St. Johns College in Annapolis, Young Harris in Georgia, Albion College in Michigan, Columbia University and USC’s Center of Public Diplomacy.
Specialties:Multi-platform Storytelling, Building Online Communities, Interactive Documentaries, Online New Media Strategy, social media strategies, Iranian politics and society, Iranian civil rights movement, Citizen journalism, Islamic reform
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