TALK: Live, Die, Repeat: Burying and Resurrecting Iranian Pop Stars in Southern California, Farzaneh Hemmasi (University of Toronto)

Event Date: 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Music Library 2406

This paper examines a series of diasporic cultural productions involving deceased Iranian pop musicians of the Pahlavi era to explore how practices of memorialization and performance and media-enabled resurrection are used to counteract the finality of death and embed national heritage in California. These practices are entangled with expatriate business and settlement in exile, diaspora politics, and pervasive, productive nostalgia for the period of Iranian history coterminous with the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1941-1979). Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the "Tehrangeles" Iranian pop music and media industries, I examine practices and sites including celebrity impersonators, a hologram of Hayedeh, and Southern Californian Iranian gravesites as creative responses to open-ended separation.

Farzaneh Hemmasi is an Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. Her monograph Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California’s Iranian Pop Music (Duke University Press 2020) is an ethnographic account of the Los Angeles-based postrevolutionary Iranian expatriate culture industries. Tehrangeles Dreaming was the 2022 winner of the Hamid Naficy Book Award, presented by the Association for Iranian Studies on behalf of the Center for Iranian Studies at SFSU.  She is also Principal Investigator of a collaborative, community engaged research project on sound, noise, and music in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighborhood.
Organized by CISM and co-sponsored by Ethnomusicology Forum, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Iranian Studies Initiative.