Iranian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara is an umbrella organization devoted to the study of Iran, Persian Culture, and the Iranian Plateau. The Iranaian Studies Initiative (ISI) was established in 2010 with support form the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Endowment in Global Religion and Modernity in collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies and the Center for Middle East Studies. The Iranian Studies organizes annual lectures, symposia, film presentations and occasional conferences. In collaboration with the Middle East Ensemble in the Department of Music at UC Santa Barbara.
The Iranian Studies initiative is a resource center devoted to the research, teaching, and dissemination of Iranian history and culture. It is not an academic department and does not offer academic degrees. Academic courses in Iranian Studies are offered in the following departments:
The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in Modern Persian language (Farsi), as well as language courses related to the Iranian Plateau such as Turkish, Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, and occasionally, Pashto and Kurdish. The Department of Religious Studies also offers a series of courses on modern Iran covering the period from the sixteenth century to today.
The Department of Sociology offers courses on the sociology of the Middle East and Iran.
The Department of Ethnomusicology offers courses in Persian and Iranian Music.
In addition to the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Endowment in Global Religion and Modernity the Iranian Studies initiative has benefited from generous contributions by several other donors. The Farhang Foundation is supporting a translation project involving classic works of modern Iranian social history. The Semnani Family Foundation is supporting our upcoming conference on Constitutional Politics in Modern Iran, scheduled for March 1-4, 2012 on the UC Santa Barbara campus.