Popular Music & Society in Iran: New Directions

Conference at Yale University’s Iranian Studies Program, January 26-27, 2018

A two-day symposium that highlights the social and political

significance of music in Iran in six panels, ranging from popular

music in the Safavid period to rock music in the Islamic Republic.

There will also be three musician sessions, featuring among them

Iran’s first female Hip-Hop artist Salome MC, as well as a special

talk session with musician Mohsen Namjoo.




10 Songs that Define Modern Iran


What 10 songs define modern Iran? I know many of you are interested in the music that I write about in my book “Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Music in Iran.” So I’ve put together a podcast. I tried to choose songs that speak to the most important political and cultural currents in post-revolutionary Iran. But also songs that just tell us what life has been like in Islamic Iran. So on the one hand I have, for example, a track that audiences have turned into the most recognizable ritual of protest, but also a song that was played at every birthday party in 1980s Iran. What would your 10 songs be? Share with me here or on the Soundtrack of the Revolution Facebook page.

Winner of the Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Humanities

I am absolutely elated that after winning the Brismes Award, my dissertation has also won the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Humanities. The award ceremony was held at MESA in D.C. on Sunday, 23 November, and it was wonderful to celebrate with my supervisor Dr. Walter Armbrust and old friends. Here is what the MESA judges said about my work:

Dr. Siamdoust’s “Iran’s Troubled Tunes” is a very well written and theoretically sophisticated dissertation, which bridges politics, history, culture, and ethnomusicology. The author has done a considerable amount of fieldwork in Tehran and gained access to many important musicians. Siamdoust is highly successful in blending short biographical sketches with a skillful and nuanced discussion of music and politics. More than an erudite work of scholarly excellence, it has the prospect of evolving into something that a much wider audience would find enjoyable and illuminating.

Here the links to the MESA website:



The MESA Dissertation Awards were established in 1982 to recognize exceptional achievement in research and writing for/of dissertations in Middle East studies. In 1984 the award was named for Malcolm H. Kerr to honor his significant contributions to Middle East studies. Awards are given in two categories: Social Sciences and Humanities.