The Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture serves as an umbrella organization for various activities related to the study of Iran and the Persianate world at the University of California, Irvine. Dedicated to drawing on the strengths of the entire UC Irvine campus, the Center focuses on interdisciplinary research projects that bridge the arts, humanities, engineering, medicine, and the sciences.
Originally established by the School of Humanities in collaboration with the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, the Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture became a campus center in January 2009. The center was founded through an endowment from microtechnology pioneer Dr. Fariborz Maseeh and the Massiah Foundation and is administered by the School of Humanities. Named after Dr. Samuel Jordan, a missionary in the early 1900s who became a leading educational figure in Iran, it was the first interdisciplinary center in the University of California system dedicated entirely to Persian studies not based in a department of Near East or Middle East studies. Since its inception, the center has hosted numerous conferences on the Iranian world, presented cultural events for the local community, and established research clusters uniting scholars on the study of Middle Persian Inscriptions, Tehran, alternative music, the Late Antique Iran.
Courses, offered by the affiliated faculty, are the backbone of Center’s academic and pedagogical mission. These include courses on language, literature, history, music and culture at undergraduate and graduate levels. Academic courses in Persian and Iranian studies are administered through individual departments in the School of Humanities and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. The Humanities Language Learning Program offers courses on Persian language. Courses in ancient, medieval, and modern Persian history are administered by the Department of History. Courses on modern Persian literature and the literature of Iranian diaspora are offered through the Department of Comparative Literature, and courses on Persian music are housed within the Department of Music. There are also be occasional offerings in Avestan, Old Persian, Parthian, Middle Persian (Pahlavi) languages.