Identity and Belonging, at Clemson and Abroad:
A New Clemson Faculty Member Looking to Share His Knowledge on Cinema and Poetry
Not many faculty will accept a video essay in lieu of a regular essay for a final project, but Dr. Maziyar Faridi who is an expert on global cinema and literature feels that a visual essay can carry the heft and challenge just as well as a purely verbal one. Indeed, he seeks to open up conversations about identity by teaching in his World Literature English classes how verbal and visual meaning work together.
Faridi attended Northwestern University, where he received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literary Studies and began his research focusing on identity, film and poetry. From the moment he saw the opening for Assistant Professor of Global Cinema at Clemson, he knew he had to apply. Faridi’s enthusiasm still shines through when he talks about his courses, research and plans for the future.
This semester, Faridi is teaching World Literature as a general education course as well as a version of the course specific to English majors. Even through virtual learning, he can tell that his students are bright and want to learn from his course. When teaching World Literature, it is vital to teach students the differences between people all over the world. Faridi does just that and more within this course. He wants his students to reflect on different cultures while also reflecting on their culture. Faridi notes one of the objectives of the course is, “for the students to be able to more critically think about their own identity,” as well as cultures that are different from their own. He is able to combine critical thinking in the classroom with real-world issues. He also combines his research with the topics of the course to ensure that his students understand the importance of different cultures as well as their own identity and belonging. Faridi wants his students to have creative freedom within the classroom.
He notes in regard to their final, “They have the option to choose between writing a final essay or making a short video essay.” This choice allows his students to express themselves and what they learn from his teachings in their own creative ways.
As for next semester, Faridi hopes to teach film and a course on the intersection of poetry and cinema. Poetry and cinema have been an integral part of his life, and this course would allow him to share his passion and knowledge with students that share similar interests. For the future, Faridi plans to have events inviting filmmakers to campus to share their passion.
During this short period of being a new faculty member within the English department as well as the World Cinema program, Faridi has learned just how thoughtful and helpful the community is here at Clemson. The faculty members have been nothing but supportive throughout his transition.
Faridi praises Clemson, “Since I have gotten here I have had the opportunity to participate in several events and discussions about the questions of race and identity.” For Faridi, that is so engaging and important considering his extensive research on identity, difference, and the problem of relationality in the modern world.
As for his future at Clemson University, Maziyar Faridi is beyond excited to share his wealth of knowledge with his students, collaborate with faculty, and make memories with those around him that have the same drive and passion for literature and cinema that he has.
Written by: Katie Mann