Between Absence and Presence: Exile, Memory, and the Archival Impulse


Dalia Sofer

Document Type


Streaming Media

Publication Date


Department 1



Writing from exile can mean working within an absence. The writer can write her way around that absence and eventually into it, always teetering between absence and presence, fragmented memory and reconstructed narrative, silence and speech, death and life. Memory plays a large role in this space. But at what point does memory turn into a memorial? An exploration of writing about Iran—including its long and rich history of Jewish life—from a geographic and temporal distance.


This lecture was presented in CUB 260 on February 25, 2015, as part of the Iran: Beyond the Headlines series.

Iran: Beyond the Headlines is a learning series that includes book discussions, film screenings, and lectures designed to help us move past today's headlines and explore the history, art, culture, and everyday life of Iranians. Series events scheduled September 2014-April 2015.