Director, Iranian Music Program and Persian Music Ensemble
Death and dying, ethics, phenomenology, religion and mysticism; Music of Iran
I am an ethnomusicologist and a medical anthropologist researching death, dying and grief; ethics of care; health and wellbeing; and warfare, violence and militarism. My research extends the conversation about subjectivity and ethics in ethnomusicology and medical anthropology by inquiring into ways in which paraplegic Iranian veterans of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War (my ethnomusicology research) and Syrian refugee children (my anthropology project) process violence and suffering and cope with the loss of family members or close friends. Inspired by Islamic philosophy and phenomenology’s impact on ethnomusicology and anthropology, my work sets the stage for rethinking the very foundation of human existence as above all relational, temporal, embodied, ethical and situated to be-with-the-dead. This perspective fathoms death as a never-resolved engagement. My projects attempts to address the diverse phenomena of subject and subjectivity based on moral responsibility, action, cognition and affect towards the dead.
My current book project, Being with the Dead: Islamic Sung Prayer, Listening and Ethical Praxis (University of Chicago Press), is an ethnographic study of four paraplegic Iranian veterans of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. This monograph—which brings together medical anthropology, ethnomusicology and Islamic studies—is a phenomenological exploration of how listening to monājāt (Islamic sung prayer) creates dynamic and unsettling imaginative spaces for the veterans to be-with their comrades killed in combat. The veterans witnessed their close friends dying while having their own bodies mutilated. Monājāt creates a nonreciprocal relationship with the dead, a place where the veterans hear what is otherwise inaudible: the suffering of the dead.
Amoozegar is an experienced performer of the Iranian musical instruments tār—a double-bowl-shaped six-string instrument—and setār—a pear-shaped four-string instrument.
Ph.D. Anthropology, University of California, Los Angles; Ph.D. Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angles; M.A. Anthropology, The University of British Columbia; M.A. Ethnomusicology, The University of British Columbia; B.A. University of Toronto