Professors and their Pets: Shiva Balaghi


This segment of Professors and their Pets features Shiva Balaghi, a Visiting Professor of Iranian Studies, History of Art and Architecture, and History (sidenote: she is our best friend on Twitter).  Meet Shiva’s dog, Binker. You can call this proclaimed “celebri-dog in the Providence dog world” Binky.

Type of pet: Dog

Name: Binker or Binky

Do you have a story behind your pet’s name? My husband, Mike Kennedy, and I adopted Binker through Petfinder when we were living in Ann Arbor five years ago. She and her siblings had been dumped at a Cleveland, Ohio kill shelter. We got her from a foster parent when she was 4 months old. By then, she was already clearly Binker: the name suits her perfectly!

Tell us a little about Binky: Binky’s motto in life is “play hard, nap often.” She greets us every morning by jumping around and wagging her tail. When we have stressful days at work, Mike and I remind each other: “Just wag your tail like Binky, and it’ll be ok.”

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Ask Professor Shiva Balaghi anything about ‘Argo’


With the 2013 Oscars just around the corner, many of us have been curious about the historical accuracy of films like Lincoln and Argo, both in the running for Best Picture. Luckily for us skeptical Brown students, we have an unparalleled opportunity to engage with knowledgable Brown historians about the films that fall within their respective areas of expertise. First, we had the opportunity to ask Professor Vorenberg anything about Lincoln (and we’ll have the opportunity to do so again on March 1, where there will also be cake). Now, the University presents its interactive “Ask a Professor about Argo” with beloved, no-B.S. Professor Shiva Balaghi, a jack of all trades and a master tweeter (Ed.-We’re sorry for “outing” you on Twitter back in the day, and we’re sorry for doing it again now).

Professor Shiva Balaghi is a cultural historian of the Middle East. She’s a Laya Khadjavi Visiting Professor of Iranian Studies here at Brown, teaching in the History and History of Art and Architecture departments. This semester, she’s teaching “Twentieth Century Iran,” a capstone seminar in the History department, and “What is Islamic Art?” an upper-level seminar in the History of Art and Architecture department. Additionally, she is the Vice-President of the American Institute of Iranian Studies. She left her native Tehran for the United States around the time that the events depicted in Argo took place.

Thus, a scholar of Professor Balaghi’s expertise is well-equipped to field questions addressing Argo‘s historical accuracy. You can submit questions to Professor Balaghi by commenting on this picture and choose the questions she’ll be asked by “liking” ones that tickle your intellectual fancy. If you’re interested in learning more about Argo as it relates to the reality of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, you should check out Professor Balaghi’s review of the film in India’s Frontline magazine.

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