Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene

The Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies annual lecture in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities, Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, and the Amsterdam Initiative for Iranian Studies

07jun2019 17:00 - 18:30


For many centuries, Persian culture has been shaped by regional and global influences, and in turn, it has shaped the global cultural scene. The acknowledgment of this historical and contemporary interaction calls for the deprovincialization of Persian culture and the recasting of globalisation as a non-Eurocentric process.

In this lecture, Professor Hamid Dabashi will discuss how the Persian literature has been received and integrated into the philosophical, cultural and artistic world of Europe through the works of Montesquieu, Goethe, Hegel, Nietzsche, Edward FitzGerald, Matthew Arnold, James Morrier, Henry Corbin and many others. This talk will build on Prof. Dabashi’s book Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene, in which he develops the idea of the emergence of a transnational public sphere and the circularity of labor, capital, and the marketplace of ideas it conditions. Prof. Dabashi will also approach Persian literature from the vantage point of debates on World Literature, building on his most recent book The Shahnameh: The Persian Epic as World Literature

About the speakers

Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, the oldest and most prestigious Chair in his field. He has taught and delivered lectures in many North and Latin American, European, Arab, and Iranian universities. He is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, as well as a founding member of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. He has written 25 books, edited 4, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews. A selected sample of his writing is co-edited by Andrew Davison and Himadeep Muppidi, The World is my Home: A Hamid Dabashi Reader (Transaction 2010). He is the Series Editor of Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World for Palgrave Macmillan. An internationally renowned cultural critic and award-winning author, his books and articles have been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, Danish, Arabic, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Urdu and Catalan.

Gabrielle van den Berg (discussant) is Professor in the Cultural History of Central Asia and Iran at the University of Leiden and Principal Investigator in the NWO VICI project Turks, Texts and Territory: Cultural Production and Imperial Ideology in Central Eurasia. She studied Persian language and culture at the University of Leiden and at the University of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. She has held positions in Leiden, Cambridge and Brussels. Her research interests include Persian literature and the history of Iran and Central Asia; she has published in particular on the oral traditions of the Ismailis of Tajik Badakhshan and the Shahnama manuscript tradition

Peyman Jafari (chair) is lecturer in Modern History at the University of Amsterdam and fellow at the International Institute of Social History. He is the co-editor of Iran in the Middle East: Transnational Encounters and Social Histories (IB Tauris, 2015).


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