PSW Workshop with Dr. Alexander Jabbari (University of Oklahoma) | Monday, March 23, 2020

The Persianate Studies Workshop is pleased to welcome Dr. Alexander Jabbari, who will be workshopping a paper titled “Modernizing Persian Literature’s Homoerotic Heritage” on Monday, March 23, 5:30- 7:30 PM in 4000 South Thayer Building, 202 S. Thayer St., Ann Arbor.

Jabbari’s paper is a chapter from his book project on the emergence of modern literary history in Persian and Urdu. It analyzes how the themes of homoeroticism and obscenity coalesced as objects of scorn and relics of the premodern tradition against which modernizing historiographers positioned themselves as they developed the new genre of literary history. A frank and unabashed openness around homoerotic sexuality had characterized nearly a millennium of Persianate literature, but was replaced with Victorian-influenced puritanism in the 19th century. The talk reveals how this new sexual aesthetics for literary history developed through exchange between Iranian, Indian, and European litterateurs. Drawing from tazkirahs and literary histories as well as archival material such as letters and private diaries which hint at the sexual lives of Muslim and European Orientalists, it argues that puritanism was a literary convention, not a simple reflection of ideological biases.

Alexander Jabbari is the Farzaneh Family Assistant Professor of Persian Language and Literature at the University of Oklahoma. He is a literary historian working at the intersections of literary studies, history, and philology. His research focuses on the modernization of Persianate literary traditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, and on exchange between Iranian and Indian intellectuals. He received his PhD in Comparative Literature with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Irvine.

Please email Shahla Farghadani ( to receive a copy of Jabbari’s paper in advance.

Light refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you there!