PSW Workshop with Dr. Alexander Jabbari (University of Oklahoma) | Monday 21, September, 2020

September 21, 2020 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Shahla Farghadani

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, September 21, 5-7 PM on Zoom.

This paper is a chapter from Jabbari’s book project on the emergence of modern literary history in Persian and Urdu. The chapter 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 nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 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.

In order to contextualize this chapter, Jabbari will also share the introduction to his book, Persianate Modernity: Language and Literary History between Iran and India. The introduction demonstrates the crucial role played by Urdu-speaking South Asians in the making of modern Persian literary history.

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 intellectual exchange throughout the Persianate world in the modern period. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; Journal of Persianate Studies; International Journal of Islam in Asia; and elsewhere. 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 chapter in advance. The talk will be live on zoom at the following address:        Meeting ID: 910 7774 3576

We look forward to seeing you there!