Book talk: The Making of Persianate Modernity: Language and Literary History between Iran and India

Key information

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Main Building, SOAS
Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)

About this event

From the ninth to the nineteenth centuries, Persian was the pre-eminent language of learning far beyond Iran, stretching from the Balkans to China.

In his new book, Alexander Jabbari explores what became of this vast Persian literary heritage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Iran and South Asia, as nationalism took hold and the Persianate world fractured into nation-states. He shows how Iranians and South Asians drew from their shared past to produce a 'Persianate modernity', and create a modern genre, literary history. 

Drawing from both Persian and Urdu sources, Jabbari reveals the important role that South Asian Muslims played in developing Iranian intellectual and literary trends. Highlighting cultural exchange in the region, and the agency of Asian modernizers, Jabbari charts a new way forward for area studies and opens exciting possibilities for thinking about language and literature.

About the speakers


Dr Alexander Jabbari is an assistant professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota. His book The Making of Persianate Modernity was recently published with Cambridge University Press. His scholarly articles have also appeared in Iranian StudiesJournal of Persianate StudiesPMLAPhilological EncountersComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; and elsewhere.


Dr Anandi Rao is Lecturer in South Asian Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her work has been published in South Asian ReviewStudies in South Asian Film and Media and Shakespeare Bulletin.


Dr Seyed Ali Alavi, Co-Director, SOAS Centre for Iranian Studies.


This event is free to attend, but registration is required. Please note that seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.