Hamid Dabashi - The World of Persian Literary Humanism


A discussion on the origin and influence of Persian humanism on Islamic civilization

What does it mean to be human? Humanism has mostly considered this question from a Western perspective. Columbia University professor and author Hamid Dabashi asks the questions anew, from a non-European point of view. His groundbreaking study The World of Persian Literary Humanism presents this rich tradition as the creative and subversive subconscious of Islamic civilization. In conversation with Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Robert I. Williams Term Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

The World of Persian Literary Humanism has been named by Pankaj Mishra as one of his "Critics Books of the Year" in New Statesman magazine.

Elegant as well as passionate, Hamid Dabashi’s scholarly writings always have a revelatory quality. Yet again he uncovers, in his new book, an astonishing new world for English readers.—Pankaj Mishra

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 four, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews in major scholarly and peer-reviewed journals on subjects ranging from Iranian studies, medieval and modern Islam, comparative literature, and world cinema to the philosophy of art (trans-aesthetics). A selected sample of his writing is The World is my Home: A Hamid Dabashi Reader (Transaction 2010), co-edited by Andrew Davison and Himadeep Muppidi .

Dabashi is the Series Editor of Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World for Palgrave Macmillan. This series is putting forward a critical body of first rate scholarship on the literary and cultural production of the Islamic world. In the context of his commitment to advancing trans-national art and independent world cinema, Dabashi is also the founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project, dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian cinema. He is also chiefly responsible for opening up the study of Persian literature and Iranian culture at Columbia University to students of comparative literature and society, breaking away from the confinements of European Orientalism and American Area Studies.

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet is the Robert I. Williams Term Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has directed the Middle East Center since 2006.  She is the author of, Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804-1946 (Princeton University Press, 1999) and Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran (Oxford University Press, 2011). A forthcoming book is Frontier Narratives of the Middle East and she is also completing a book on America 's historical relationship with Iran and the Islamic world entitled, American Divines, Persian Diplomats: A History of US-Iranian Relations, 1833-1979. In addition to her academic work, Kashani-Sabet has written several fictional pieces including the novel, Martyrdom Street. She is a member of the Association of Iranian American Writers.

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Read an excerpt from The World of Persian Literary Humanism

Read a pre-program interview with Hamid Dabashi

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Event Details

Thu 29 Nov 2012
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street
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$10 members; $12 students with ID/seniors; $15 nonmembers
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