Alexander JabbariApr 16, 2023
The Making of Persianate Modernity
Language and Literary History between Iran and India
Cambridge University Press 2023
Alexander Jabbari’s The Making of Persianate Modernity: Language and Literary History between Iran and India (Cambridge University Press, 2023) narrates the cultural and literary history of one of the world's most significant yet understudied lingua francas. 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 this 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.
Alexander Jabbari is an Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the literature, history, and philology of the Middle East and South Asia. Can be found on Twitter @yakabikaj.
Iskandar Ding is a Ph.D. candidate in Iranian linguistics at SOAS University of London. His research focuses on the syntax of the Yaghnobi language. His other research interests include Tajik dialectology, Sino-Persian heritage, Persianate literature, and modern Persian literature in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. He blogs about the shared lexical heritage of the Persianate cultural sphere and beyond on his blog Vājabāz.
Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.