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Putting Ferdowsi in His (Right) Place: New Persian from Creole to Classical
Putting Ferdowsi in His (Right) Place: New Persian from Creole to Classical
WhenTuesday, Mar. 5, 2019, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Campus locationAllen Library (ALB)
Campus roomAllen Auditorium
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization's Persian and Iranian Studies Program
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Description

Persian, or more accurately New Persian, is commonly presented as a sign of national identity in modern Iran, a sign of national resilience against external domination. Even in the contemporary period, it is seen as the main marker of this national identity, bearing on issues ranging from local language education to regional diplomacy. In this characterization, even the Classical form of the language is presented as largely the creation of Ferdowsi, an early 11th century poet who is held as a sort of poet-hero, preserving Persian and saving it from extinction in face of great odds. But even where such nationalistic characterizations are not taken seriously (in academia, for example), the local context of the creation of the Shahnamahe are seen from a central, hegemonic point of view, to the disadvantage of the local and the regional.

This talk, concentrating on the Central Asian context for both the rise of New Persian and the creation of the Shahnameh, will offer a corrective to the way we see the history of the development of New Persian in the medieval period and its relevance to how it is imagined and used in our contemporary context.

Khodadad Rezakhani is a specialist of early medieval Iran with a wide range of interests and teaching in the culture, languages, and history of Iran from the ancient to the modern period. He is the author most recently of ReOrienting the Sasanians: East Iran in Late Antiquity (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) and the upcoming Iran and Central Asia in the Early Islamic Centuries (OneWorld, 2019). He is presently an Associate Research Scholars at the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University and a Lecturer at the Department of History, Princeton University, where he teaches courses on ancient and medieval history, as well as Persian literature.

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