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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Hybrid webinar
Event date: 
Thursday, 3 March, 2022 - 17:30
Event organiser: 

MES Public Talks Seminar given by Prof. Kathryn Babayan, University of Michigan

This talk uncovers the archeology of sworn friendships in early modern Isfahan through the medium of epistolary practices. Friendship letters were respectable forms of social exchange collected across anthologies to model and memorialize social networks of voluntary kinship. Categorized by scribes and owners of anthologies as a genre, rasaʾil-i ikhvaniyyat, or “fraternal” letters, they were media by which to maintain social relations. This talk analyses the materiality and social dynamics of voluntary kinships as epistolary performances of male friendship: gifts of paintings to friends are read together with their accompanying letters to reflect on how Isfahan’s urban culture transformed the grammar and aesthetics of male friendship. The most commonly assembled letters written by Nasira Hamadani (d. 1620), in particular, provides the means to explore the affective language and sentiments of verbal communication between friends in and out of Isfahan.

To join this talk in person, please email Dr Assef Ashraf (

If you would like to join online, please register here:

Dr Assef Ashraf: