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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Online webinar
Event date: 
Thursday, 5 November, 2020 - 17:15 to 18:30
Event organiser: 

MES Public Talks Seminar given by Dr Kevin Schwartz, Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences

While scholarship continues to detail the emergence of nationalism in Iran through the prism of territorial anxieties, institution building, Orientalism, and race theory, the analysis of literary nationalism has remained a curious gap. How is it that Persian literature came to be exclusively regarded as the national literature of Iran? What were the concepts and phenomena that conditioned the erasure of Persian’s cosmopolitan past and the emergence of an Iranian nationalist present? This talk focuses on how Persian literature came to be conceptualised according to national and regional division and how the idea of “literary return” (bāzgasht-i adabī) has had an outsized influence on understandings of Persian literary history from the eighteenth century onward.

Kevin L. Schwartz is a researcher at the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague where he focuses on Iran and the Persianate world, having previously been a Kluge Fellow at the US Library of Congress and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the US Naval Academy. His first monograph entitled Remapping Persian Literary History, 1700-1900 was recently published by Edinburgh University Press. A frequent commentator on Iran, Middle East politics, and US foreign policy, his writings have appeared in Al Jazeera, The Hill, The New Arab, MERIP,  Jadaliyya, and elsewhere. His website is

Dr Assef Ashraf: