Contours of Persianate Community, 1722–1835

2011 2011

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Abstract (summary)

Nations tell stories about themselves that tend to cohere around a shared language and a history unique to a particular land. South and West Asia—regions that shared Persian as a language of social, cultural and political power and prestige for centuries, until the early 19th century—present a conundrum in the context of nationalist narratives and the uniqueness these narratives claim for themselves. Literary and historical scholarship on the Persianate world largely reflects the assumptions underpinning these narratives, and, as a result, the scope and analyses of this scholarship are structured by the logic of protonationalist sensibilities. This dissertation seeks to contribute to a growing body of work on Persianate culture, considering how a shared language of learning and power, which was enabled by and reinforced the circulation of ideas, goods, texts, people and practices, was vital in the constitution of cultural ideas and social systems in the neighboring lands of Iran and India. Texts that scholars have generally read as iconically protonationalist are reconsidered alongside contemporaneous texts from a variety of genres that share features as commemorative texts of self and community. This dissertation argues that a shared Persianate culture, vested in a corpus of learning and expressed in an ethics of comportment (adab), was the basis of conceptions of self and community in the turbulent century that caused populations to disperse, centers of power to shift and the circulations that interlinked Persianate regions to ebb and flow. Beginning with the two assumed bases of protonationalist and nationalist community, land as society and language as culture, this dissertation begins the work of making sense of early modern Persianate culture outside the anachronistic shadow of nationalisms.

Indexing (details)

Islamic Studies;
Middle Eastern Studies;
South Asian Studies
0512: Islamic Studies
0555: Middle Eastern Studies
0638: South Asian Studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Commemorative texts; Ethics; India; Iran; Nationalism; Origin; Persianate
Contours of Persianate Community, 1722–1835
Kia, Mana
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Najmabadi, Afsaneh
Harvard University
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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