The Program in Iranian Studies Iran Colloquium presents
Samuel Hodgkin, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University:
“Under the Red Dome: Persian Poetic Play, Imperial Regimes of Difference.”
The classical Persian poetic tradition developed a sophisticated repertoire for the representation and management of geographic, racial, confessional, and cultural difference. This repertoire played an important role in the Persianate discourse and ceremonial of empire, but its element of play made for deceptively ambivalent politics. This talk considers the last state culture that made widespread use of this Persianate repertoire in its symbolic management of difference: the Stalinist Soviet Union, where poetic recitations and costumes at official occasions at once reified national cultures and performatively blurred them. From robe of honor ceremonies at the Kremlin to celebrations of Nizami’s Haft Paykar in the Caucasus, the Soviet East provides a unique case study to reconsider the relationship between European colonial regimes of difference and the Eurasian imperial longue durée.
Sam Hodgkin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University. He has published on the modern verse, theater, and criticism of Iran, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. His current book project is entitled “The Nightingales’ Congress: Literary Representatives in the Communist East.”