Address: 419 Knox Hall
Tel: (212) 854-4370
Office Hours :
Persianate Selves
Mana Kia

Office Hours: By appt only — T 2-3 p.m., R 1-2 p.m.

Interests: The early modern and modern connective social, cultural, intellectual histories of West, Central and South Asia from the 17th – 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Indo-Persian literary, cultural, intellectual, and social history. More broadly: ruptures and continuities between the early modern and modern periods, intra-Asian travel and migration, gender and sexuality, historiographies beyond nationalism, and critical scrutiny of our own analytic and conceptual language for studying the past.

Book projects: Persianate Selves (2020) explores how early modern conceptions of place and origins provided expansive possibilities of Persian selfhood. Current: Sensibilities of Belonging outlines how a shared sense of aesthetic and ethical form (adab as culture) was imagined and enacted in the transregional circulation of people, texts, practices, and ideas between Iran and Hindustan. New: Forms of Companionship looks at how early modern forms of Persianate companionship and their ethics of love and loyalty were constitutive of Persianate societies and politics in Hindustan. It also considers Persian texts commonly used as source materials as products of these relationships, and what this might mean for how to approach them anew.

Undergraduate courses: Societies and Cultures Across the Indian Ocean (global core); Asian Humanities (global core); CC. Graduate courses: Gender, Culture and Power in Early Modern India; Readings in Persian Texts; and Significant Others.

Education: PhD at Harvard University, MA at NYU, and BA at Vassar College. Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.


Selected forthcoming and recent publications:

“Being Persian,” Aeon (published Oct 7, 2021). https://aeon.co/essays/when-persian-belonging-was-a-generous-cosmopolitan-belonging

“Persianate ‘adab’ involves far more than elegant manners,” Psyche, a magazine from Aeon (published Oct 12, 2020). https://psyche.co/ideas/persianate-adab-involves-far-more-than-elegant-manners
Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin before Nationalism (Stanford University Press, 2020).(view)

“The Necessary Ornaments of Place: Similarity and Alterity in the Persianate Imaginary,” Comparative Islamic Studies 13,1-2 (2017): 47-73. (special issue on “Iranian Cosmopolitanism,” published in 2019). (view)

“Space, Sociality, and Sources of Pleasure: A Response to Sanjay Subrahmanyam” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 61, 1-2 (2018): 252-72. (forum on Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s extended essay, “The Hidden Face of Surat: Reflections on a Cosmopolitan Indian Ocean Centre.” (view)

“Indian Friends, Iranian Selves, Persianate Modern.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 36, 3 (2016): 398-417 (view).

(co-authored with Afshin Marashi) “Introduction: After the Persianate.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (view).

“Moral Refinement and Manhood in Persian.” In Margrit Pernau et al. Civilizing Emotions: Concepts in Asia and Europe, 1870-1920. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 146-65. (view).

Adab as Ethics of Literary Form and Social Conduct: Reading the Gulistan in Late Mughal India,” in ‘No Tapping Around Philology’: A Festschrift in celebration and honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday, ed. Alireza Korangy and Daniel J. Sheffield. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014, pp. 281-308. (view).

“Imagining Iran before Nationalism: Geocultural Meanings of Land in Azar’s Ātashkadah.” In Rethinking Iranian Nationalism and Modernity: Histories Historiographies, ed. Kamran Aghaie and Afshin Marashi. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014, pp. 89-112. (view).

“Limning the Land: Social Encounters and Historical Meaning in Early 19th-century Travelogues between Iran and India.” In On the Wonders of Land and Sea: Persianate Travel Writing, ed. Roberta Micallef and Sunil Sharma. Boston: Ilex, Distributed by Harvard University Press, 2013, pp. 44-67. (view)

“Muhammad ‘Ali ‘Hazin’ Lahiji (1692-1766), Tazkirat al-ahval (1742),” Accessing Muslim Lives, http://www.accessingmuslimlives.org/.

“Accounting for Difference: A Comparative Look at the Autobiographical Travel Narratives of Muhammad ‘Ali Hazin Lahiji and ‘Abd al-Karim Kashmiri.” Journal of Persianate Studies 2 (2009): 210-236. (view)

co-authored with Afsaneh Najmabadi and Sima Shakhsari, “Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Historiography of Modern Iran.” In Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Culture, ed. Touraj Atabaki. London: I.B. Tauris, 2009, pp. 177-197. (view)

“Negotiating Women’s Rights: Activism, Class, and Modernization in Pahlavi Iran.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 25,1 (2005): 227-244. (view)

  Address:  401 Knox Hall, MC9628
606 West 122nd St,
New York, NY 10027
  Tel: (212) 854-2556