Research seminar: PErsian and Islamic Arts: Transcultural Geographies

The Post-Ilkhanid Persian Qasida: At the Boundaries of Representation, Evocation, and Visualisation

Thursday, 23 January 2014

18.00, Research Forum South Room

Speaker(s): Dr. Dominic Parviz Brookshaw (The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Dr Sussan Babaie

This lecture will examine a significant corpus of post-Ilkhanid royal Persian qasidas to provide insight into the processes of poetic image-making by panegyrists at the courts of Shiraz and Baghdad in the period 1340-1370. Focusing on the substantial and hitherto under-discussed body of qasidas penned by ‘Ubayd-i Zakani (d. 1371) in praise of his Injuid, Jalayirid, and Muzaffarid patrons, this lecture will explore how poets of the period attempted a visualisation of the settings of poetic performance at court (garden, palace, and/or pavilion), and how those poets strove to combine evocation of ideal spaces with as real a description as possible of the actual spaces within which their poetry was recited (insofar as the boundaries delineated by the literary tradition allowed). It will be argued that the post-Ilkhanid Persian qasida (as the vocalization of court ceremonial) worked in tandem with the physical performance setting to project a bold regal image, one that was vital to these local dynasties as they vied for cultural and political power in their turbulent century.

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford in Persian literature. He is University Lecturer in Persian Literature at the Oriental Institute, Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College. Dr Brookshaw teaches a range of classes that cover more than a millennium of Persian literary history. Before returning to Oxford, Dr Brookshaw taught Persian literature and language at McGill, Manchester and, most recently, Stanford. His first monograph, entitled Hafiz and His Contemporaries: A Study of Fourteenth-century Persian Lyric Poetry, will appear shortly. In 2012 he published an edited volume with Harvard University Press entitled Ruse and Wit: The Humorous in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Narrative, and in 2010 he co-edited a volume with Professor Nasrin Rahimieh entitled Forugh Farrokhzad, Poet of Modern Iran: Iconic Woman and Feminine Pioneer of New Persian Poetry. Dr Brookshaw’s research on pre-modern Persian poetry explores the intersection between performance, patronage, and desire. His research on the modern period is focused on the contribution of women to the Bazgasht-i adabi in nineteenth-century Iran. Dr Brookshaw is himself an aspiring poet, and he writes poetry (in English) on his connection to - and experience of - Iran as someone of mixed Iranian-English heritage.

Research Seminar: Persian and Islamic Arts: Through the lens of Persianate arts, this research seminar invites discussion on artistic practices in pre-modern Eurasia. It encourages new historiographic approaches and interdisciplinary debates and promotes considerations of ‘worldly’ art histories. Speakers will address a range of media from monumental architecture to wearable and portable arts.

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