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Transgressions of Gender in an Early Modern Epistolary Rant

Friday, April 26, 2024 at 12:15pm

Uris Hall, G08
Central Campus

Talk by Kathryn Babayan (History, University of Michigan)

This talk spotlights a rant ascribed to a woman from the Bakhtiari tribal group of Lurs living in the vicinity of Isfahan in southwestern Iran. The letter is undated. It finds its way to Isfahan as a collector’s item recorded in several late seventeenth-century anthologies. The vernacular language deployed in the letter ascribed to a Bakhtiari woman uses sexual insults to publicize the infidelity of her husband.  I will read this rant to project the female voice otherwise excluded from epistolary collections of seventeenth century anthologies.

Kathryn Babayan (History, University of Michigan) is a social and cultural historian of the early-modern Persianate world with a particular focus on gender studies, and the history of sexuality. Babayan is the author of two award-winning books: The City as Anthology: Urbanity and Eroticism in Early Modern Isfahan (SUP, 2021) and Mystics, Monarchs and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran (Harvard University Press, 2003). She has also co-authored Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavi Iran, with Sussan Babaie, Ina Baghdiantz-McCabe, and Massumeh Farhad (I.B. Tauris, 2004), and co-edited two books Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire with Afsaneh Najmabadi (Harvard University Press, 2008), and An Armenian Mediterranean: Words and Worlds in Motion with Michael Pifer (Palgarve Macmillan, 2018).

Lunch provided, please RSVP

Cosponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School, the Department of History, the Department of Near Eastern Studies, the South Asia Program, and the Comparative Muslim Societies Program.

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