Aria Fani, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley
What is literature? Posing this fundamental question allows me to critically delve into the conceptual history of literature in Persian in the mid-nineteenth and the early-twentieth centuries. In a way, this is a story of how a literary discourse was formed and later became an institution, casting its epistemic shadow over all modes of literary and cultural production in the Persian-speaking world.