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Reversing the Colonial Gaze
Persian Travelers Abroad


Part of The Global Middle East

  • Date Published: March 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108738453

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About the Authors
  • Exploring the furthest reaches of the globe, Persian travelers from Iran and India travelled across Russian and Ottoman territories, to Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and beyond. Remapping the world through their travelogues, Reversing the Colonial Gaze offers a comprehensive and transformative analysis of the journeys of over a dozen of these nineteenth-century Persian travelers. By moving beyond the dominant Eurocentric perspectives on travel narratives, Hamid Dabashi works to reverse the colonial gaze which has thus far been cast upon these rich body of travelogues. His lyrical and engaging re-evaluation of these journeys, complimented by close-readings of seminal travelogues, challenges the systematic neglect of these narratives in scholarly literature. Opening up the entirety of these overlooked or abused travelogues, Dabashi reveals not a mere repetition of cliché accounts of Iranian or Muslim encounters with the West, but a path-breaking introduction to a constellation of revelatory travel narratives that re-imagine and reclaim the world beyond colonial borders.

    • Counters Eurocentric approaches to travel writing, reclaiming the world through the narratives of Persian travelers abroad in the nineteenth century
    • Features detailed analysis of critical sources within travel literature, and postcolonial and postmodern theory
    • Will be of interest not only to college and graduate students and researchers of the Middle East and Iran and India, but also to those interested in travel writing beyond the Western world
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In a series of fascinating vignettes, Dabashi gives us an enormously rich account of travellers from Iran and India who ethnographically recorded other cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe in the nineteenth century. In the process, he forcefully reminds us that the intellectual discovery of the world was not a uniquely Western virtue.' Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University

    'Offering us fascinating readings of Iranian and Indian travelogues, Dabashi charts out new spatial relationships, demonstrating how these writers created a global Persianate universe, which was typified by a mixture of literary and cultural traditions. The book celebrates and analyzes these creative worlds, reconstructing a rich tradition, which can serve as a much-needed antidote to narratives of origin and supremacy.' Lior Sternfeld, Pennsylvania State University

    'Via this rich exploration of hitherto little-studied examples of travel literature in Persian, Dabashi not only provides a framework for understanding a crucial transition period in the history of Iran in a global context, but also offers refreshing insights into ongoing debates on modernity and the role of orientalism.' Gabrielle van den Berg, Universiteit Leiden

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108738453
    • length: 410 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Mr Shushtari travels to India
    2. Mirza Abu Taleb travels from India
    3. An Ilchi wonders about the world
    4. A colonial officer is turned upside down
    5. A Shirazi shares his travelogues
    6. A wandering monarch
    7. Hajj Sayyah leads a peripatetic life
    8. In the company of a refined prince
    9. A wandering mystic
    10. In and out of a homeland
    11. The fact and fiction of a homeland
    12. Professor Sayyah comes home to teach.

  • Author

    Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, New York
    Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York. He is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, as well as a founding member of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books, the most recent including Iran: A People Interrupted (2007), Shi'ism: A Religion of Protest (2011), The World of Persia Literary Humanism (2012), Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene (2015), Iran without Borders: Towards a Critique of the Postcolonial Nation (2016) and The Shahnameh: The Persian Epic as World Literature (2019).

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