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Mana Kia


Academic Profile

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. From 2011-2013 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. I received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in History and Middle Eastern Studies (2011). My first book, Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin before Nationalism is forthcoming in 2020 from Stanford University Press. Currently, I am working on a second book, Sensibilities of Belonging: The Transregional Persianate between Iran and India, as well as starting a project on the ethics of love and loyalty in friendship as a way to reconceptualize society and politics in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Generally, I am interested in comparative and connective social and cultural histories of West, Central and South Asia (17th-19th centuries).

Sample Publications

“The Necessary Ornaments of Place: Similarity and Alterity in the Persianate Imaginary,” Comparative Islamic Studies 13,1-2 (2017): 47-73. “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. “Indian Friends, Iranian Selves, Persianate Modern.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 36,3 (2016): 398-417. “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. “Adab as 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. “Imagining Iran before Nationalism: Geocultural Meanings of Land in Azar’s Ātashkadah,” in Rethinking Iranian Nationalism and Modernity, ed. Kamran Aghaie and Afshin Marashi (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014), pp. 89-112. “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). “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 (co-editor of this special issue, entitled Symposium on The Eighteenth Century Fracturing of the Persianate World). 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. “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.

Current Position

Associate Professor, Columbia University