As part of a series of three panels and a roundtable session on the topic of Iranian literary modernity, the purpose of this roundtable is to investigate the possibility of supplementing the study of modern Persian literature with that of Iranian literary modernity.
Though insightful in many respects, we construe the former paradigm as being remarkably susceptible to the ideological demand to trace literary works back to contemporaneous political vicissitudes, the anachronistic overdeterminism of indigenous archaisms, the life and works genre, the well-defined chronological, monographic and descriptive (or positivist) analytical enterprise, or the gravitational pull of Western prototypes which incites the tendency to engage in strict comparativisms drawing on a priori binaries such as East-West, religious-secular, modern-traditional, etc.
This roundtable will engage with the audience in a deliberate and conscientious discussion over the merits and viability of studying Persian literature in the context of literary modernity, an idea indebted to postcolonial and radical historiographic inquiry.
An award-winning novelist, Jairan Gahan (University of Toronto) brings forth a wealth of knowledge on report-stories and affective narrative styles as they emerge from literary and documentary accounts of Tehran's red-light district, thus providing the social historical vantage point. Parisa Vaziri (University of California, Irvine) is able to offer insight into the filmic offshoots of literary productions, particularly as they are related to her research on the strange contemporaneity between the avant-garde and ethnographic modes of literary modernism. Milad Odabaei's (University of California, Berkeley) contribution to the discussion will derive from his research on translation and time, particularly his examination of how translation enters the crises and regeneration of Iranian historical traditions. Joanna de Groot (University of York) furnishes the discussion with the gender dimension particularly as it is related to her critique of iconic texts that foreground the relationship between gender and modernity. Hamid Rezaei Yazdi (University of Toronto) draws from his research to offer a radical intervention in the ideologically evaluative paradigms for reading "modern" Iranian literature by instead drawing attention to a historically grounded genealogy of literary modernity in Iran.
Roundtable participants will use this diversity of interests to actively solicit spectatorial involvement by way of questions, thought experiments, and active feedback on the preceding three panels in an attempt to collectively draw major conclusions and expose avenues in need of exploration.