The Persianate Understanding of Japan: The Reach and Limits of Inter-Asian Exchange

Thursday January 25, 2024
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
Online Event

Poster design by Razman Goudarzi

The Alireza Ahmadian Lecture in Iranian and Persianate Studies presents: The Persianate Understanding of Japan: The Reach and Limits of Inter-Asian Exchange on January 25, 2024.
*Please note that this lecture will not be recorded.

Following the Japanese defeat of Russia in 1905, intellectuals from Iran, India, and Afghanistan looked to Japan as a model for achieving military and industrial modernization without adopting Western culture. Probing the secrets of Japan’s success, they wrote poems, travelogues, and histories of Japan in Persian. Yet despite the new communications infrastructures of the period, there remained formidable barriers to inter-Asian understanding, whether through differences of language or culture. Drawing on Nile Green’s prizewinning book How Asia Found Herself: A Story of Intercultural Understanding (Yale, 2022), this talk explores the gap between connection and comprehension that has been overlooked in studies of both Persianate and global history.


Nile Green holds the Ibn Khaldun Endowed Chair in World History at the University of California, Los Angeles. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of nine monographs and seven edited volumes. His most recent book, How Asia Found Herself: A Story of Intercultural Understanding (Yale, 2022), won the Bentley Prize from the World History Association.


Aria Fani is from Shiraz. He teaches Persian literature and translation studies at the University of Washington. In his free time, Aria plants kale and radish in his garden, to be inevitably enjoyed by the neighborhood squirrels, Alfonso and Mahmud.

Registration required. Register here:

About the Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian and Persianate Studies: Alireza Ahmadian (1981 – 2019) was an enthusiastic researcher, a consummate socio-political analyst, and an opinion leader on foreign policy who nurtured the virtues of diplomatic dialogue and liberal democracy. Alireza was a proud and devoted UBC alumnus, supporter of UBC’s Department of Asian Studies, and beloved member of Canadian-Iranian Community. The department renamed this lecture series in his honour in 2019. Alireza’s friends in the community have provided funding to support this series, and this generous gift will see these important academic and community engagement events supported through to the end of the 2025/2026 academic year. Read More …
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