Twelver Shiite Martyrologies in Turkic: The Politics of Translation and Ritual in Early Modern Iran

Saturday March 2, 2024
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Online Event

The event recording is now available:

The Alireza Ahmadian Lecture in Iranian and Persianate Studies presents: Twelver Shiite Martyrologies in Turkic: The Politics of Translation and Ritual in Early Modern Iran on March 2, 2024.

The talk will discuss the political, social, and ritual function of Turkic in early modern Iran through the genre of martyrology. It analyzes the otherwise unknown Riżā Khāksārī’s Jannat al-muʾminīn (‘The Paradise of the Believers’), a late seventeenth-century Turkic translation of Kāshifī’s Rawżat al-shuhadā, one of the most popular Alid martyrologies in early modern Iran. The presentation will analyze the work as a base text for Shiite mourning ceremonies against the background of the Ṣafavids’ attempt to define and control religious ritual among their Turkophone following.


Ferenc Csirkés studies the literary and cultural history of medieval and early modern Iran, Central Asia, and the Ottoman Empire. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago and is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Birmingham; prior to that, he worked at Simon Fraser and Sabancı Universities, the University of Tübingen and Central European University. He is currently completing a book manuscript about the politics of Turkic in medieval and early modern Iran.


Kathryn Babayan specializes in the social history and culture of the early-modern Persianate world, gender studies, and the history of sexuality. She has just been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2024-25. Babayan is the author of two award winning books, Mystics, Monarchs and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran (Cambridge M.A.: Harvard University Press, 2003), and The City as Anthology: Eroticism & Urbanity in Early Modern Isfahan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2021). Babayan has also co-authored Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavi Iran, with Sussan Babaie, Ina Baghdiantz-McCabe, and Massumeh Farhad (London: I.B. Tauris, 2004), and co-edited two books Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire with Afsaneh Najmabadi (Cambridge M.A.: Harvard University Press, 2008), and An Armenian Mediterranean: Words and Worlds in Motion with Michael Pifer (Cham, Switzerland: Palgarve Macmillan, 2018).

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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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