Dr Parwana Fayyaz

Elected

2020

Subject areas

I earned my B.A., with a major in Comparative Literature and a minor in Creative Writing (Poetry) under the supervision of late Eavan Boland, from Stanford University in 2015, and my M.A. in Religious Studies from Stanford University in 2016. I then moved to Cambridge University to pursue a PhD in Persian Studies at Trinity College.

My PhD dissertation, Poetry and Poetics: the Sufi Eye and the Neoplatonic Vision in Jāmī’s Salāmān va Absāl examines Jami’s mystical (Sufi) teachings and the use of his Neoplatonic philosophical learnings in his narrative-poem of Salaman and Absal. Originally a Greek tale, the story of Salaman and Absal was used by Arabic-speaking philosophers until Jami became the first Persian poet to tell this provocative story as a mystical allegory with its important philosophical underpinnings.

My main research interests are in studying the poems (particularly narrative-poems) that reveal the inter-disciplinary nature of learning and teaching in pre-modern Islam in the Persianate empire. Not many people today would suspect that Medieval Persian literature fuses the earlier literary traditions of both ancient Greek and Arabic cultures beginning with the work of Jami. Jami’s poetry presents a unique possibility to dwell on the confluences between East and West. In this way, it is a timely contrast to our own world, which prefers to stress differences between Western, Arabic, and Persian cultures.

My broader research interests include the influences of classical and medieval Persian on later Indo-Persian, Turkish, and English Literature, and Translation Studies.