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2014—2015 Forum on Color
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Humanities and Humanistic Sciences, 2014-2016
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
My research begins by examining modern scholarship on the 'Abbāsid Arab poet Bashshār ibn Burd (714-84) and the ideological motivations behind the construction of his image in modern rewritings as a "Persian," or "anti-Arab" or "Shu'ūbī poet. It demonstrates how this modern re-imaging results in a literary misreading of his poetry This misreading is especially clear in how modern Arab and Western critics regard Bashshār's love poetry/ghazal as a form that exists outside of or in antagonism to Arabic poetry. Thus my research proceeds from that point to deconstruct an ideological and essentialist approach to understanding the genre of love poetry/ghazal in the Arabic tradition. It shows how Bashshār's development of the ghazal as an independent genre comes out of his poetic exploration of the basic literary connection between the elegiac prelude/nasīb of Arabic poetry/the qasida and the theme of love in the Arabic poetic heritage.