Our notions of premodern history are often the result of applying the principle of lineage to literary sources. Information about the past is made to fit the gridlines of ruling dynasties, social elites, and inheritors of religious authority and charisma. Yet how can we use familial rhetoric, which can project both intimacy and conflict, as a historical resource, without being seduced by its seeming inherent logic? Drawing on Persian literature produced in South Asia around 1550–1800 CE, Professor Bashir treats kinship as “valorized temporality.” Penn Professor Jamal Elias, who has written and lectured widely on Islamic intellectual history and culture, joins Bashir in conversation to consider how history and the family are intertwined aspects of human social imagination.
Cosponsored by Penn’s Departments of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Religious Studies, and South Asia Studies.