BA (Shiraz University), MA (University of Toronto)
Parisa Zahiremami is a faculty fellow in the Foundation Year Program. She received a BA in Persian literature at Shiraz University, Iran in 2009, and an MA in modern Persian literature and history at the University of Toronto in 2012. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, where she specializes in medieval Persian literature and Islamic mysticism. Her research broadly examines the relationship between politics and poetics in medieval texts and their reception into the modern period in Iran, Central Asia, and South Asia. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Cosmopolitanism, Poetry, and Kingship: The Ideal Ruler in Sanā’ī’s Poetry” traces the political use of mystical poetry back to the formative period of Sufism. The dissertation explores the synthesis of Islamic political ethics, Sufism, Shi‘ism, and Neoplatonic philosophy in the portrayal of an ideal ruler in the poetry of the twelfth-century Persian poet Sanā’ī.
In addition to finalizing her dissertation, Parisa is working on a related project, which examines the reception history of Sanā’ī’s theory of kingship and its role in the politicization of Islamic mysticism in the medieval Persianate world. The project aims to explain the way mystical notions of authority transformed Muslim mystics into kings’ advisors, then into state officials and local rulers, and finally into kings in the beginning of the 16th century.
Persianate literature and material culture; Islamic intellectual history; Islamic mysticism; Neoplatonic philosophy (especially the dialogue between Greek and Islamic philosophy); medieval history; Zoroastrianism; Modern Middle Eastern history; Orientalism and Occidentalism