MLA election to CLCS-Medieval

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    Shirin Azizeh Khanmohamadi

    Hi everyone, My name is Shirin Khanmohamadi and I’m honored to have been nominated for election to the executive committee of CLCS- Medieval.  I am an Associate Professor of premodern literature in the Comparative and World Literature department at San Francisco State University, where I’ve been teaching since 2005.  My location in a Comparative and World Literature department means, felicitously, that my teaching has always extended beyond my training as in European and Mediterranean studies to embrace the literatures of premodern Asia, Africa and the Americas and a globalized Middle Ages.  My research and writing have also been marked by comparative methods and interdisciplinarity: my first book, In Light of Another’s Word: European Ethnography in the Middle Ages (UPenn, 2014), considered critical-anthropological critiques of colonial ethnographic description in the postcolonial era to argue for the difference of premodern European ethnographic representations, especially in spaces where European description predated colonial control.  I am currently at work on a second book project, Translating Saracens, which deploys translatio/n theory and material culture studies in order to read the movement of symbolic objects signaling imperial authority in epics and other medieval narratives as the material expression of the medieval trope of ‘translatio imperii et studii’ (the transfer of past imperial authority and cultural prestige to Europe) and thereby show renewed evidence of ‘the Arabic role in medieval literary history’ (Menocal 1987) and European self-definition through the critically neglected work of objects.


    In addition to regular participation in the forum panels, I also hope to play a role in planning some of them and to continue the work of expanding the contours of what we recognize as the premodern canon. Thank you for your consideration and time and I’m looking forward to meeting more members of this forum in the future.

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