Faculty Video: The Arabian Nights and its Afterlives

On Tuesday, November 23rd, BISR faculty Rebecca Ariel Porte and Ajay Singh Chaudhary welcomed poet and translator Yasmine Seale for a wide-ranging discussion of the aesthetics, poetics, and politics of the Arabian Nights. In a multi-part event, with readings, interview, and panel conversation, they asked: What is the history of the Arabian Nights? How does it figure in the traditions of Persian and Arabic storytelling? What explains its enthusiastic European reception, coincidental with the dawn of modern Western imperialism? How do the tales treat and speak to questions of gender, power, and sexuality? Why has the Arabian Nights proved so fertile a source of inspiration to modern writers of nearly all cultures? Does it validate or problematize pan-cultural, universalist notions of a so-called world literature?

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