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Philip Grant – Iranian Studies Translation Workshop 1

April 5 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Kaplan 365,
This event is being hosted by Iranian Studies for all interested UCLA students and faculty.

The Siar al-Molūk or Siyāsatnāme of Neẓām-al-Molk

This late eleventh century CE text, the “Rules for Kings” or “Book of Government” by the vizier to the Saljūq sultan Malekšāh, is probably the most influential of all the Iranian “advice books,” “books of government,” or (to use the medieval European term) “mirrors for princes.” The text is an often engaging, sometimes austere and even cruel, treatise on good rulership whose recommendations are frequently illustrated through historical anecdotes. We will look at some of the more charming of these stories, translate them together, and then compare our work with the translation of Hubert Darke, a scholar who was also the first to provide a complete critical edition of the Persian text. We will look at the different ways of striking a balance between two often conflicting injunctions: to translate fluidly, so that the text is a pleasure to read; and to translate with precision when it comes to the vocabulary of a world whose political and social arrangements are frequently radically different from those that underpin the conceptual universe of the English language.

Translating Medieval Persian

In these two workshops we will use openness of translation as a pedagogical method. We will translate texts by two celebrated medieval authors together from Persian to English. The two workshops are suitable for anyone with a relatively advanced knowledge of Persian (whether medieval or modern) and an interest in translation, whether for its own sake or for use in research in other fields.

About the Speaker

Philip Grant is a Persian-English translator, anthropologist, and historian. His translation of Iranian philosopher Seyyed Javad Tabatabai’s Ibn Khaldun and the Social Sciences is forthcoming with Polity Press. Aside from translation work, Grant teaches linguistic and biological anthropology at the University of La Verne, and is an Associate Scholar of the Center for Persian Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is working on a history of the Zanj Rebellion (869-83CE, southern Iraq and south-western Iran), on which he has published in al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭāʾ and in a forthcoming volume with Edinburgh University Press. He received his PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from UC Irvine in 2012; his dissertation was based on collaborative fieldwork with Iranian diaspora women’s activists. From 2012-16 he was Research Fellow in the Social Studies of Finance at the University of Edinburgh, and co- author of Chains of Finance (OUP, 2017).


April 5
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Kaplan 365