About

A photo of Theo

Hello · سلام

I’m a Persian and Arabic philologist, specializing in the literary history of the late medieval and early modern periods—in particular the tenth/sixteenth century. Currently I have the good fortune to be working as a postdoctoral fellow (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the ERC-funded project AnonymClassic at Freie Universität Berlin, under the direction of Beatrice Gründler. This affords me ample opportunity to explore both Persian and Arabic sources (and beyond) relating to the Kalilah and Dimnah tradition.

I recently completed my PhD in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, where I studied classical Persian literature with Franklin D. Lewis and Iranian and Central Asian history with John E. Woods. My dissertation, titled The Lives of Sam Mirza (923–75/1517–67): Dynastic Strife and Literary World-Building in Early Safavid Iran, is built around the career of a sixteenth-century prince, who managed to author a valuable biographical anthology of poets (tazkirah) before being imprisoned and executed at the order of his brother.

Prior to my time in Chicago, I was an undergraduate at Princeton University, where I was introduced to Persian philology by Michael A. Barry. I spent the 2009–10 academic year in Kabul, working at the American University of Afghanistan—and I’d love to go back someday.

My other interests include playing the double bass; baking (especially pies and bread); studying the oddities of financial markets (as I work my way through the CFA Program); typography; web and software design; and, of course, spending time with my wife and children.

See the links to my various online profiles. My full résumé/CV is available upon request.