Theodore S. Beers

Theodore S. Beers

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Freie Universität Berlin

I’m a Persian and Arabic philologist, specializing in the literary history of the late medieval and early modern periods. 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 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 (just after college) 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 (formerly pies, now mostly bread); studying financial markets (as I go through the CFA Program); typography; web and software design; and, of course, spending time with my wife and children.

Links to my various online profiles are provided to the left (or above, if you’re viewing this page on a smaller screen). My full résumé/CV is available upon request.

Research Interests

  • Classical Persian literary history and historiography
  • Political history of the Timurid and Safavid periods
  • Literary anthologies in both Persian (tazkirahs) and Arabic (tabaqat, tarajim)


  • PhD, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 2020

    University of Chicago

  • MA, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 2013

    University of Chicago

  • AB, Near Eastern Studies, 2009

    Princeton University