Reading Safavid Occult-Scientific Miscellanies

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Matthew Melvin-Koushki, University of South Carolina
Repeats every week every Thursday until Thu Mar 11 2021.
Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 09:00 to 10:30
Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 09:00 to 10:30
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As Scheduled
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We will examine a representative Safavid Persian miscellany of the mid-seventeenth century, MS Majlis 12575. Significant for the history of science, it comprises occult-scientific works by Iranian philosophers of various periods, including Suhravardi, Fakhr al-Din Razi and Sadr al-Din Dashtaki, as well as a lettrist work by Mahmud Dihdar Shirazi, teacher to Shaykh Baha'i in the occult sciences. Our focus will be on 'Ali Safi Kashifi's (d. 1535) Gift for the Khan (Tuhfa-yi khani), an early Safavid simplification of a Timurid Persian grimoire dealing with illusionism and conjuring, both of which we now dismiss as stage magic. Its Safavid-era expansion to include other, more serious occult sciences? alchemy, talismanry, astral magic? and the magico-political feats of eminent
Safavid philosophers will also be discussed with examples, as a window onto how Safavid philosophical culture worked in political practice.

PLEASE NOTE that registrations are limited and will be confirmed on a first-come, first-serve basis for Ph.D. students and faculty who work on Eurasia and can meet the language prerequisites specific to each topic.

Advanced Persian

Matthew Melvin-Koushki
Associate Professor of Islamic History
University of South Carolina

Aziza Shanazarova
UCIS Postdoctoral Fellow of REEES
University of Pittsburgh


UCIS Unit: 
Asian Studies Center
Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies
Other Pitt Sponsors: 
Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies (CERIS)
Non-University Sponsors: 
Central Eurasian Studies Society
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