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Michael Bedrosian Pifer
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Integrated Literary Cultures in Anatolia and the Premodern World

A book-length study of the “gharib,” or stranger, in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Armenian literature in Anatolia during the 13th-15th centuries.

My proposed book project, 'The Stranger’s Voice,' intervenes in central debates within Comparative Literature on the connectivity of pre-modern literary cultures. In particular, it focuses on the migration of a single concept, the gharib, meaning stranger or foreigner, across Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Armenian literatures in Anatolia during the 13th-15th centuries. I suggest that the ubiquitous gharib, which cuts across Islamic, Christian, and Jewish texts, still has relevance today because it serves as a potent figure for understanding what is fundamentally non-native and even cosmopolitan about literary production itself.  Therefore, in telling the story of the ever-wandering stranger, this study seeks to shed light on a much larger question:  how and why literary conventions traveled beyond the orbit of any single people or language before our own globally interconnected age.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; Medieval History; Near and Middle Eastern Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 4/30/2017