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Visiting speaker: Amr Taher Ahmed -The Kurdish Mahdinanah: Popular or Classical Poetry?

An Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies lecture
Date21 January 2020
PlaceIAIS Building/LT2

Amr Taher Ahmed is Associate Professor of Kurdish language and literature at INaLCO in Paris (France).

Refreshments 16:45 The Street Gallery, IAIS building
Presentation 17:30 Lecture Theatre 2, IAIS building

Completed in 1762 CE, Mulla Muhammad Ibn ul-Haj’s long apocalyptic poem, the Mahdīnāmah (the book of the Mahdi), is known to be the oldest extant piece of literature written in Sorani Kurdish. Because the poem is based on some folk-inspired features, Marif Xeznedar, the author of the authoritative Mêjûy edebî kurdî (History of Kurdish Literature), considers the Mahdīnāmah to be a part of “recorded popular poetry.” As a result, the historian retains the traditional identification of the famous poet Nalî (1800-1856) as the starting point of “classical” Sorani literature. In my presentation, I argue on philological and historical grounds that despite its folk-inspired characteristics, the Mahdīnāmah should be acknowledged as a full-fledged component of classical Sorani literature.

Amr Taher Ahmed is Associate Professor of Kurdish language and literature at INaLCO in Paris (France). His research focuses on Kurdish poetry and prosody, and Comparative Literature. He graduated in Kurdish literature from the University of Duhok (Iraqi Kurdistan) and obtained a PhD (2009) in Comparative Literature from the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris (France). Before joining INaLCO, he was a researcher at the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna (2010-2015) and taught Persian language and literature at the University of California-Los Angeles (2013) and Harvard University (2016-2018).

ProviderInstitute of Arab and Islamic Studies
OrganizerFarangis Ghaderi

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