Samuel Hodgkin

Samuel Hodgkin's picture
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature

I am a literary scholar and cultural historian of medieval and modern Eurasia. My research deals with literature and criticism written in prestige languages (Persian and Russian) and vernaculars (especially Turkic languages). I am interested in classical Persianate poetry and its afterlife in modernist literature and literary institutions across Central and South Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. I study and teach topics in genre and translation theory, canon formation, world literature, and historical poetics.

My first book project, entitled “The Nightingales’ Congress: Literary Representatives in the Communist East,” shows how the Soviet internationalist project of world literature emerged from sustained engagement between leftist writers of West and South Asia and state-sponsored writers of the multinational Soviet East, who drew on their shared Persianate literary training to articulate a postcolonial poetics of political representation. At the dissertation stage, this project was supported by the Mellon Foundation. I have also published articles on Soviet Eastern opera and the historical relationship between ghazal and lyric.


B.A./M.A., Harvard University, 2008.

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2018.


“Classical Persian Canons of the Revolutionary Press: Abū al-Qāsim Lāhūtī’s Circles in Istanbul and Moscow,” in Persian Literature and Modernity: Production and Reception, eds. Arshavez Mozafari and Hamid Rezaei Yazdi (London and New York: Routledge, 2018), 185-212.
“Revolutionary Springtimes: Reading Soviet Persian Poetry, from Ghazal to Lyric,” in Iranian Languages and Literatures of Central Asia: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present, eds. Matteo De Chiara and Evelin Grassi (Paris: Association pour l’Avancement des Études Iraniennes, 2015), 273-305.
“Romance, Passion Play, Optimistic Tragedy: Soviet National Theater and the Reforging of Farhad,” in Cahiers d’Asie centrale no. 24: Littérature et société en Asie centrale, ed. Gulnara Aitpaeva (Paris: Éditions Pétra, 2015), 239-266.

Works in Progress

Articles approaching completion are on the functions of Persian poetry in the Soviet translation system, and on the wide variety of anomalous or transitional genres of anthology that shaped the Persian canon in the early 20th century. I am also preparing translations of several major short works of modern Central Asian literature and literary criticism for three forthcoming anthologies. Two book-length projects are in the early stages, “Roses Wild and Tame: Convention and Mimesis in the Emergence of Persian Poetry”; and “Steppe Atlantis: Transnational Philology and the Khazar Hypothesis.” Shorter projects at the research stage deal with the Bedilian style in Central Asian verse of the 18th-early 20th centuries, and the late critical works of Viktor Zhirmunsky on Turkic and other Eastern literatures.

Research Interests: 
Central Eurasian Languages and Literatures
Cultural History
Literary Theory
Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures
Russian and Slavic Studies
Working Languages: 
Comparative Literature
Geography Focus: 
Central Asia
Thematic Focus: