5-6 September: Conference ‘Limits, Boundaries, and Transgression in Literatures and Languages of the Persianate World

4 July 2024

On 5 and 6 September 2024, we are organizing the international conference entitled Limits, Boundaries, and Transgression in Literatures and Languages of the Persianate World at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University. This conference is part of the ERC Advanced Grant Beyond Sharia: The Role of Sufism in Shaping Islam

In this conference we aim to explore extreme and transgressive ideas and practices within the context of Iranian literary, intellectual and religious history. Drawing inspiration from a wide range of theoretical frameworks, we seek to understand how different transgressive practices destabilise, destroy, or negotiate with scriptural, architectural, and ethnic boundaries. We believe that the extremities of Iran’s cultural and intellectual heritage remain an underexplored area of research, which is especially urgent to tackle in the ongoing social, ecological and political crises in Iran. From early Islam to modern times, Iranian literati, from the free-thinkers such as Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Zakariyyāʾ Rāzī (Latin Rhazes, d. either about 925 or 935), to the brilliant mystic ʿAyn al-Qużāt al-Hamadānī in the 12th century to the modernist Sādiq Hidāyat in the 20th century, have continuously challenged accepted norms and values of their times. Similarly, many poets, architects, and artists expressed their extreme views against the established orthodoxy and Islamic piety, many of whom were persecuted and the trend continues to this day. Their works have fearlessly explored the inadmissible and the unsayable, crossing the boundaries between belief and unbelief. This conference aims to open a platform to initiate a collective scholarly approach to this understudied field.

Keynote Lectures

There will be keynote lectures by Professor Dominic Parviz Brookshaw (University of Oxford), Professor Rebecca Gould (SOAS University of London), Professor Paul Losensky (Indiana University) and Professor Claudia Yaghoobi (University of North Carolina), .


Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Arash Ghajarjazi, Zhinia Noorian, Leila Rahimi Bahmany, Maarten Holtzapffel, Amin Ghodratzadeh, Alexandra Nieweg, Fatemeh Naghshvarian.

The programme of the conference will follow shortly.


Utrecht University, Academy Building (Belle van Zuylen Hall), Domplein 29, Utrecht


Thursday 5 & Friday 6 September 2024, from 9 – 17.30 h.


Entrance is free, but registration compulsory as seats are limited (beyondsharia@uu.nl)

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