Samuel Hodgkin

Samuel Hodgkin's picture
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
451 College Street


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 “World Literature in One Country: Representing Persian Poetry 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

Projects at an early stage of development deal with early New Persian verse as a Silk Road art form; occasionality, phenology, and comparative medieval spring lyric; the Bedilian style in Central Asian verse of the 18th-early 20th centuries; Turanism and the cultural history of the Khazar hypothesis; and  the late works of Viktor Zhirmunsky.

Research Interests: 
Central Eurasian Languages and Literatures
Cultural History
Literary Theory
Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures
Russian and Slavic Studies
Working Languages: