Mana Kia’s interests are the early modern and modern connective social, cultural, intellectual histories of West, Central and South Asia from roughly the late 17th through the early 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Indo-Persian literary culture and social history. She is preoccupied with ruptures and continuities between the early modern and modern periods, inter-Asian transregional travel and migration, gender and sexuality, and historiographies beyond nationalism.

She is currently finishing a book titled Sensibilities of Belonging: Transregional Persianate Communities before Nationalism, which critiques protonationalist modes of envisioning Persianate cultures and societies and offers new modes of understanding the importance of the circulation of people, texts, and ideas between Iran and India at the end of the early modern period. She has also begun work on a project examining the relationship between early modern ethics of love and loyalty in companionship and the production of Persian texts commonly used as source materials for the study of 18th-century India.

She teaches a 3000-level global core course in the fall entitled Societies and Cultures Across the Indian Ocean, as well as 4000 level courses in alternating spring semesters on Gender, Culture and Power in Early Modern India; and Significant Others: Friendship, Love, and Loyalty. She also teaches Contemporary Civilization.

She completed her PhD at Harvard University (2011), MA at NYU (2001) and BA at Vassar College (1997). Prior to coming to Columbia, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, and a postcolonial studies tutor in the History and Literature program at Harvard University.

Selected forthcoming and recent publications:

Adab as Literary Form and Social Conduct: Reading the Gulistan in Late Mughal India,” in 'No Tapping Around Philology': A Festschrift in celebration and honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday, ed. Alireza Korangy and Daniel J. Sheffield. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014, pp. 281-308. (view).

“Imagining Iran before Nationalism: Geocultural Meanings of Land in Azar’s Ātashkadah.” In Rethinking Iranian Nationalism and Modernity: Histories Historiographies, ed. Kamran Aghaie and Afshin Marashi. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014, pp. 89-112. (view). 

“Limning the Land: Social Encounters and Historical Meaning in Early 19th-century Travelogues between Iran and India.” In On the Wonders of Land and Sea: Persianate Travel Writing, ed. Roberta Micallef and Sunil Sharma. Boston: Ilex, Distributed by Harvard University Press, 2013, pp. 44-67. (view)

“Muhammad ‘Ali ‘Hazin’ Lahiji (1692-1766), Tazkirat al-ahval (1742),” Accessing Muslim Lives,

“Accounting for Difference: A Comparative Look at the Autobiographical Travel Narratives of Muhammad ‘Ali Hazin Lahiji and ‘Abd al-Karim Kashmiri.” Journal of Persianate Studies 2 (2009): 210-236. (view)

co-authored with Afsaneh Najmabadi and Sima Shakhsari, “Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Historiography of Modern Iran.” In Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Culture, ed. Touraj Atabaki. London: I.B. Tauris, 2009, pp. 177-197. (view)

“Negotiating Women’s Rights: Activism, Class, and Modernization in Pahlavi Iran.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 25,1 (2005): 227-244. (view)