Mana Kia’s interests are the connective social and cultural histories of West, Central and South Asia from roughly the late 17th through the 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Indo-Persian literary culture and social history. Some of the issues with which she is preoccupied include ruptures and continuities between the early modern and modern periods, inter-Asian transregional travel and migration, gender and sexuality, and historiographies beyond nationalism. She completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University (2011), M.A. at NYU (2001) and B.A. at Vassar College (1997).

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.

This year she is teaching Contemporary Civilization; Societies and Cultures Across the Indian Ocean; and Gender, Culture and Power in Early Modern India. Future courses will cover topics such as Comparative Early Modern Islamicate Empires; Diasporas; Cultures of Readings; Love, Loyalty and Friendship; Readings in Indo-Persian; Persianate Literature, History and Political Thought from Anatolia to Bengal; and South Asia Port and Court.

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, (forthcoming, 2014).

“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, (forthcoming, 2014).

“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, http://www.accessingmuslimlives.org/.

“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)