About the Event
Reading and conversation with Uzbek journalist, novelist and poet Hamid Ismailov. Moderated by Leah Feldman, with interlocutors Hoda El Shakry and Vu Tran.
Friday April 8, 2022 at 4pm
Attend in person at:
Franke Institute for the Humanities
1100 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637
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This event is free and open to the public
About the Author
Hamid Ismailov was born into a deeply religious Uzbek family of Mullahs and Khodjas living in Kyrgyzstan, many of whom had lost their lives during the Stalin era persecution. Yet he had received an exemplary Soviet education, graduating with distinction from both his secondary school and military college, as well as attaining university degrees in a number of disciplines. Though he could have become a high-flying Soviet or post-Soviet apparatchik, instead his fate led him to become a dissident writer and poet residing in the West. He was the BBC World Service first Writer in Residence. Critics have compared his books to the best of Russian classics, Sufi parables and works of Western post-modernism. While his writing reflects all of these and many other strands, it is his unique intercultural experience that excites and draws the reader into his world.
Leah Feldman is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature. Her research explores the poetics and the politics of global literary and cultural entanglements, focusing critical approaches to translation theory, semiotics, Marxist aesthetics and anti-colonial theory, which traverse the Caucasus and Central Asia. Her book On the Threshold of Eurasia (Cornell 2018, winner of the Central Eurasian Studies Society Book Prize), exposes the ways in which the idea of a revolutionary Eurasia informed the interplay between orientalist and anti-imperial discourses in Russian and Azeri poetry and prose. She is currently writing on the rise of the New Right in late/post-Soviet Eurasia and a book tentatively titled Feeling Collapse on Soviet film, art and performance from Central Asia and the Caucasus amidst the collapsing sensorium of the Soviet Empire. Her work has appeared in Slavic Review, boundary 2, Ab Imperio, and Global South and she serves on the editorial collective for boundary 2.
Hoda El Shakry is Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. She is a scholar of twentieth- and twenty-first century cultural production from North Africa and the Middle East, with an emphasis on the relationship between aesthetics and ethics. Her interdisciplinary research explores Arabic and Francophone literatures, Islamic philosophy, film and visual culture, speculative fiction,aesthetic theory, as well as gender and sexuality. She is the author of The Literary Qurʾan: Narrative Ethics in the Maghreb (Fordham University Press, 2020) which was awarded the MLA’s 2020 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies.
Vu Tran is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of English and Program in Creative Writing. He is a novelist and short story writer whose research interests include the craft and aesthetics of fiction writing, genre, and migration narratives. His recent creative work explores the immigrant narrative through the framework of popular genre fiction. He is the author of the novel, Dragonfish (Norton, 2015), a NY Times Notable Book and a SF Chronicle Best Books of the Year, and his writing has also appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly, and other publications. The winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, he has also received fellowships from the NEA, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Bread Loaf.