The Digital Persianate: Constructing Participatory Persian Cultures in the Digital Age

Babak Rahimi
UC San Diego

Roxanne Varzi
UC Irvine

Since antiquity, Persianate civilization has identified parts of Eurasia where Persian has been the dominant artistic and linguistic force, encompassing regions such as Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Indian Subcontinent, and Caucasus. The concept of “Digital Persianate” centers on how digital technologies have and continue to change the Persianate as a transcultural phenomenon in recent years. The conference critically investigated the role of digital transformations in artistic, cinematic, literary, theatrical domains of Persianate cultures. Conference participants examined various topics ranging from digital cinema, cyber literature and poetry, virtual arts, and digital performance on both local and transnational levels. This conference brought together UC faculty from multiple campuses together with emerging and leading scholars to UCSD for a series of panels on, first, the broader relationship between digital technology, art, language and culture, and, second, its relevance to the transformation of contemporary Persianate cultures. This academic event brought to light histories and transformations of a major cultural and literary civilization that has been, by and large, neglected as a field of study in the humanities between UCSD, UCI and UCLA.