Big Read: From Urdu Epic and Tibetan Sorcerers to Today
Wednesday October 26, 2011
Presented in partnership with the Rubin Museum of Art, this special panel of writers and scholars discussed the earliest form of fantasy storytelling through the novels of today. Panelists included John Crowley, Hamid Dabashi, Andrew Quintman, Paul Witcover and moderator Elizabeth Hand.
John Crowley is the author of eleven novels, including Little, Big, the Aegypt Cycle, and his most recent, Four Freedoms. He is the recipient of the Award in Literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a three-time winner of the World Fantasy Award. He teaches creative writing at Yale University.
Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He received a dual Ph.D. in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He wrote his dissertation on Max Weber's theory of charismatic authority with Philip Rieff (1922-2006), the most distinguished Freudian cultural critic of his time. Professor Dabashi has taught and delivered lectures in many North American, European, Arab, and Iranian universities. Professor Dabashi has written eighteen books, edited four, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews on subjects ranging from Iranian Studies, medieval and modern Islam, and comparative literature to world cinema and the philosophy of art (trans-aesthetics). His books and articles have been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Arabic, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Urdu and Catalan. His books include Authority in Islam (1989); Theology of Discontent (1993); Truth and Narrative (1999); Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future (2001); Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran (2000); Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema (2007); Iran: A People Interrupted (2007); and an edited volume, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema (2006). His most recent works are Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire (Routledge, 2008) and Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in Time of Terror (Transaction Publishers, 2009).
Andrew Quintman is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, specializing in the Buddhist traditions of Tibet and the Himalaya, in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University. As a specialist in the esoteric Buddhist traditions of Tantra in Tibet and South Asia, his forthcoming book The Yogin and the Madman: Reading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet's Great Saint Milarepa, explores the extensive body of early literature recording the life of Tibet's acclaimed eleventh-century yogin and poet Milarepa. His new English translation of The Life of Milarepa was recently published with Penguin Classics. Prof. Quintman completed his undergraduate studies at Hampshire College and did his graduate work at the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Yale, he served for seven years as Academic Director of the School for International Training's Tibetan Studies program based in Kathmandu. From 2006-2009 he joined Princeton University's Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, where he held the Cotsen-Melon Fellowship in the History of the Book. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group of the American Academy of Religion and his co-leading a five-year seminar at the AAR on Religion and the Literary in Tibet.
Paul Witcover is the author of three novels--Waking Beauty, Tumbling After, and Dracula: Asylum--and a collection of short stories, Everland. His work has been a finalist for the Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. His book reviews appear regularly in Locus and Realms of Fantasy magazines. He lives in Brooklyn.
Elizabeth Hand is a multiple-award-winning novelist, critic, and playwright, and with Paul Witcover created DC Comics' post-punk cult series Anima. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Salon, and Village Voice, among others. Hand received a degree in playwriting and cultural anthropology at Catholic University in Washington D.C. and went on to work at the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum for six years before leaving to write full time in 1988. She is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing and teaches at writing workshops around the country. She has two novels appearing early in 2012: Available Dark, sequel to Shirley Jackson Award winner Generation Loss; and Radiant Days, a YA novel about the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. She lives on the coast of Maine, where she is currently at work on a new novel.