Hamid Dabashi An Iranian Childhood: Rethinking History and Memory (June 2023) — Hamid Dabashi's Official Website
Hamid Dabashi

Hamid Dabashi An Iranian Childhood: Rethinking History and Memory (June 2023)

Hamid Dabashi was born and raised in southern Iran in the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, his homeland was changed beyond recognition, from the 1953 coup d’état to the 1963 political protests and the beginning of the Marxist rebellions against the Shah in 1971. In this vibrant, unique and personal study, Dabashi recounts his experience of this defining period in modern Iranian history, deftly blending the personal with the political, the ordinary with the extraordinary. Lyrically written, he combines vivid childhood memories with careful reflection to explore the intersection of history and memory. The book draws upon a rich tapestry of themes and sources, including art, literature, and folklore. In doing so, Dabashi asserts the power and place of the knowing postcolonial subject. Redrawing the limits of modern literary historiography, he asks what it means to be a Muslim and an Iranian, and, indeed, what it is that forms the humanity of a person.


Official Page on Cambridge University Press:



‘In a prose both intimate and critical, Dabashi creates a language – dare I say the language – for Iranians to articulate their collective experiences. Yet in his indelible textual mosaic, organically interweaving Rumi with Ricoeur, Bollywood with Hollywood via a personal and intellectual history, he communes with all his readers, no matter their origins’ 

— Atefeh Akbari, Barnard College

‘Told with his usual wit, piercing insights and poetic verve, Hamid Dabashi weaves together Iranian philosophy and Persian poetry with humorous and cinematic memories of his childhood to illuminate what it means to be alive in the world. I found myself profoundly moved and could have read another hundred pages.’ 

— Ramin Bahrani, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker

‘’It is not the son who kills the father, but the father who kills the son’: this memorable takeaway from a thousand-year-old Persian epic echoes through a great scholar’s account of his bookish postcolonial childhood. Compulsively readable, a charismatic teacher in love with the freshness of children and their love of stories, Dabashi offers an accelerated course in Great Books and tenderness for the world.’ 

— Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

Copyright ©2009-2024 Hamid Dabashi. All rights reserved.
Array ( [2] => Array ( [title] => [text] => "A leading cultural observer." Washington Post "Our most prominent intellectual." Shirin Neshat "Renowned Columbia University scholar on Iranian culture." Boston Globe "Spectacular, important, and incisive. Dabashi's work is crucial for our times." Zillah Eisenstein
Ithaca College, NY
"Hamid Dabashi lovingly writes about the history of Iran that teaches us how to understand a people overshadowed by the grand narratives of political (mis)representation." Gayatri Spivak
Columbia University
"You are with a humanist who deeply loves his country, and invites you to feel very much at home." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Superb authority... Dabashi provides a tour de force on Iranian art, politics and culture." Shirin Neshat "Great erudition and imagination... bringing out rich aspects of Iranian culture that are little known or not recognized." Vanessa Martin, Royal Holloway
University of London
"Hamid Dabashi, is one of the most significant intellectual voices outside of Iran since the Islamic revolution." Shirin Neshat "A leading light in Iranian studies." The Chronicle of Higher Education "Cuts through the myths, past and present, that Americans have been told about Iran... presenting Iran's history through the lens of its literary cosmopolitanism." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Magisterial." Houchang Chehabi
Boston University
"An important man in New York." Sir Ridley Scott "Much-needed in our troubled times." Gayatri Spivak
Columbia University
"Exemplary of a new Leftist discourse that is undogmatic and non-sectarian... open and intimate." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Hamid Dabashi beautifully lays out the alluring dynamic between Iranian art and politics." Shirin Neshat "A rare cultural critic." Mohsen Makhmalbaf "Dabashi's passion and extraordinary vision, gives us the knowledge and commitment to stand against war and build the possibilities for peace and global justice." Zillah Eisenstein
Ithaca College, NY
"Hamid Dabashi's piercing revelations have been as instrumental in fashioning my own films as have Scorsese, Rossellini and Bresson." Ramin Bahrani "Superb and brilliant." Bruce Lawrence
Duke University
"Fresh, provocative and iconoclastic." Ian Richard Netton
University of Leeds, UK
"Learned... sparkles with verve and a sometimes punishing wit. Hamid Dabashi is the perfect guide." Edward W. Said "There are few better places to begin than with Dabashi's subtle and vividly presented wealth on Iran." Said Amir Arjomand
SUNY, New York
"Objective and empathetic... unlike many others on contemporary Iran." Ervand Abrahamian
Baruch College, New York
"Enthusiastic... clear and accurate... impressive." Oliver Leaman
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
"Original, creative and insightful." John L. Esposito
Georgetown University
"Extraordinary." Daniel Brumberg
Georgetown University
"Dabashi has an astonishing ability to range over some of the most complex issues of modern intellectual life." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"If anyone can lay claim to Nima Yushij's statement that this world is his home, it is Hamid Dabashi. I want a very broad readership to know the quality of his writing and thinking, of his immense epistemic and historical scholarship." Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Columbia University
"Dabashi is learned, poetic, ranging from philosophy to film, every word written with a commitment to the possibility of a just world. I have worked with him in the past and will work with him again in the future." Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi is one of the foremost exponent today of postcolonial critical theory, whose work deserves to be called post-colonial with all the multivalence of this description." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi's writings on Iranian culture and politics brilliantly re-imagine the rich heritage of a shared past and a conflicted present. His reflections on revolution and nationhood, poetry and cinema, philosophy and the sacred, are urgent, provocative, complex, and highly original." Timothy Mitchell
Columbia University
"Equally fluent in philosophical reasoning, literary interpretation, visual hermeneutics and writing with a rare combination of penetration and lyricism, Dabashi's work continues values of both modern critical theory and the highly sophisticated and subtle intellectual traditions of Iranian... reflection -- for both of which he is an wonderfully sympathetic reader." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi belongs to a marvelous tradition of poetic thinkers, whose deep insights are crafted in magnificent poetic prose." Gilbert Achcar
University of London
"Dabashi provides his readers with the wine of literary pleasure along with rich food for thought." Gilbert Achcar
University of London
"In Dabashi's work, post-coloniality does not mean a denial or denunciation of the modern European tradition of philosophy and social theory, but their effortless absorption into a larger, more complex reflection." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
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