Annual Alumni Lecture: Andrew Hicks, Listening Otherwise in Classical Persian Literature

When and Where

Friday, April 05, 2024 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
3rd Floor
Lillian Massey Building
125 Queen's Park


Andrew Hicks (Cornell University)


The Annual CMS Alumni Lecture will be hosted by John Magee. Join us in person or virtually via Zoom for Andrew Hicks' (Cornell University), Listening Otherwise in Classical Persian Literature.

A reception in the Great Hall will follow the lecture (4:30 pm).



“Do you break our harp, exalted one? Thousands of other harps are here.” This evocative line of verse, by the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, epitomizes an Arabo-Persian modality of listening known as samā‘—a term that encompasses both the act of hearing and the things heard, material and immaterial. Samā‘ is not delimited by the audible spectrum available to the material ear, for this external sense yields to an internal sense, the “ear of the soul” and “ear of the heart.” These auricular metaphors of listening through other ears—of listening otherwise—reveal that the act of re-mediated listening is not merely the historical artifact of our modern perspective on "lost," pre-modern Persian musical traditions. Rather, re-mediated listening is always already embedded in classical Persian poetic practice. This lecture excavates a richly textured media-archaeology of the soundscapes of medieval Persian poetry, and their activation across global and cosmic networks. In so doing, it exposes problems of continuity, rupture, and the musical imaginary in classical Persian literature.


Contact Information

Centre for Medieval Studies