Zuzanna Olszewska: Afghan Women Poets in the Digital Age

/ University of Toronto Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies


Zuzanna Olszewska


November 26, 2021

The 16th episode of Parse is an excerpt from a lecture given by Zuzanna Olszewska where she explores the poetry produced by Afghan women poets. She contends that Afghan women poets have benefited from educational opportunities and improved access to the public sphere in their countries of exile (like in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan, as well as Western countries) and in post-Taliban Afghanistan itself, therefore they are more active than ever before. This seminar is based on over 15 years of ethnographic research with Afghan poets in Iran and other countries, and it explores the themes, stylistic developments and modes of circulation of Afghan women’s poetry in the Persian language in the past two decades, through the lives and works of several poets.

Olszewska is an associate professor in the social anthropology of the Middle East at the University of Oxford. Her book, The Pearl of Dari: Poetry and Personhood among Young Afghans in Iran published in 2015, has won the 2016 Houshang Purshariati Iranian Studies Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association and the 2017 Middle East Section Book Award of the American Anthropological Association.