Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

The Bombay Interlude: Parsi Transnational Aspirations in the First Persian Sound Film

Fri, September 28, 2018
The Bombay Interlude: Parsi Transnational Aspirations in the First Persian Sound Film


The focus on cinema in Iran has imbricated the medium within the discourse of Iranian nationalist projects of the twentieth century, expressing the idea of transnationalism as merely the use of non-Iranian locales or actors. This article draws upon the first Persian-language sound film The Lor Girl (1933) to contest the historiography of the film as demonstrative of Iranian nationalism alone. Rather, it argues that the film came out of the Indian Parsi intellectual discourse of the 1920 and 1930s defining Parsi identity in relation to their status in Iran and colonial India and presenting the potential for Parsi transnational colonial desires to gain prestige in Iran. Drawing on textual and discourse analysis of the film and Indian and Iranian reports at the time of its exhibition, this article poses the resilience of the image of Bombay in Parsi cross-border cultural initiatives. --- Transnational Cinemas, Vol. 9 Issue 2, 2018.  

Full Article here

Laura Fish is a PhD candidate in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. Her dissertation focuses on the collection of mid-century Iranian commercial films and their transnational distribution as the films have crossed both geographic borders and media platforms. Additionally, she researches on methodology and researcher risk during fieldwork. She teaches Persian language and Middle Eastern popular cultures and enjoys cats, biking, and tacos in her spare time. 


Presentations 2018:

March 2018 - Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual meeting: roundtable on "Documents, Archives, Absence: Current Methodological Challenges and Insights from the Middle East and Beyond"

August 2018 - Association for Iranian Studies biannual meeting: "Escape to Bombay: The First Persian Talkie and Parsi Cultural Imperialism"

September 2018 - FLOW annual meeting: roundtable on "Research Practices: Praxis and Precarity"

November 2018 - Middle East Studies annual meeting:  "The Feminist Thriller for the International Spectator: A New Historiography for Iranian Popular Films"

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