Professor, Religious Studies and Program in Medieval Studies; Acting Chair, Council of Middle East Studies; Director, Yale Program in Iranian Studies; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Religious Studies
+1 (203) 432-6532
Field of Interest:
Early Mediterranean and West Asian Religions, Islamic Studies, Religion and Modernity
Travis Zadeh writes and teaches on the connected histories of science, magic, and religion, as well as on law, literature, and philosophy. His areas of interest include: encyclopedism, cosmography, mythology, descriptive and sacred geography, divine writing and scripture, Arabic, Persian, and Urdu intellectual cultures, medicine and the body, the occult sciences, ethics and philosophies of wonderment, codicology and the history of the book, and comparative theories of translation, secularism, and colonialism.
Recepient of several awards, including two Fulbright grants and an Andrew Mellon New Directions Fellowship, Zadeh has published widely on numerous topics. His first book, Mapping Frontiers across Medieval Islam: Geography, Translation and the Abbasid Empire (2011), explores the diverse uses of translation, scriptural exegesis, and administrative geography in the projection of imperial power. He followed this with The Vernacular Quran: Translation and the Rise of Persian Exegesis (2012), which examines how early Arabic juridical and theological debates on the linguistic nature of revelation informed the development of Persian translations and commentaries of the Quran. His latest book, Wonders and Rarities: The Marvelous Book that Traveled the World and Mapped the Cosmos (2023), offers an evocative account of wonder, nature, and empire by tracking the many afterlives of an Arabic compendium of natural history written in the wake of the Mongol conquests.
Zadeh joined Yale in 2016, after teaching for nearly a decade at Haverford College. He earned his doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from Harvard University.