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Abstract

This article examines a copy of Farhād Mīrzā’s Jām-i Jam (the World-Revealing Goblet) published in 1856 in Tehran and kept at Columbia University Library offsite storage. It demonstrates the dual importance of this book in geographic knowledge production and as part of the library of Saʿīd Nafīsī, one of the most prominent Iranian scholars of Persian literature. Methodologically, the paper offers various ways to study a single lithograph to decipher larger historical processes in histories of education, translation, and print. First, it analyzes the paratext to expose scholarly and political networks in order to examine the genealogy of geographic knowledge production in mid-nineteenth century Qajar Iran. Second, it studies the content and translation practices employed by Farhād Mīrzā to offer novel strategies for analyzing dissemination and reception of new ways of production and categorization of geographic knowledge as well as methods utilized in composition of pedagogical geography books. Finally, it discusses how cataloging practices affect current scholarship and lead to rendering certain texts “hidden.” It therefore illustrates how the study of Farhād Mīrzā’s Jām-i Jam, a book aspiring to reveal the world, can expose much about scholarly practices not only in the past but also the present.

In: Philological Encounters