Aqsa Ijaz

Aqsa Ijaz, Ph.D. (Year 7)

I work on classical Persian poetry and studies its reception in mediaeval and early modern North India. Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan – I am trained in Indian classical music and specialise in the vocal forms of thumri and ghazal. As a scholar of Persian, Urdu, and Punjabi, my doctoral research focuses on the reception of the 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi and examines the formative role of Nizami’s poetry in shaping the language of love in premodern North India.

Besides my scholarly work, I am an essayist and a translator and write for various international publications such as The World Literature Today, The Herald, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. I am committed to sharing academic research with audiences across the globe and in this regard I serve on the editorial board of The Marginalia Review of Books in Los Angeles. Currently, I teach Urdu and Persian at the Department of Language Studies, and am project manager of The Global Past Research Initiative at the University of Toronto Mississauga.


B.A (hons.) English Literature, Philosophy, French, G.C University Lahore, Pakistan

MPhil English Literature, G.C University Lahore, Pakistan

Areas of interest: Classical Persian Poetry, Indo-Persian Literature, History of Emotions, Translation, Genre Theory.

Research Topic: Shaping the Language of Love: The Afterlife of Nizami Ganjavi’s Khusrau u Shirin in Hindustan




“On the Wisdom of Love ''. Micro-Edition of Amir Khusrau’s “dar fazīlat-e-ishq” translated and introduced for Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing, issue Spring 2023, forthmcoming (Peer-Reviewed).

“Shaping the Language of Love: The Afterlife of Nizami Ganjavi’s Khusrau ū Shirin in Persianate India”. In Comparative Practices in the Premodern Islamic World(s), Edited by Huda Fakhreddin, David Larsen and Hany Rashwan. Jointly published by the Oxford University Press and the British Academy. May 2022, forthcoming (Peer-Reviewed).

“Reading Nizāmī in Hindustān: The Death-Defying Poetics of Urdu masnavī”. Journal of Urdu Studies, issue 2022, forthcoming (Peer-Reviewed).

Book Project: “ Gift of the Generous: A History of Islamic Rule in Sindh”. An English Translation with a critical introduction and annotations of Mir Sher Ali Qani’s Tohfat ūl Kirām. Karachi: Sindh Endowment Fund for the Preservation of Heritage of Sindh. Dec 2022.


Spiritual Bridges: Across Time and Space”. Review Essay on Of Bridges: A Poetic and Philosophic Account by Thomas Harrison. Marginalia Review of Books (January 2022).

“Reading Between the Postcolonial and Transcultural in Mirza Athar Baig’s Ghulam Bagh”. In Pakistan: Alternative Imaginings of a Nation-State. Edited by Jürgen Schaflechner, Christina Oesterheld and Ayesha Asif, 46-71. South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg and Oxford University Press: Pakistan, 2020.

“Storytelling in Indo-Persian Literary Traditions”. Review Essay of The Broken Spell: Indian Storytelling and the Romance Genre in Persian and Urdu by Pasha M. Khan and Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination by Tony K. Stewart. Marginalia Review of Books (April 2020).

“The Wall Theatre''. Translation of Dīwār kā thetar by Mirza Athar Baig. In City: A Journal of South Asian Literature. Delhi: City Press Lockdown Edition. 2020.

“Is the Horse Oppressed?” Translation of Kiya ghōray pe zulm ho raha hai by Mirza Athar Baig. In World Literature Today. Fall 2019.

“Café Ghulam Bagh”. Translation of Cafe Ghulām Bagh the first chapter of Mirza Athar Baig’s Urdu novel in Harf: Journal of South Asian Studies. McGill University 2019.

“Evolution of Female Characters in Pakistani English Novel”. Review Essay in The Herald 2016.

“The Touch of the Word” Translation of Pathar ki braille by Mirza Athar Baig. In Ravi: Journal of Literary Studies at G.C. University, Lahore. 2015.

Talks, Conferences, and Workshops:

“Fiction and the Formation of Romantic Love: The Afterlive of Nizami Ganjavi’s Khusrau u Shirin in Hindustan”. Invited Talk at the Institute of Iranian Studies/ Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Toronto. 27-01-2023.

“Ancestral Presence and the Task of Philology: Reading Nizami in the 21st Century”. Invited Talk at the Nizami Ganjavi International Forum-II, Co-sponsored by the Cultural Ministry of Azerbaijan and Nizami Ganjavi Foundation in Baku. 15 Nov 2022- 20 Nov 2022.

“Fiction and the Formation of Love: Reading Nizāmī Ganjavī in Islamicate India”. Invited Public lecture at Centre for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Victoria, Canada. 3rd November 2022.

“Nizāmī Ganjavī and the Language of Love: How Poetry Materialises Emotion?” Invited seminar talk. Oxford Nizāmī Ganjavī Centre of Oriental Studies, Oxford University, Oxford, England. 26th April 2022.

Workshop Participation in Digital Humanities. Under-Mapped Spaces: New Methods and Tools for Critical Storytelling with Maps. Stanford University, co-hosted by the David Rumsey Map Centre, and branner earth Sciences Library and Map Collections. 28th Feb 2022- 4th March 2022.
“Materialising Emotion in Experience: Love and Logos in Nizāmī Ganjavī’s Khusrau ū Shīrīn”. Invited Talk. Research Colloquium at the Centre of History of Emotions, Freie University, Berlin, Germany. 12th Jan 2022.

“Greek Wine in Indian Flasks: Alexander the Great in Medieval Persian Imagination”. Invited Talk. Department of Classics at Dawson College, Montreal, Canada. 15th Feb 2022.

Invited Talk on Jalaluddin Rumi. Entitled Opinions podcast. Stanford University, Department of French and Italian Studies. August 2021.

“Shaping the Language of Love: The Afterlife of Nizāmī Ganjavī’s Khusrau ū Shīrīn in Urdu and Punjabi”. Pre-modern comparative literary practice in the multilingual Islamic world(s); a conference hosted by the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre (OCCT) the University of Oxford, 23-24 July 2021.

“Romance or Qissah? Urdu Translations of a Persian Romance in the 19th Century”. Troubling Translation(s). Graduate Student Conference. University of Pennsylvania February 21-22, 2020.

“Translation and Intertextuality in Indo-Persian Romance”. Invited talk. Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference. Boston, March 20-22, 2020.

“Indo Persian Romance(s): Reflections on the two 19th century versions of Qissa-e-Gul-e-Bakāwlī”. Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference Denver, Colorado 21-24 March 2019.

Invited Panellist at the 8th South Asia Film Festival, Montreal. Discussant for the film, The Unknown Mountaineer. 2018.

“Passionate Thinking and Symbols of Resistance in Mirza Athar Baig’s Ghulam Bagh”. Symposium paper at Annual South Asia Conference. University of Wisconsin-Madison- October 11, 2018.

“Parallel Narratives of Identity and Self in Contemporary Pakistani Art and Literature”. Invited Talk. Asia Centre, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. November 9, 2015.

“Narratives of the Local in Mirza Athar Baig’s Works”. Invited Paper. American Institute of Pakistan Studies, Islamabad: August 2015.

“Navigating the Transition from Postcolonial to Transcultural in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction”. Invited Lecture. Heidelberg University, Germany: December 1-3, 2014.

“Representation of Muslim Women in the Dutch Media: A Case Study of Netherlands”. Invited Talk. University of Erfurt, Germany in Summer School, Muslims in the West August 1-15, 2011.

Awards and Honors:

  • Ian H. Stewart Graduate Fellowship at the Center of Religion and Society, University of Victoria (2022-2023)
  • McGill Arts Graduate Student Teaching Award (2021-2022)
  • McGill Graduate Mobility Award (2020-2021)
  • McGill-Glasgow Collaboration Award (2021)
  • Graduate Excellence Award. (2020-2021)
  • American Institute of Pakistan Studies Junior Faculty Fellowship (2015)

Email: aqsa.ijaz [at] (Aqsa Ijaz)

Supervisors: Pasha M. Khan and Prashant Keshavmurthy

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