Allison Kanner-Botan appointed as Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature 

Published: June 11, 2024

Allison Kanner-Botan has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature. In August 2023, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago after defending her dissertation, Maddening Love: Islamic Thought and the Ethics of Desire in the Legend of Layla and Majnun. Since then, she has been a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Kanner-Botan is a scholar of literary cultures of early Eurasia, specializing in Arabic and Persian literature of the Persianate world – roughly from the Balkans to Bengal. Her research extends across the fields of the history of sexuality, madness and disability studies, Islamic thought, translation studies, and comparative myth.

According to Kanner-Botan, her motivation to join researchers here at UCLA is the combination of remarkable resources.

“An innovative Comparative Literature department, the California Medieval Seminar, and a wealth of initiatives for the study of Arabic and Persian are all truly impressive for any academic in my position,” she said.

Along with joining researchers, Kanner-Botan looks forward to working with the CMRS Center for Early Global Studies (CMRS-CEGS) and collaborating across linguistic traditions that disciplinary boundaries can silo.

“It’s wonderful to have a center that brings such a large community of scholars of the early global together, and I think it makes UCLA an institution that leads the field in approaching the past as part of decolonial aims.”

Kanner-Botan intends to attend the engaging events and lectures at CMRS-CEGS as she finds the themes covered by many research seminars exceptionally provocative. According to her, “workshops on ecology, erotic cultures, and methodological approaches to historicism bring a theoretically sophisticated approach to studying the past, showing how theory and history can go together.” She hopes to contribute to such programming through her research on desire and madness.

In addition to collaborating with scholars within the UCLA community, Kanner-Botan is excited to have the opportunity to connect more with the greater Los Angeles community. Westwood, in particular, is home to one of the largest Iranian diasporic communities in North America, Tehrangeles, and a thriving Armenian community in Glendale. She is eager to learn more about and engage with these local communities.

Please join us in congratulating Allison Kanner-Botan on her appointment and welcoming her to the CMRS-CEGS and UCLA community.