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Ehsan Yarshater

Director
Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University

Iranian Studies
Columbia University

Ehsan Yarshater is the director of The Center for Iranian Studies and Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies Emeritus at Columbia University.  He is famous for editing the monumental Encyclopedia Iranica along with 40 other editors and 300 authors from various academic institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is also famous for editing the third volume of the Cambridge History of Iran (1983), comprising the history of the Seleucid, the Parthians, and the Sassanians, as well as a volume entitled Persian Literature (1988). As of 2007, he is also editing a sixteen-volume series named History of Persian Literature. He has won several International awards for scholarship, including a UNESCO award in 1959. The Yarshater lectureship is considered by some to be the most prestigious honor in the field of Iranology.

He studied Persian language and literature at the University of Tehran and Iran philology (Old and Middle Iranian) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London with W. B. Henning. His Tehran University dissertation dealt with Persian poetry under the Timurid Shahrukh (15th century). His University of London dissertation, elaborated and published later as A Grammar of Southern Tati Dialects (1969), describes a series of Tati dialects spoken in the southwest of Qazvin.

He has published a number of articles on modern western Iranian dialects, notably Tati and Taleshi, and the Jewish dialects of Persian (including Lotara'i) and on Persian mythology as well.