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Sheiba Kian Kaufman


Sheiba Kian Kaufman is a third year doctoral student in English literature. Her research focuses on cosmopolitanism and literary representations of and understandings between the Christian West and its Eastern neighbors—particularly Persia—in the early modern period of 1558-1714.  Her interdisciplinary approach to interreligious embraces in literature strives to discover alternative modes of edifying dialogue that is conducive to an age of global consciousness and citizenship. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA and an M.St. in English Literature 1550-1780 from Oxford. Her service and humanitarian efforts include translating for Asylum Welcome, Oxford, and coordinating with Amnesty International representatives to bring Education Under Fire, an national campaign dedicated to promoting  international human rights and access to higher education, to UCI.

This project investigates the socio-legal configurations of interreligious and intercultural diplomatic interactions in the early modern period of 1558-1714. To this end, this paper explores depictions of hospitality and diplomacy between Europeans and Persians in the English Renaissance play, The Travels of the Three English Brothers (1607). In the play, Anthony Sherley—fictionalized ambassador par excellence—meets Shah Abbas I of Persia and implores, “Our sins are all alike; why not our God?” Curiously, the Englishman’s interfaith inquiry, his leap of faith, is left unanswered. This paper aims to elucidate the intent and context of such a provocative socio-religious question and uncover its ramifications for our society today. By reading literature through the lens of global citizenship, this project aims to contribute to early modern and religious studies and in turn support our evolving understanding of present day interfaith initiatives.