Jocelyn Sharlet

Associate Professor, Comparative Literature

Office: 805 Sproul Hall


Jocelyn Sharlet is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature. She received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies: Arabic and Persian literature from Princeton University and worked as an Arabic lecturer for two years before coming to UC Davis, where she is in the Department of Comparative Literature and also teaches Arabic. 

Her research focuses mainly on classical Arabic and Persian literature, and she has also done research on Ottoman Turkish and modern Arabic and Persian literature. Her first book investigates the medieval Arabic and Persian patronage of poetry as a flexible form of social order. It argues that patronage contributed to the development of a new kind of professional identity that in many ways transcended more limited forms of identity based on ethnicity, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic status. 

Her current research investigates leisure and pleasure pastimes as an approach to politics and the development of new forms of Arabic literature in the 9th-11th centuries. She teaches mainly in the Comparative Literature Department, regularly teaches in the Arabic Program (housed in Classics), and occasionally teaches in the Middle East/South Asian Studies Program. 

Courses Taught 

Comparative Literature 155. Classical Literatures of the Islamic World 600-1800 (4)

  • Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Prerequisite: Subject A or consent of instructor. Major classical texts of the Islamic world with attention to intermingling of diverse cultural influences and historical context. Includes epic, romance, lyric, mystical narrative, fairy tales, essays. Texts from Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu literature. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: ArtHum, Div, Wrt | AH, WC, WE.—(II.) Sharlet

Comparative Literature 166. Literatures of the Modern Middle East (4)

  • Lecture/discussion—3 hours; term paper. Major translated works in modern Middle Eastern and North African Literature, including Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. Social and historical formation, with topics such as conflict and coexistence, journeys, and displaced people, gender and family. GE credit: ArtHum, Wrt | AH, WC, WE.—I. (I.) Radwan, Sharlet