Area studies to Islamic studies 1972
Wheeler Thackston Brings Expertise in Persian and Other Languages
Wheeler Thackston earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton in Oriental Languages and Literatures and his Ph.D. at Harvard in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures under the supervision of Annemarie Schimmel. From 1972 until his retirement in 2007, Professor Thackston taught as Professor of the Practice of Persian at Harvard in the same department. He taught courses such as “The Qur’an,” and “Selected Readings in Classical Persian Literature” and is known for his uncanny gift for multiple languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and Syriac. If someone needed training in Uighur, for instance, Professor Thackston could teach them beyond his regular classes. He is known for his Persian and Classical and Qur’anic Arabic grammars and his translations of Saadi’s Gulistan (2008), the Baburnama (1996), and the Jahangirnama (1999). Professor Thackston has also produced manuals or editions of texts in Levantine Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Syriac, Uzbek, Luri, and Kurdish.