This article explores how Persian/ate rhetorical experiences and sensibilities constitute and are constituted by semicolonial modalities of empire. Building on global rhetorical history and an analysis of the work of the social reformer, historian, and linguist Ahmad Kasravi (1890–1946), I show how critical conceptions and configurations of speech emerge vis-à-vis the semicolonial bordering and ordering of the body politic and how these rhetorical formations at once resist and reproduce empire. Hailing from the liminal rhetorical space between the colonial and the noncolonial, namely, the sphere of influence, these configurations constitute what I call semicolonial rhetoric or a rhetorical sphere of influence.

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