Speakers

Niki Akhavan

Niki Akhavan is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The Catholic University of America. Her research focuses on the relationship between various forms of media and Iranian transnational political and cultural productions. She has published on the Iranian blogosphere and trends in discourses about Iranian media, and is currently completing a manuscript entitled “Electronic Iran: The Cultural Politics of an Online Evolution”.

Samad Alavi

Samad Alavi is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a lecturer in Foreign Languages and Literatures at San Francisco State University. He is currently completing his dissertation on the intersecting poetics and politics of four modern Iranian poets: Sa‘id Soltanpur, Ahmad Shamlu, Mohammad Reza Shafi‘i Kadkani and Mohammad Mokhtari.

William O. Beeman

William O. Beeman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota and President of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association. He was formerly Professor of Anthropology and Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. Best known as a Middle East Specialist for more than 30 years, he has also worked in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Japan, China and South Asia. Recognized for special expertise in Iranian culture and linguistics, he is the author or editor of more than 100 scholarly articles, 500 opinion pieces and 14 books, including Language, Status and Power in Iran, and The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs”: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. His latest book from Mazda Press is Iranian Performance Forms: Keys to Iranian Culture. He has served as consultant to the United States State Department, the Department of Defense, the United Nations and the United States Congress. A frequent commentator on international radio and television, his written opinion pieces have also appeared in major newspapers throughout the world.

Abdi Behravanfar

Abdi Behravanfar is an Iranian singer-songwriter and guitarist, a member of the Mashhad-based MUD Band, and a long-time collaborator of Mohsen Namjoo. He is an exponent of a musical style that combines rock, country and blues with Iranian folk music, which has earned the label ‘Khorasan Blues’. He studied dotar (a two-stringed lute) with a master of the instrument, Ali Gholamrezai ‘Almajuqi’ from the village of Almajuq near Quchan. His most recent work includes reworkings of Almajuqi’s Khorasani folk songs and oral narratives in a jazz style.

Orkideh Behrouzan

Orkideh Behrouzan is Assistant Professor in medical anthropology at University of Texas Medical Branch. She holds an MD from the University of Tehran and a doctorate in History and Anthropology of Science, Technology and Society from MIT. Her research focuses on historical and cultural analysis of biosciences and biotechnologies, psychiatric and neuroscientific subjectivities, cross-cultural psychiatry, memory and trauma. She has combined multi-sited and cross-national ethnography with discourse analysis, with a special focus on the Iranian blogosphere as a highly affective site for reconstruction of memory. Currently, she is working on the manuscript of her first monograph, Prozàk Diaries, based on her doctoral dissertation, for which she received the 2011 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences from the Middle Eastern Studies Association and Honorable Mention for the 2011 Best Dissertation Award from the Foundation for Iranian Studies.

Gabrielle van den Berg

Gabrielle van den Berg is Lecturer in Persian & Middle Eastern Studies at the Institute for Area Studies, University of Leiden. She studied Persian language and literature at the University of Leiden and at the University of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Her research focuses on the oral traditions of the Ismailis of Tajik Badakhshan and classical Persian literature. From 1998 to 2001 she was E.G. Browne lecturer in Persian at the University of Cambridge and in the years following she was affiliated to the Cambridge Shahnama Project. In 2005 she was awarded a ‘VIDI’ grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to establish a research project on the Persian epic cycle and the Shahnama of Firdausi.

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Persian Literature at Stanford University. Before arriving at Stanford, he taught Persian literature and language at the University of Manchester, McGill University, and the University of Oxford. Since 2004 he has served as Assistant Editor of Iranian Studies, and he is a member of the Board of the International Society for Iranian Studies. Brookshaw has published widely on Persian poetry (both medieval and modern) and Persian language pedagogy. Some of his more recent publications are Forugh Farrokhzad, Poet of Modern Iran, I B Tauris 2010 (co-edited with Nasrin Rahimieh), The Routledge Introductory Persian Course: Farsi Shirin Ast, Routledge, 2010 (co-authored with Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi), and Media Persian, Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

Benjamin Gatling

Benjamin Gatling is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University. Ben studies the folklore of the Persian-speaking world. His research interests include Sufism in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, narrative performance, and ritual.

Setrag Manoukian

Setrag Manoukian is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Islamic Studies at McGill University. He also teaches the anthropology of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa at the University of Venice. His research interests include the social construction of knowledge, historicity, ethnography of texts, semiotics, critical theory, technology, and the anthropology and history of Iran. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Shiraz, Iran, from the early 1990s to 2003. He is the author of the recently-published City of Knowledge in Twentieth Century Iran: Shiraz, History and Poetry (Routledge, 2011).

Margaret A. Mills

Margaret A. Mills has taught at Ohio State University since 1998. Previously, she was chair of the Department of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. She is widely regarded as a leading specialist in the popular culture of the Persian-speaking world. Her book Rhetorics and Politics in Afghan Traditional Storytelling won the 1993 Chicago Folklore Prize for best academic work in folklore. She is the author or co-editor of four additional books, with two others in preparation, as well as numerous other publications.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Zuzanna Olszewska is a Junior Research Fellow in Oriental Studies at St. John’s College, University of Oxford. She holds a DPhil in social anthropology from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation, ‘Poetry and its Social Contexts among Afghan Refugees in Iran’, received the 2010 Dissertation Award from the Foundation for Iranian Studies, and she is currently preparing it for publication as a monograph. At Oxford, she has taught the social anthropology of the Middle East and the ethnography, literature and history of Iran and Afghanistan. She has published scholarly articles on Afghan refugees in Iran, Afghan literature, and numerous translations of Afghan poetry. She has been selected to deliver the Evans-Pritchard Lectures at All Souls’ College, Oxford, in the spring of 2013.

Sima Shakhsari

Sima Shakhsari is the 2010-2012 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Program at the University of Houston and starts her position as Assistant Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Wellesley College in Fall 2012. She earned her Ph.D. in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University and has taught Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality and Anthropology courses at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and the University of Houston. Shakhsari’s publications include “Weblogistan goes to war: representational practices, gendered soldiers and neoliberal entrepreneurship in diaspora” (Feminist Review, 2011); “Shuttling Between Bodies and Borders: Transmigration and the Politics of Rightful Killing” (Transgender Studies Reader II, forthcoming); “Chic of Queer and the Politics of Representation: Cyberspace, War on Terror, and the Hypervisible Iranian Queer” (Queering Middle Eastern Cyberscapes: Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies Special Issue, 2012); and “Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Historiography of Modern Iran,” (co-authored with Afsaneh Najmabadi and Mana Kia, in Iran in the 20th Century: Historiography and Political Culture, 2009).

Fatemeh Shams Esmaeili

Fatemeh Shams Esmaeili is a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Wadham College, University of Oxford. A native of Mashhad, Iran, she completed her Advanced Diploma in Persian Literature at Tehran University after winning the silver medal in the national Literature Olympiad in 2000. She holds a BA in Sociology from Tehran University and an MA in Social Anthropology from the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London. Her research interests include the social history of contemporary Middle Eastern literature, with a special focus on post-revolutionary Persian poetry. She has worked as an online journalist, blogger and poet since 2004 and as a Persian language and literature instructor at the University of Oxford in 2010-2011. She is currently completing her doctoral work on the transformation of ideology in post-revolutionary Iranian poetry with specific reference to the works of Qaysar Aminpur.

Nahid Siamdoust

Nahid Siamdoust is a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Art History, and a Master’s in International Affairs – both from Columbia University. Before returning to academia and concurrently with her studies, Nahid has worked as a full-time journalist for TIME Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and Al Jazeera English TV. Her thesis examines the field of music production in post-revolutionary Iran.

Panel Chairs

Edmund Herzig is the Soudavar Professor of Persian Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, and a fellow of Wadham College.

Stephanie Cronin is a Departmental Lecturer at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford.

Homa Katouzian is the Iran Heritage Foundation Research Fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Domenico Ingenito is a Lecturer in Persian Literature at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, and a fellow of Wadham College.