PRIVATE LIVES AND PUBLIC SPACES IN MODERN IRAN
Conference - Biographical Notes
Mahnaz Afkhami is Founder and President of the Women's Learning Partnership, Executive Director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies, and former Minister of State for Women's Affairs in Iran. In the United States, Ms Afkhami has been a leading advocate of women's rights for more than three decades, having founded and served as director and president of several international non-governmental organizations that focus on advancing women's status. Most recently she was President of Sisterhood Is Global Institute. Ms. Afkhami also serves on advisory boards and steering committees of a number of national and international organizations including Commission on Globalization, The Global Fund for Women, International League for Human Rights, Women's Human Rights Net, Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, World Movement for Democracy, and Youth Employment Summit. Her numerous publications have been widely translated and distributed internationally.
Janet Armineh Alexanian
Janet Armineh Alexanian is a PhD student in anthropology at the University of California at Irvine. Her research interests include: the formation of collective identity, the relationship of narrative to history and inter-generational (in terms of immigration) dynamics of overseas Iranian communities (at various locations, both geographically and imaginary). Multi-sited research: Los Angeles, Toronto, and Paris. Broader interests are on the effects of the (re)creation and (re)production of Iranian social norms, communities and historical narratives in the context of the multiple discourses within which they are born and against which they are articulated, in particular, configurations of transnational migration, nationality, citizenship and discourses of 'cultural preservation' and assimilation. Ms Alexanian has received a Regents' Fellowship (2003, 2004), Pre-dissertation Research Award (2004), and funding for field research in the United States and France from the School of Social Sciences and Department of Anthropology (2004, 2005).
Camron Michael Amin
Camron Michael Amin (PhD, University of Chicago, 1996) is Associate Professor of history at the University of Michigan at Dearborn. He is the author of The Making of the Modern Woman: Gender, State Policy and Popular Culture, 1865-1946 (2002) and a co-editor of The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook (2005). His current research projects include studies of higher education, journalism and globalization in Iran.
Although Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is by no means the only one, she is certainly the leading female contemporary filmmaker in Iran. Her whole output is marked by a strong social and political consciousness and commitment. Born in Teheran in 1954, Ms Bani-Etemad studied film at the University of Dramatic Arts in the Iranian capital. In 1973 she joined the staff of the national TV organization as a script girl, then was promoted to assistant director, then producer and manager. In 1977 she began her directing career as a documentary-filmmaker for television. Her documentary approach or touch, remained a constant in her feature film work. 'I cannot separate documentary from fiction cinema. I have a constant urge to make documentaries which does not mean that I would insert documentary shots in a feature film. It rather specifies my outlook and point of view.'
Her first full-length feature film, Kharej az Mahdudeh (Off the Limits, 1987), was a satire on bureaucracy. In 1991 she was the first woman to win the Best Director award at Iran's most prestigious Fajr Film Festival with Nargess. (Nargess was first shown in Ljubljana as part of Kinoteka's introduction to Iranian Cinema: Okus Irana). Ms Bani-Etemad's international reputation and recognition continued to grow, winning numerous awards (including the Bronze Leopard at the Locarno film festival for Rusariye Abi (The Blue-Veiled, 1995), and an award from the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development in the Netherlands. Her first three feature films are comedies with a sharp eye for social satire. The central characters are subjected to events to which they can only react. Men's attempts to improve their lot are subverted. The women in these films tend to be rather background figures. But her later, more personal films focus on strong women living under hard and discriminatory social conditions. Rakhshan Bani-Etemad often puts her finger on taboo subjects such as poverty, crime and forbidden love. Asked about her main topics and the role of women in her films Ms Bani-Etemad said, 'I have never decided in advance if my film's subject should deal with men or women. In my film career, I draw a line between films I made before and after Nargess. That is to say, instead of dealing with a woman or a man, my first three films pictured a social situation within which I developed my characters. But from Nargess onward, I use the characters to reflect a social situation.
Ali Banuazizi is Professor of Cultural Psychology at Boston College and Co-director of the Program in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. After receiving his PhD from Yale University in 1968, he taught at Yale and the University of Southern California before joining the Boston College faculty in 1971. Since then, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Tehran, Princeton, Harvard, MIT, and Oxford University. Ali Banuazizi served as editor of the Journal of Iranian Studies, from 1968 to 1982. He is a past president of the International Society for Iranian Studies, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Encyclopaedia Iranica, and the current president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA).
He is the author of numerous articles on society, culture, and politics in Iran and the Middle East, and the co-editor (with Myron Weiner) of three books on politics, religion and society in Southwest and Central Asia, including The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (1986), The Politics of Social Transformation in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan (1994), and The New Geopolitics of Central Asia and Its Borderlands (1994).
Lois Beck is Professor of anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She has conducted anthropological research in Iran over a span of forty-two years, beginning with her studies at Shiraz University and continuing in the pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods. Since 1979, she has engaged in anthropological research in Iran on twelve occasions, most recently in 2004, on political, economic, and social changes among Qashqa'i nomadic pastoralists. She is the author of The Qashqa'i of Iran (1986), Nomad: A Year in the Life of a Qashqa'i Tribesman in Iran (1991), and Nomads Move On: Qashqa'i Tribespeople in Post-Revolutionary Iran (forthcoming). She is the editor of Women in the Muslim World (with Nikkie Keddie, 1976), Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800 (with Guity Nashat, 2003), and Women in Iran from 1800 to the Islamic Republic (with Guity Nashat, 2004).
Simin Behbahani was born in 1927 in Tehran, Iran. Her father, Abbas Khalili, writer and newspaper editor, had a number of publications to his credit. Her mother, Fakhr Azami Arghoon was also a writer, newspaper editor, and poet. Ms Behbahani began singing poetry at the age of fourteen. She used the char pareh style of Nima, a renowned poet of Persian history, and subsequently, turned to ghazal - a free flowing, poetry style that is similar to the Western sonnet. She contributed to a historic development in the form of the ghazal, as she added theatrical subjects, daily events, and conversations into this style of poetry. Her contributions to the ghazal meant that she had created a unique form through her alterations. Ms Behbahani has revolutionized the rhythms of the Persian ghazal (lyrics) and the dynamics of producing it. More importantly, Ms Behbahani became the first poet in recent times to have introduced new metric schemes to the complex system of quantitative meters of classical Persian poetry known as owzan-e 'aruzi. Working with inherited forms, she has not only become a master innovator of devices and techniques, but has also created a distinct poetic voice, at once traditional and provocatively contemporary. She is among the most prominent figures in modern Persian literature and the most outstanding living poet of the Persian language. Her poetry, written over a span of almost half a century, has had a huge effect on the Iranian literature today. Much of Ms Behbahani's work reflects the traumatic experiences that have recently shaped Iranian history: Revolution and war. In the balance of artful inquiry and shocking realism, her words and imagery probe the depth of political, cultural, and moral oppression.
As Javad Mojabi, a writer and literary critic observed, 'Her ghazal poems are the echoes of the contemporary Iranian women's voices, demeaning their share of love's beauty, universal justice, and individual freedom'. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reported that, 'Behbahani blends Eastern and Western cultures, leaps from one time period to another, switches back and forth from masculine forms, and imbues the lines with multiple layers of meaning. She has produced a copious body of work. Her first book, Setar-e Shekaste (Broken Sitar) was published in 1951 when the poet was barely twenty-four. It was followed by Jay-e Pa (Footprint) 1956, Chelcheraq (The Lamp of Many Lights) (1957), Marmar (Marble) (1963), Rastakhiz (Resurrection) (1973), Khatti ze Sor 'at-o az Atash (A Trajectory of Speed and Fire) (1981), Dasht-e Arzhan (The Arzhan Plain) (1983), Kaqazin Jameh (Paper-thin Vestment) (1989), An Mard,Mard-e Hamraham (That Man, My Companion of the Way) (1990), Kowli o Nameh o Eshq (The Gypsy, the Letter, and Love) (1994), Asheqtar az Hamisheh Bekhan (Sing More Lovingly than Ever) (1994), Yek Daricheh be Azadi (A Window to Freedom) (1995), Ba Qalb-e khod che Kharidam? (What Did I Buy with My Heart?) (1996), Negareh-ye Golgun (Rose-Colored Design) (1998), Jay-e Pa ta Azadi (From Footprints to Freedom) (1998), Yad-e Ba 'zi Nafarat (Remembering a Few) (1999), Yeki Masalan Inkeh (For Instance) (2000), and Kelid-o-Khanjar (Key and Dagger) (2000).
Houri Berberian is Associate Professor of history at California State University at Long Beach and the director of the Middle Eastern Studies minor program. She received her BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988 and her MA and PhD in Middle Eastern and Armenian History from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993 and 1997, respectively. She is the author of several published and forthcoming articles, including the prize-winning Armenian Women in Turn-of-the-Century Iran: Education and Activism, in Iran and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Nikki R. Keddie (2000) and Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911: The Love for Freedom Has No Fatherland (2001). She is currently working on two projects: one on issues of Iranian-Armenian identity and memory and the other, a co-authored work with Sebouh Aslanian, tentatively titled The Cosmopolitans: A Commercial Biography of the Sheriman Family of Julfa and Venice.
Dominic Parviz Brookshaw
Dominic Parviz Brookshaw teaches Persian language and medieval Persian literature at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford. His recent publications include: 'Palaces, Pavilions and Pleasure-gardens: the Context and Setting of the Medieval Majlis', in Middle Eastern Literatures, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2003); 'Zia'-al-Saltana and Maryam Khanom (respectively 7th daughter and 39th wife of Fath-'Ali Shah Qajar)' in Encyclopaedia Iranica (forthcoming).
Houchang E Chehabi studied geography at the University of Caen and international relations at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris before going to Yale University, where he took his PhD in political science in 1986. He then taught at Harvard University and UCLA, and in 1998 became a professor of international relations and history at Boston University. He is the author of Iranian Politics and Religions Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran under the Shah and Khomeini (1990), and co-editor, with Juan Linz, of Sultanistic Regimes (1998). His articles have appeared in Daedalus, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Government and Opposition, International Journal of the History of Sport, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Iranian Studies, Political Science Quarterly, and several edited volumes. Currently his main research interest is the cultural history of Iran since the 19th century.
Mansoureh Ettehadieh graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in history in 1956 and obtained her PhD in 1979 from the same university. She taught history in the Department of History at Tehran University from 1963 to 2000. She founded the publishing firm Nashr-e Tarikh-e Iran in 1983, which specializes in the history of the Qajar period. She is currently engaged in working on public opinion from 1870 to 1920 and has written and co-edited a number of works on this period, including: Khatirat va Asnad Husayn Quli Khan Nizam al-Saltanah, 3 volumes (1984), ed. with S. Sadvandian; Majlis va Intikahbat az Mashrutah ta Payan-i Qajariyah (1996); Majmuah-'i Asnad va Mukatibat-i Nusrat al-Dawlah Firuz (1999), co-edited with S. Pira; Inja Tihran Ast, Majmuah-'i Maqalati dar barah-'i Tehran, 1269HQ/1344 (1998); Riza Quli Khan Nizam al-Saltanah, Zindigani Siyasi va Asnad-i Muhajirat, 3 volumes (2000); Paydayish va Tahavvul-i Ahzab-i Siyasi Mashrutiyat (reprinted 2002). She has also written two novels: Zindigi Bayad Kard and Zindigi Khali Nist.
Shahla Ezazi is a Professor of Sociology at Alamah Tabatabai University in Tehran and is a member of the Family Research Institute of the Ministry of Education. With a PhD in sociology from Vienna University, she is the author of numerous books and articles. Her Persian books include: Family and Television (1994), Sociology of Family (1997), and Violent Family: Battered Women (2002).
Fataneh Farahani is a PhD student at the Ethnology Institution at Stockholm University, Sweden. For her dissertation, she is exploring Iranian immigrant women¹s self-presentation and understanding of their bodies and sexual desire, within the context of patriarchal culture and religion (Islam) and diasporic experiences. Through a Foucauldian discursive analysis of the recorded interviews of some of the first generation Iranian immigrant women living in Sweden, the intent of the dissertation is to study sexuality as gendered, historicized, and culturally constructed. Area of interest: female sexuality, violence against women, postcolonial theories, feminist and ethnicity theories, diaspora and multiculturalism.
Hafez Farmanfarmayan is Emeritus Professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his MA from Stanford University and his PhD from Georgetown University. He began his academic career at the University of Tehran where he held the chair of European history and became the founder and Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at that institution. Before coming to Texas he held a visiting professorship at Columbia University. Professor Farmanfarmayan's areas of interest are modern Islamic history, 19th century Iran and political history of modern Europe. He has written numerous articles in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, The Middle East Journal, Iranian Studies, and Muslim World. His books include Europe in the Age of Revolution, Travels of Hajji Pirzadeh, and A Shi'ite Pilgrimage to Mecca. Professor Farmanfarmayan has an intimate knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and has lectured extensively on the subject of cultural interactions between the United States and contemporary societies of the Middle East.
Willem Floor studied development economics, non-western sociology as well as Persian, Arabic and Islamology from 1963-67 at the University of Utrecht. In 1971 he received his PhD from the University of Leiden. From 1983 to 2002 he was employed by the World Bank as an energy specialist. At the moment he is an independent scholar. His most recent books include Agriculture in Qajar Iran (2003), Traditional Crafts and Modern Industry in Qajar Iran (2003); Public Health in Qajar Iran (2004) and his forthcoming books include The History of Theater in Iran (2005), Wall Paintings and Other Figurative Art in Qajar Iran (2005) and The Persian Gulf in the Safavid Period (2005).
Elham Gheytanchi teaches sociology in Santa Monica College, California. She earned her BA (1995) and MA (1998) in sociology from UCLA. She completed PhD courses in sociology program at UCLA in 2001. Her MA thesis entitled 'Civil Society in Iran: Politics of Motherhood and Public Sphere' was published in International Sociology Journal, Volume 16, No. 4, (2001). Her field of research has been women in post-revolutionary Iran. Her other publications are, 'Frauen in der Islamischen Oeffentlichkeit in Iran', in Islam in Sicht: Der Auftritt von Muslimen im öffentlichen Raum, edited by Nilofer Gole and Ludwig Amman (2004) and 'Chronology of Events Regarding Women in Iran since the Revolution of 1979' (appendix to Nikki Keddie's article) in Social Research Journal, Volume 67, No. 2, (2000). In addition to sociological research, Ms Gheytanchi has written literary reviews and criticism on contemporary Iranian literature in the Persian Book Review Journal, Karnameh and Iranian.com. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Ms Gheytanchi has also been a consultant to various broadcasting companies and radio programs in the USA and Europe.
Akbar Ghahary, an Iranian-born American, has remained an active member of the Iranian-American community within the past three decades. His commitment to serving cultural and humanitarian endeavours has engaged him in extensive charitable work with various cultural and community based organizations worldwide. Dr. Ghahary has in recent times served as the president of the Persian Cultural and Humanitarian Association, the treasurer and trustee of the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation, IAPAC Treasurer and a member of the Board of Trustees. He is the co-founder and president of the Persian Cultural Foundation. Dr. Ghahary, an executive in the manufacturing sector, is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Safas Corporation, an equity partner with General Electric Capital Corporation. A member of the American Chemical Society and Society of Plastic Engineers, Dr. Ghahary owns several international patents, including eight US patents, mostly in polymers and advanced composites.
Ali Gheissari is Professor of history at the University of San Diego specializing on the intellectual history of modern Iran. He studied at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Tehran University, and at St Antony's College, Oxford. He has held visiting appointments at Tehran University, the Oriental Institute at Oxford, and UCLA. Selected publications: Iranian Intellectuals in the Twentieth Century (1998); 'Poetry and Politics of Farrokhi Yazdi', Iranian Studies 26:1-2 (1993); 'Truth and Method in Modern Iranian Historiography and Social Sciences', Critique 6 (1995); 'Critique of Ideological Literature: A Review of Intellectual and Doctrinaire Writings in Iran', Iran Nameh 12:2 (1994); 'Modernity and Nationalism in the Literature of the late-Qajar and early-Pahlavi Iran (1921-1941)', Iran Nameh 18:3 (2000); 'Iran's Democracy Debates, co-author Vali Nasr', Middle East Policy 11:2 (2004). 'Despots of the World Unite! Satire in the Persian Constitutional Press: Introducing Majalleh-ye Estebdad, 1907-1908', Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 24:1 (2005).
Homa Katouzian is a social scientist, historian, literary critic and poet. He is the Iran Heritage Foundation Research Fellow at St. Antony's College, and a Member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, as well as an honorary fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter and editor of Iranian Studies. He obtained all of his university degrees in England and became Lecturer in economics at the University of Leeds, 1968-69, and Lecturer (later Senior Lecturer) in economics at the University of Kent at Canterbury, 1969-1986. He has held a number of prestigious international fellowships and faculty positions. He was a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 2001, a Visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of California at San Diego, in 1990, a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of California at Los Angeles, in 1985, an Economic Consultant for UNCTAD, UN, Geneva, in 1982, a Visiting Associate Professor of Economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1977-78, and a Visiting Iranian Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford in 1975-76. He has published widely in English, in other European languages, and in Persian. His publications include: Iranian History and Politics: The Dialectic of State and Society (2003), Sadeq Hedayat: the Life and Legend of an Iranian Writer (1991 & 2002), State and Society in Iran: The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Emergence of the Pahlavis (2000), Musaddiq and the Struggle for Power in Iran, (1990 & 1999), Musaddiq's Memoirs (1988), The Political Economy of Modern Iran (1981), and Ideology and Method in Economics (1980).
PhD in social anthropology, Stockholm, Sweden. His thesis: 'The Third Generation: The Islamic Order of Things and Cultural Defiance among the Young of Tehran', Stockholm: Department of Social Anthropology. (2003). His current research is a study of 'illegality' in the field of migration, which focuses on the process of unauthorized migration (mainly in the form of 'smuggling') and the living conditions of undocumented immigrants in Sweden. He is affiliated to The Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations (CEIFO) Stockholm University.
Mana Kia is a student in the joint PhD program in Middle East Studies and History at Harvard University. Her main interests are modern Iranian history, Indian Ocean migration (particularly between Iran and British India), and feminist historiography. She received her MA in Middle East Studies from New York University and her BA in International Studies from Vassar College.
Habib Ladjevardi has been director of the Iranian Oral History Project at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University since 1981 and chair of the editorial board of the Harvard Middle Eastern Monograph Series since 1990. Born in Tehran, he grew up in Scarsdale, New York, and received his BS from Yale University, MBA from the Harvard Business School, and PhD from the University of Oxford. Dr Ladjevardi returned to Iran in 1963 to work in his family's business, the Behshahr Industrial Group, where he was one of the managing directors. He was the principal founder of the Iran Center for Management Studies in Tehran (established in 1970 in cooperation with members of the faculty of the Harvard Business School), where he taught Public Policy until 1978. He also served on a number of boards and councils in the private and public sectors. Dr. Ladjevardi is the author of Labor Unions and Autocracy in Iran (1985).
Shireen Mahdavi received her bachelor¹s degrees in 1961 from the London School of Economics in political science and social anthropology. In 1982 she went back to school to receive her MA in history from the University of Utah. This led to further study and a PhD from the University of London in 1996. Her work experience in Iran includes Assistant Professor at the Institute of Social Research; Special Advisor to the Princess Ashraf Pahlavi Organization, in which capacity she researched and proposed the formation of the Women's Organization of Iran; and Iranian delegate to the Commission on Human Rights at the United Nations (1968). In addition, she represented Iranian women on International Women¹s Day in the Soviet Union, and was responsible for the budget of several social welfare agencies. Dr Mahdavi is a well-known writer and researcher and has published many books and articles, including: 'Women and the Shii Ulama in Iran' (1983), 'Women Behind the Veil' (1984), 'Women and Ideas in Qajar Iran' (1985), 'The Position of Women in Shi`a Iran' (1985). 'Captivity, Rebellion, and Rebirth' (1985), 'Taj al-Saltaneh, an Emancipated Qajar Princess' (1987), 'Shawhar Ahu Khanum: Passion, Polygamy and Tragedy' (1988), 'Social Mobility in Qajar Iran' (1990), 'Iranian Women: Past and Future' (1992), 'Women, Shiism and Cuisine in Iran' (1992). 'Women, Customs and Ideas in Qajar Iran' (1994), 'The Structure and Function of the Household of a Qajar Merchant' (1999), 'Qajar Art and Society' (1991), For God, Mammon, and Country : A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant, Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin Al-Zarb (1999).
Mina Marefat, an architectural historian, urban designer, and registered architect, holds a PhD from MIT and masters degrees in architecture and urban design from both Harvard University and Tehran University. She currently holds an NEH fellowship and directs the Cities Project; she was formerly the Rockefeller Scholar of the John W. Kluge Center for Scholarly Studies at the Library of Congress. Dr Marefat teaches at Johns Hopkins University and Catholic University of America's School of Architecture where she initiated a studio project on the reconstruction of Bam after its devastating earthquake. She has taught art, architecture, and urbanism at MIT, Wesleyan University, and Technical University in Vienna, Austria, and has lectured and published widely. Her practice has focused on the revitalization and rehabilitation of cities and streetscapes, including Washington, Newark, Tehran, and Isfahan, in each case integrating cultural heritage with redevelopment. Prior to establishing her own firm she served as senior architectural historian at the Smithsonian Institution, was a research associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art and later served as director of architectural education at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva, Switzerland.
Abbas Milani is a Research Fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. In addition, Dr Milani is Director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University and a Visiting Professor in the department of political science. His expertise is US/Iran relations, Iranian cultural, political, and security issues. He was a Professor of history and political science and chair of the department at Notre Dame de Namur University and a research fellow at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr Milani was an Assistant Professor in the faculty of law and political science at Tehran University and a member of the board of directors of Tehran University's Center for International Studies from 1979 to 1987. He was a Research Fellow at the Iranian Center for Social Research from 1977 to 1978 and an Assistant Professor at the National University of Iran from 1975 to 1977. He is the author of The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution (2000); Modernity and Its Foes in Iran (1998); Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir (1996); On Democracy and Socialism, a collection of articles co-authored with Faramarz Tabrizi (1987); and Malraux and the Tragic Vision (1982). His latest book is Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Persian Modernity in Iran (2004). He has also translated numerous books and articles into Persian and English. His articles have been published in journals, magazines, and newspapers including the Encyclopedia Iranica, the Hoover Digest, Iranshenasi, the Journal of the Middle East, Middle East Journal, the New York Review of Books, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Times Literary Supplement. He has been interviewed for radio and television, appearing on the BBC, CNN, KQED, Radio France, Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe, Radio and Television of Iran, and Voice of America. Dr Milani received his BA in political science and economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970 and his PhD in political science from the University of Hawaii in 1974.
Born and raised in Teheran, Iran, Farzaneh Milani attended French primary and secondary schools. She earned her BA in French literature in 1970 from California State University at Hayward. Transferring to the University of California at Los Angeles, she completed her graduate studies in comparative literature in 1979. Her dissertation, 'Forugh Farrokhzad: A Feminist Perspective', was a critical study of the poetry of a pioneering Iranian woman poet. She taught Persian language and literature at UCLA for four years before coming to the University of Virginia in 1986. Past president of the Association of Middle Eastern Women Studies in America, she was the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Award in 1998. She is the author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voice of Iranian Women Writers, A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Behbahani (with Kaveh Safa), She has served as the guest editor of two special issues of Nimeye Digar on Simin Daneshvar and Simin Behbahani. Dr Milani has written over 60 articles, book chapters, introductions, and afterwards in Persian and English and lectured at over 100 colleges and universities nationally and internationally. Her poems have been published in Nimeye Digar, Par, Barrayand, Daneshju, Omid, and Avaye Portland. Currently, she is Director of Studies in Women and Gender and Professor of Persian and Women Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She teaches courses in Persian literature and cinema, Islam, and cross-cultural studies of women.
Ziba Mir-Hosseini is an anthropologist who has done extensive fieldwork in rural and urban Iran as well as in urban Morocco. She works as freelance researcher and independent consultant on gender, family relations, Islam, law and development issues. She is a Research Associate at the London Middle Eastern Institute, SOAS, University of London; Hauser Global Law Visiting Professor at the School of Law, New York University (2002, 2004), Fellow of Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004-05). Her publications include Marriage on Trial (1993) and Islam and Gender (1999); she has co-directed two award-winning feature-length documentaries: Divorce Iranian Style (1998); and Runaway (2001).
Dr Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar
Dr Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar is founder and President of the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, a Washington, DC - based national non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting Persian culture as a way of helping people rediscover the importance of cultural heritage. A linguist and former faculty at Georgetown University and at the University of California at Berkeley, Dr Mir-Djalali is a recognized expert in the fields of language education, cross-cultural communication, and Persian studies. She has taught Fundamentals of Linguistics, and Applied Linguistics at UC Berkeley, French, and Persian at Georgetown University, and held methodology workshops in universities across the United States, and produced works on Iranian and American perceptions and their impact on cultural understanding. Besides her contributions to the academe, she has held executive positions at Rapport, Inc. and the Institute of Comparative Social and Cultural Studies. Dr Mir-Djalali received her doctorate degree in linguistics with honors from the Sorbonne in France, as well as two Master's degrees from Sorbonne and from Georgetown University. The Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, founded in 2000 by Elahé and Pierre Omidyar, is chaired by Dr Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar, its President and CEO.
Mamad Mossadegh is a British/Iranian photographer who grew up in London, England since the age of eight. He gained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. His work has appeared in magazines such as Time Out London, Touch, Hot Shoe, Photo, and the British Journal of Photography amongst many others. He returned to Iran in 1993 and embarked on several extensive expeditions into remote rural parts of the Iranian landscape. There he aimed to capture on film, the remarkable faces of the inhabitants of the villages he travelled through.
Nasrin Rahimieh is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and English at McMaster University. Her research has focused on intercultural encounters between Iran and the West, modern Persian literature, literature of exile and displacement, women¹s writing, and post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Her publications include Oriental Responses to the West: Comparative Essays on Muslim Writers from the Middle East (1990) and Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural Heritage (2001). Her reviews and articles have appeared in Iranian Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, Iran Nameh, The Middle East Journal, The Comparatist, Thamyris, Edebiyat, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Canadian Literature, and New Comparison.
Yann Richard, born 1948, studied philosophy and general linguistics in Lyon before his first two years stay in Tehran in 1970-72. Through the writings of Henry Corbin, he was drawn into the study of Islamic Iranian philosophy and started his orientalist studies in Tuebingen (Germany). Fellow of the French Research Institute in Tehran, 1975-80, he witnessed and experienced the turmoil of the Revolution and involved himself in the study of modern religious trends and contemporary history of Iran. Research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique since 1981, he became professor for Persian studies at the Sorbonne nouvelle (Paris). His main publications include Entre l'Iran et l'Occident. Adaptation et assimilation des idées et techniques occidentales en Iran (1989) ; eds. with Gilles Kepel Intellectuels et militants de l'Islam contemporain (1990) ; L'islam chi'ite : croyances et idéologies (1991) ; Shi'ite Islam : Polity, Ideology, and Creed (1995) ; with J P Digard and B Hourcade L'Iran au XXe siècle (1996).
Kamran Safamanesh is an architect, urban designer and historian whose main research interest is history and theory related to the formation of the built environment. He studied at the University of Tehran and at the University of California at Los Angeles and Berkeley, and holds master degrees in architecture and urban design from both. He has taught in Iranian colleges and universities since 1983 and has lectured at academic institutions nationally and internationally. He founded the Urban Research Institute in Tehran, which has conducted architectural, social and urban formation research in Iran since 1980. The center now holds an extensive archive on the city of Tehran and its historical buildings, and also more generally on Qajar architecture and contemporary buildings in Iran. He is the principal partner of Safamanesh and Associates architects and urban planners, which has been responsible for many projects including new cultural and educational buildings, urban revitalization and the rehabilitation of city centers and their historical streets and complexes. The renovation of gardens and buildings are among some of the projects in which he has been involved during the last decades. He is currently completing a detailed study of 'The History of Tehran and another on Principles for Evaluation of Historical Building and Complexes', whilst previous publications include The Story of Two Gardens (1990) and Configuration and Evolution of Tehran's Arteries and Roads (1989), as well as many articles in specialist architectural journals and historical publications.
Maryam Salour was born in Tajrish; acacias, old maple trees, flowing water, majestic mountains, and the soft desert are part of her. It was in Paris that she received her higher education and had her first work experience, and the refinement of that city and the beauty of the cobble stones covering its streets have deeply influenced her. But more important than biographical detail is awareness of how the artist thinks and what she feels, and how she transposes her spiritual experience onto the material sphere. At issue is the artist¹s honesty with herself and her intimacy with the world beyond, and the inspiration she derives from her experiences and meditations. Ultimately what matters most is the attempt to uncover the deepest secrets of one¹s being and transcend the urge to depict or even change the world. For her this quest is as natural as breathing.
A Reza Sheikholeslami
A Reza Sheikholeslami, the first holder of the Soudavar Chair of Persian Studies at Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, is a Professorial Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford. Before his election to the Chair, he taught political science in the United States. He has published on modern Iranian political structure and societal forces. He has published on Saudi Arabia, as well.
Mahsa Shekarloo is a journalist, translator, and co-founder of the website, Badjens, which addresses contemporary women's and gender issues in Iran. She has co-translated two of Shirin Ebadi's books, Women's Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran and The Story of One Woman. She is also a founding member of the Women's Cultural Center, an NGO based in Iran, which aims to expand women's rights and social participation.
Faegheh Shirazi receiveded her PhD from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in the field of textiles and clothing with a minor in Near Eastern/Middle Eastern art history. One of her primary areas of interests is the subject of material culture and its influence on gender identity and discourse in Muslim societies. Clothing, particularly the Islamic veil (hijab) is the main focus of her research. She also studies issues of women, rituals and rites of passage as they relate to material culture. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles in diverse journals such as Critique, Journal of the Critical Studies in The Middle East, Journal of the International Association of Costume, Ars Textrina, and Material History Review Journal National Museum of Science and Technology. Her most recent scholarly work includes a recently published manuscript The Veil Unveiled: Hijab in Modern Culture. She is also a contributing author to Religious Expression in Dress: Commitment and Conversion from A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Currently, she is the undergraduate advisor (since 1998) for the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a regular book review contributor for The Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AWMES) where she serves as an editorial member.
Richard L Tapper received his MA from the University of Cambridge and his PhD from the University of London. He is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology with reference to the Middle East in the University of London and taught at SOAS from 1967 to 2004. His main research interests are: Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey, pastoral nomadism, ethnicity, tribe/state relations, anthropology of Islam, anthropology of the state, documentary film, Iranian cinema. His publications include: Pasture and Politics: Economics, Conflict and Ritual among Shahsevan Nomads of Northwestern Iran (1979); Frontier Nomads of Iran: A Political and Social History of the Shahsevan (1997); with Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform (forthcoming 2006); ed. The Conflict of Tribe and State in Iran and Afghanistan (1983); ed. Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics and Literature in a Secular State (1991); ed. Some Minorities in the Middle East (1992); ed. with Sami Zubaida, Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (1994, revised as A Taste of Thyme 2000); ed. Ayatollah Khomeini and the Modernization of Islamic Thought (2000); ed. The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation and Identity (2002); ed. with Jon Thompson, The Nomadic Peoples of Iran (2002); ed. with Keith McLachlan, Technology, Tradition and Survival: Aspects of Material Culture in the Middle East and Central Asia (2003).
Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi is Professor of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto and the chair of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto-Mississauga. Since 2002 he has served as the editor of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, a Duke University Press journal, and has served on the editorial board of Iranian Studies, the Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies. His areas of specialization encompass Middle Eastern history, modernity, nationalism, gender studies, orientalism, and occidentalism. He is the author of two books, Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, Occidentalism and Nationalist Historiography (2001) and Tajaddud-i Bumi (Vernacular Modernity) (2003). He has authored numerous articles: 'The Homeless Texts of Persianate Modernity', in Iran--Between Tradition and Modernity (2004), 'Eroticizing Europe, in Society and Culture in Qajar Iran' (2002); 'Women of the West Imagined, in Identity Politics and Women' (1994); 'From Patriotism to Matriotism: A Tropological Study of Iranian Nationalism, 1870-1909' in International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2002), 'Inventing Modernity, Borrowing Modernity' in Iran Nameh (2003). Born and raised in the 'navel of Tehran', Iran, Professor Tavakoli is the recipient of two Outstanding Teacher awards from Illinois State University (1996 and 2001); a Research Initiative Award (1992); and visiting fellowships at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford (1998), the Center for Historical Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, 1992-93); and Harvard University (1991-92). He has initiated numerous conferences and workshops on topical issues pertaining to the Middle East, and has encouraged the active involvement of student associations in the organization of scholarly events and community outreach programs. He holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in History from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in History from the University of Chicago.
Roxanne Varzi is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of California at Irvine and a Senior Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. She has a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University and was the first person since the Islamic Revolution to be awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to do original research in Iran (2000). She was a Woodrow Wilson Post- Doctoral Fellow at New York University's International Center for Advanced Studies and most recently a lecturer at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, her book Visionary States: An Ethnographic Journey through Post-Revolution Iran is forthcoming with Duke University Press.
Houra Yavari is Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University. She holds a BA in english literature and an MA in psychology from Tehran University, and an M Ed from the Bank Street College of Education, New York (1990). She has published extensively on topics in psychoanalysis and Persian literature, including Psychoanalysis and Literature in Iran: Two Texts, Two Selves, Two Worlds (1995) and Living in the Mirror: A Literary Perspective (2005). Her articles include, 'The 'Third Ear' of the Analyst' in Critique, Journal of Critical Studies of the Middle East (1995), 'Modern Persian Fiction: History and Development', in Encyclopædia Iranica (1999), 'Ideal Kingship & Failed Monarchs: Speech-Act Theory and Medieval Persian Historiography' in Iranshenasi (2001), 'The Autobiographies of Jalal-e Al-e Ahmad: Who is Schizophrenic, the Culture or the Self?', in Goft-e Goo (2002).