Women Poets Iranica:
A Digital Research Compendium

The University of Toronto, in collaboration with the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation (EIF), is launching Women Poets Iranica, an integrative encyclopedia of postclassical, modern, and contemporary women poets. Informed by several decades of transdisciplinary recuperative research in Persian literary studies, Poets Iranica provides literary- historical articles on female poets and their poetic agency, imagination, tropes, narratives, and lives and the provenance and literary significance of their poetry. As a digital encyclopedia, Poets Iranica is an academic reconceptualization of women poets’ biographical dictionaries (tazkirah), which began with the mid-sixteenth century Javahir al-‘Ajayib (Jewels of Wonder) of Fakhri Haravi. Written by experts in Persian literary history and its cognate fields, and intended for the diverse needs of students, teachers, researchers, and the educated public, the well-documented articles in Women Poets Iranica will be prepared following the highest standards of historical accuracy, reliability and citation in the humanities and social sciences.

Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation

The Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation was established in 1990 to guarantee the Encyclopædia Iranica’s intellectual independence and ensure its ongoing publication both in digital and print versions. In addition to Encyclopedia Iranica, EIF publishes Cinema Iranica and Women Poets Iranica.

Editor-in-Chief

Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi

Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, the Inaugural Director of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies, is Professor of Historical Studies, History, and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. He was the founding Chair of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto-Mississauga (2004-07) and has served as President of the International Society for Iranian Studies (2008-10). In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2001-2012), a Duke University Press journal, he was the Editor of Iran Nameh (2011-2015). He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Iran Namag, a bilingual quarterly of Iranian Studies, and is the co-editor of the Iranian Studies book series published by Routledge. Tavakoli is the author of Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, Occidentalism and Historiography (Palgrave, 2001) and Tajaddud-i Bumi [Vernacular Modernity] (Nashr-i Tarikh, 2003). Together with providing critical introductions in Persian, he has edited the volumes Civilizational Wisdom: Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater (Toronto: Iran Namaeh Books, 2015); Jahangir Amuzgar: Selected Economic Essays (Toronto: Iran Nameh Books, 2015); and Ayin-i Danishjuyan: The First University of Tehran Student Journal (Toronto: Iran Nameh Books, 2016). Additionally, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Cinema & Women Poets Iranica: Digital Research Compendia. Tavakoli has published numerous historiographical articles in English and Persian on the topics of Iranian modernity, matriarchal nationalism, biopolitics, rights governmentality, and clerico-engineering. He is currently completing a monograph, Pathologizing Iran, which explores the emergence of modern diagnostic historical narratives and prognostic conceptions of politics. Tavakoli-Targhi is the recipient of two Outstanding Teacher awards from Illinois State University (1996 and 2001) and has held visiting fellowships at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University (1998), the Center for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, 1992–93); and Harvard University (1991–92). He holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in History from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.
Associate Editor

Azita H. Taleghani

Azita H. Taleghani is an Associate Professor in Persian language, literature, and linguistics at the University of Toronto. Her research has primarily focused on second-language learners and heritage speakers’ pedagogy, linguistic approaches in modern Persian literature, especially stylistic aspects in the poems of Persian women poets, Persian syntax, and morphology, as well as web-based and online language teaching. She is the associate editor and a member of the editorial board of Women Poets Iranica. She has published a monograph titled Modality, Aspect and Negation in Persian. She is currently working on a monograph, “Grammar of Persian Simple Verbs for Persian Second-Language Learners” and co-editing the volume, “Persian Second Language Pedagogy: New Trends and Innovations.” The two other projects that she has recently started to concentrate on take up language and style in the poems of contemporary Iranian women poets, as well as social deconstruction in the poems of ancient and medieval Iranian women poets. She has published several refereed articles, most recently, “Archaism as an Aesthetic Technique and Linguistics Process,” “Negative Forms of Persian Progressive Tense: Evidence from Monolingual, Second Language Learners and Heritage Speakers,” “Foregrounding and Its Role in Persian Modern Poetry,” “Persian Progressive Tense: Serial Verb Construction or Aspectual Complex Predicate,” and “Persian Linguistics in the 20th Century.”

Associate Editor

Rivanne Sandler

With a University of Toronto General B.A, I was accepted into a three-year M.A. in the newly established (1961) Department of Islamic Studies (now Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations (NMC)). The expanded one-year M.A. included two years of make-up courses in the Islamic Studies undergraduate program. Language proficiency for graduate research was required for graduate study and in addition to the requisite Arabic, I chose Persian and Persian medieval history and culture taught by UK immigrants to the University of Toronto from the British tradition of study of the Middle East, Professors Michael Wickens (Trinity College, Cambridge) and Roger Savory (School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London). Persian was the source language for my thesis on “Religion and Politics Under the First Two Tughluqs, as viewed in the contemporary traditional sources, with special reference to Barani.” (Supervisors: Professor Aziz Ahmad and Professor G. Michael Wickens). Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies, the focus of the Department of Islamic Studies was the study of medieval Arab, Persian and Turkish history, language, literature, and culture; its program was based on a concept of the medieval Middle East as an entity linked by a common Islamic heritage. I was a Teaching Fellow in the U of T Department of Islamic Studies, an Instructor, a Lecturer, an Assistant Professor and became an Associate Professor in 1978. As a junior appointment, I made the choice to focus my teaching on the modern Middle East and to introduce literature as a source of social history. This was facilitated by an escalating availability of English translations of modern Arabic and Turkish and Persian prose as well as poetry. Literature was a prominent feature of the course syllabi for all the courses I taught such as Middle Eastern Society: Traditional and Modern, Modern Middle Eastern Literatures: A Mirror of Society, Women’s Stories of the Middle East. The students in my courses were curious to learn about a part of the world they were not exposed to in Toronto public or high school curricula or in newspapers and magazines. The influx of Iranian students following the Iranian Revolution of 1979 provided a constituency for courses on Iran and literature in the original Persian. Readings in Modern Persian Literature (in the original Persian) catered to native speakers. The Iranian Short Story in Translation, Iranian Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century, Readings in Modern Persian Literature in Translation were available to the larger undergraduate student population. At the graduate level where Arabic, Turkish and Persian studies became distinct, I offered Literature and Society in 20th c. Iran (in the original Persian), and Persian Literature in the Diaspora. In retirement, I offer a course that I did not previously offer which focuses on the memoirs (originally in Persian and available in English) of Iranian Women: Iranian Women Reveal their Lives: The First Generation.

The theses I supervised reflect the broad academic training I received as a graduate student and were specifically focused on women’s poetry (“Gulten Akin, A Pioneering Turkish Woman Poet: An Analysis of Her Life, Poetry and Poetics Within Their Social, Historical and Literary Context” (defended 2001) and women in their social setting (“The New Armenian Woman’s Writing in the Ottoman Empire, 1880-1915” (defended 2000). I served as a co-supervisor for the thesis of the well-known poet Saeed Ghahremani whose granting department was the U of T Centre for Comparative Literature.

I consider as part of my education and research the three trips I made to Iran in the 1970s: three months travelling throughout Iran (except the south) in 1971, two months during 1974, living with a family in Tehran and attending a language school, and in 1976, a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum archeological site near Kermanshah. All three visits provided an opportunity to enlarge the range of society portrayed in literature.

International Editorial Board

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Professor of Persian Literature and Iranian Culture at the University of Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College, Oxford. He has served on the editorial boards of both Iranian Studies and Middle Eastern Literatures and is a former member of both the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies and the Council of the Association for Iranian Studies. He has published widely on premodern Persian lyric poetry, women writers of the Qajar era, and twentieth-century Iranian poets. His most recent book, Hafiz and His Contemporaries: Poetry, Performance, and Patronage in Fourteenth-century Iran (I.B. Tauris, 2019), won the Saidi-Sirjani Book Award in 2020.

Rouhangiz Karachi

Rouhangiz Karachi is an associate professor in the Department of Literature Institute for Humanities & Cultural Studies, Tehran. Her PhD thesis was titled “A Review of the Poetry of Modern Poetesses from the Period of Constitution in Iran.” She has published six books and more than forty articles, mainly about women and poets. Her first poems were published in 1970, and her first volume of poetry was published by Morgh Amin in 1998, entitled “With Woman Nightmares.” Her second collection of poetry, “The Earth’s Cross Eyed,” was published in 2001 by Neghah Sabz. Her poems have been published in various magazines and anthologies. She is also the author the following monographs: An Enquiry into the Poems of Thoughtful Poetesses during Constitutional Period (University of Al-Zahra, 1995); Forugh, the Sorrowful Rebel (Rahian Andisheh, 1997); and Descriptive Bibliography of Parvin Etesami (Ershad Press, 1997).

Fatemeh Keshavarz

Fatemeh Keshavarz is a professor of Persian literature and the director of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Maryland. She completed her studies at Shiraz University and at the University of London. She taught at Washington University in St. Louis for over twenty years, where she chaired the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011. In 2012, Keshavarz joined the University of Maryland as the Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Language and Literature, and director of the Roshan Institute Center for Persian Studies. Keshavarz is the author of several award-winning books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (University of South Carolina Press, 1998), Recite in the Name of the Red Rose (University of South Carolina Press, 2006), and a book of literary analysis and social commentary titled Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran (University of North Carolina Press, 2007). She has also published other books and numerous journal articles. Keshavarz is a published poet in Persian and English and an activist for peace and justice. She was invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly on the significance of cultural education. Her National Public Radio show, “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi,” earned her the Peabody Award in 2008. In the same year, she received the Herschel Walker Peace and Justice Award.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Zuzanna Olszewska is an associate professor in the social anthropology of the Middle East at the University of Oxford. She specializes in the ethnography of Iran and Afghanistan, with a focus on Afghan refugees in Iran, the Persian-speaking Afghan diaspora, and the anthropology of literature and cultural production. She received her doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Oxford, and has held post-doctoral fellowships at St. John’s College (junior research fellowship, 2008–12) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE Fellow in Anthropology, 2012–13). Her doctoral research was published as The Pearl of Dari: Poetry and Personhood among Young Afghans in Iran (Indiana University Press, 2015), an ethnographic inquiry into how poetic activity reflects changes in youth subjectivity in an Afghan refugee community, based on work with an Afghan cultural organization in Mashhad, Iran. The book won the 2016 Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association and the 2017 Middle East Section Book Award of the American Anthropological Association.

Leila Rahimi Bahmany

Leila Rahimi Bahmany is a Historical Studies Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She completed her doctorate at the Free University of Berlin. Her first book is titled Mirrors of Entrapment and Emancipation: Forugh Farrokhzad and Sylvia Plath (Leiden University Press, 2015), and it was the recipient of a 2016 Latifeh Yarshater Award. The book juxtaposes the highly ambivalent essence of the mirror metaphor in the poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad with that imagery in the oeuvre of Sylvia Plath. The interpretive prowess of the study reinforces the inseparable dynamics of the culturally established configurations of a woman’s self-image and her voice. Her main fields of interest are women’s literature and feminist literary theory and criticism. She has authored several book chapters and encyclopedia articles on Persian literature and Sufism, as well as on Azerbaijani intellectuals. Currently, she is working on her second monograph, dealing with the life and literary works of a modern Iranian female writer, Simin Daneshvar. The monograph aims to present a thorough study of Daneshvar’s biography and her fictional narratives. She also studies modern prose narratives from Iran written in Azeri Turkish.

Photo credit: Andrea Kane, Institute for Advanced Study

Fatemeh Shams

Fatemeh Shams is a professor of modern Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also taught Persian language and literature at various academic institutions in the United Kingdom, including the University of Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her work focuses on the intersection of literature, politics, and society. Shams is interested in the evolution of poetry and patronage in the Persian literary tradition and the representation and transformation of this relationship in modern Iran. She has published articles and book chapters on poetry, patronage, and politics in the Iranian context. Her book, A Revolution in Rhyme: Poetic Co-option under the Islamic Republic (Oxford University Press, 2020), deals with poets and patrons in Iran. She was awarded the Humboldt Foundation Fellowship to join the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin in order to embark on a book project on exile and exilic writing in the Persian tradition. Shams is also an internationally acclaimed, award-winning poet who has published three collections of poetry in Persian and in English. Her first collection, 88 (Gardoon, 2012), won the Jaleh Esfahani Poetry Award in London. Her third bilingual collection, When They Broke Down the Door (Mage, 2015), won a Latifeh Yarshater Book Award in 2016. Her poetry and translations have been featured in World Literature Today, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Life and Legends, Poetry Foundation, Jacket 2, Penn Sound, and more. The Mirror of My Heart: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry by Women (Penguin, 2021) features a number of her poems.

Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is Professor of Persianate & Comparative Literature at Boston University. His areas of research are premodern Persian and South Asian literatures, specifically poetry and court cultures, history of the book, and travel writing. His last book, Mughal Arcadia: Persian Poetry in an Indian Court (Harvard University Press, 2017) is a study of early modern Persianate literature. The output of a multi-year project entitled “Veiled Voyagers: Muslim Women Travelers from Asia and the Middle East” with Siobhan Lambert-Hurley and Daniel Majchrowicz was recently published as Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women (Indiana University Press, 2022). The book recovers, translates, and analyzes Muslim women’s travel writing from a range of languages in order to draw out the gendered relationships that inhere between travel and Muslim identities, nationalism, and the shaping of global power. Sharma was the president of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS).

Yidan Wang

Yidan Wang, professor of Persian language and literature, also serves as the director of the Institute of Iranian Culture Studies at Peking University. Her main research interests focus on classical Persian literature and the cultural exchanges between China and Iran from the tenth century, especially during the Mongol-Yuan period. Her publications include Tarikh-i Chin az Jami‘ al-Tavarikh (in Persian), A Study and Collated Translation of Rashid al-Din’s History of China in Jami‘ al- Tavarikh (in Chinese), the Chinese translations of Iranian Folktales, Rumi’s Masnavi-yi Ma‘navi (vol. 4), and Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. She has also published more than thirty articles on Persian literature or on the cross-cultural communications between China and Iran.

Sholeh Wolpé

Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-American poet, playwright, and librettist. She is the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, a Midwest Book Award, and the Lois Roth Persian Translation Prize. Her publications number over twelve collections of poetry, translations, and anthologies, as well as several plays. Her most recent book, Abacus of Loss: A Memoir in Verse, was chosen by The Mary Sue magazine as one of “8+ Beautiful, Contemporary Novels Written in Verse That Make Poetry Accessible,” and was hailed by Colorado Review as a book that “examines the masks of patriarchy in powerful metaphor and narrative.”

Wolpé’s translations of the twelfth-century Sufi mystic poet, Attar, The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton & Company), and of the twentieth-century Iranian rebel poet Forugh Farrokhzad, Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (University of Arkansas Press), have garnered awards and established Wolpé as a celebrated re-creator of Persian poetry in English.

Most recently, her play SHAME was featured in New Iranian Plays, published by Aurora Metro books (2022). Wolpé wrote the libretto for an oratorio, “The Conference of the Birds,” and a multi-genre performance, “The Seven Valleys,” which premiered, respectively, at the Broad Stage and the Getty Villa Museum in 2022. “Song of Exile,” for The Arlington Chorale, will premiere in Virginia in 2023.

Sholeh has lived in Iran, Trinidad, and the United Kingdom and is currently a writer-in-residence at the University of California, Irvine. She performs her literary work solo and with musicians internationally. She divides her time between Los Angeles and Barcelona.

Claudia Yaghoobi

Claudia Yaghoobi is Roshan Institute Associate Professor and director of the Center for the Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Yaghoobi is a scholar of Iranian cultural studies, and gender and sexuality studies with a focus on the members of sexual, ethnic, and religious minoritized populations. She is the author of “Transnational Culture in the Iranian Armenian Diaspora” (forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press, 2023), Temporary Marriage in Iran: Gender and Body Politics in Modern Persian Literature and Film (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Subjectivity in ‘AttarPersian Sufism, and European Mysticism (Purdue University Press, 2017). She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2013. She teaches courses on Iranian literature and culture, Middle Eastern literature, gender and sexuality, diaspora studies, and human rights. As an Iranian-Armenian-American, Yaghoobi’s research concerns the literature of the Middle East with a special focus on Persian and Armenian literature. Within Persian literature and culture, her focus is on the members of sexual, ethnic, and religious minority populations, ones marginalized by normative society. Her work addresses the embodiments of liminality through which authors, artists, and directors challenge and critique social hegemonies. Her first monograph, Subjectivity in ‘Attar, reassesses the significance of the concept of transgression and construction of subjectivity within select works of the medieval Persian Sufi poet Farid al-Din ‘Attar Nishapuri (1145-1221). She traces the intersections of transgression, law, inclusion and exclusion, self and the other, in ʿAttar’s treatment of class, gender, sexuality, and religion. Her second monograph, Temporary Marriage in Iran, examines the representation of sigheh (temporary marriage) in modern Iranian cultural productions. However, the book moves beyond the literary and cinematic realms and examines in depth a rather controversial social institution that has been the subject of disdain for many Iranian feminists, and that has captured the imagination of many Western observers. Her third book, “Transnational Culture,” examines the various creative ways that Iranian-Armenian authors and artists, as members of religious and cultural minority populations of Iran and later in the diaspora in the United States, craft and negotiate a unique notion of self—one that is at odds with the wish to be integrated into mainstream society—while maintaining ties with the homeland.

Reasearch Team

Research Associate

Shabnam Golkhandan

Shabnam Golkhandan is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History of Art at Yale University and the recently appointed manager of Tavakoli Archives. Previously, she held research fellowships at the Yale University Art Gallery and before that in the Freer|Sackler Archive at the Smithsonian. Her academic history also includes an MA in the history of Modern Middle East and a BA in Art History, both from University of Toronto. Golkhandan’s academic interests include, along with the broader subject of the history of Modern Middle East, the historiography of Islamic art, the intermingling of text and image in the pictorial arts of the Middle East through the centuries, and the relationship between photography, painting and print in the last half of 19th century in Iran. Her diverse experiences have afforded her a globally aware frame of reference steeped in vernacular modes of inquiry and practice in places such as Cairo, Istanbul, Tbilisi, Tabriz, Tehran, Mashhad, and Bombay.
Research Associate

Sophia Farokhi

Sophia Farokhi is a Research Associate at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto. Sophia holds a PhD in Iranian Studies. Her doctoral thesis, “Contesting Identities: A Critical Analysis of Iranian Identities,” examines contemporary Iranian political identities, their roots in Persian history, and their relation to more recent cultural and political phenomena in the Middle East and pays particular attention to the sociopolitical and religious influences shaping the perspective of contemporary Iranian political thinkers. Subsequent to the completion of her dissertation, she worked as a lecturer at several universities in Iran, where she taught courses in Iranian studies, political sociology, and political thought. She most recently held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Historical Studies (University of Toronto). Sophia is the author of numerous articles on Iranian society and politics, including “Cultural Schizophrenia: A Critical Analysis of Iranian Identity in the Thought of Dariush Shayegan,” and has written, edited, and translated several books. She recently co-translated The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation (2007) with Amirkabir Publisher, one of the most well-known publishing houses in Iran. This work has received wide attention in Iran.
Research Assistant

Hamoun Hayati

Hamoun Hayati is a web designer with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto. He studied electrical engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University. Hamoun is the founder of the Toronto-based web studio, Hexpace, and has over a decade’s worth of experience working on web design and development projects with clients across different sectors. He is deeply passionate about the future of work and education and using technology to solve real-world problems.
Research Assistant

David Anderson

David Anderson is a Research Assistant with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. His dissertation, Seeing Otherwise: Nature, Blindness, Memoir, reads memoirs written by a variety of blind, queer, black, and women authors in order to evidence how blind, marginalized, and ecological sensoriums—particularly non-visual senses like hearing, smell, and touch—can promote more just political, social, and environmental collectivities. David has taught as a sessional instructor for Sexuality Diversity Studies and Critical Equity and Solidarity Studies (University of Toronto), and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (University of Toronto, Mississauga). He has worked for The Intersectionality Research Hub (Concordia University), and the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology (University of Toronto) and is a consulting editor with Iran Namag. David’s most recent work has been published in Feminist Formations and Disability Studies Quarterly.
Research Assistant

Bilal Hashmi

Bilal Hashmi is a Research Affiliate with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of Toronto. Trained in English and comparative literature (at U of T and New York University, respectively), he is an editor, translator, and educator, who has taught widely in Canada and the United States, most recently as an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Language Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga, and as a Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of Virginia. Bilal is a consulting editor with Iran Namag and is presently at work on book-length translations of twentieth-century Persian poetry and prose. In 2018, he was selected to participate in the inaugural Persian to English translation workshop offered through the British Centre for Literary Translation’s International Literary Translation & Creative Writing Summer School at the University of East Anglia. He serves as the President of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada/Association des traducteurs et traductrices littéraires du Canada.
Research Assistant

Abolfazl Moshiri

Abolfazl Moshiri is a researcher for The Iranian Women Poets project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies at University of Toronto. He received his PhD from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, in 2021. His doctoral dissertation which was generously supported for four years by Ontario Graduate Scholarship investigates the portrayal of Satan (Iblis) in classical Persian mysticism. His broad research areas include classical Perso-Islamic literature, Iranian Sufism, and the intellectual history of Persianate world from 10th to 16th century. Moshiri has been involved in several research projects including e-Campus Ontario, for which he developed online interactive modules for various courses in Islamic studies and Muslim civilizations to be offered across universities in Ontario. At the University of Toronto, he has also taught undergraduate courses on classical Persian literature and culture.  His forthcoming article entitled “The Ishraqi Path: Toward Systematization of Suhrawardi’s Sufism” offers a new approach to better understanding Suhrawardi’s weltanschauung, which puts a greater emphasis on his mystical inclinations instead of his philosophical viewpoint.
Research Assistant

Guita Banan

Guita Banan is a Research Assistant for the Women Poets project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies, University of Toronto. She is a graduate student at U of T’s Women and Gender Studies Institute, completing her Master’s with a focus on feminist and decolonial technoscience. In her research, she thinks about the question of agency at the intersection of feminist theory, feminist and decolonial technoscience, neurotechnology, and ethics. She received her PhD in physics from the University of Florida. Her area of focus in her PhD was, broadly speaking, biophysics of the brain and neuroimaging, which shapes her current interests as she pursues her studies in science and technology studies. Guita received her BSc in physics from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran.

Amir Anbari

Amir Anbari is the Digital librarian for the Tavakoli Archive at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies, University of Toronto. Amir holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. His Master’s thesis, a survey of online Persian special networks and their role in knowledge management,  was the first study of its kind. He also has an MBA certification from the University of Tehran, and is Project Management Certified from Centennial College. After finishing his MBA, he taught several courses in Business Administration, Operation Management and Agile Project Management in the College of Engineering at the University of Tehran. He is an instructor at Centennial College’s Business School, where he teaches Digital Marketing and Marketing Project Management.

Amir was a radio guest expert for several years in the startup ecosystem of Iran. During his career, he has gained experience working with the National Library and Archives of Iran and the Parliament Library of Iran. In addition to this, he has more than a thousand hours of experience in placing workshops on library systems, knowledge management systems, and standards.

Fatemeh Rastegar Jooybari

Fatemeh Rastegar has a considerable background in biomedical engineering, medical imaging, and programming. Her Master’s thesis, “Online Reconstruction of Magnetic Resonance Images with Radial Acquisition through Polar Fourier Transform,” required extensive programming skills for medical imaging devices. She is an expert in several programming languages (such as C++, C#, Python and Shell Scripts) and has used her knowledge in her field of Medical Imaging, both during the course of her studies and later as part of her work experience designing engineering user interfaces and websites. She has authored many publications, including papers in both English and Persian, and is the co-author of a Persian book.

Negar Banisafar

Negar Banisafar is a first-year MA student in Near & Middle Eastern Civilisations at the University of Toronto, under Professor Tavakoli-Targhi’s supervision. Currently, she works as a research assistant for the Iranian Cinema project and the phenomenal Tavakoli Archive, both at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. She was one of the recipients of the Scholars-at-Risk Fellowship from the School of Graduate Studies and Massey College at U of T. She studied English Language and Literature at Allameh Tabataba’i University for her BA, and she also has an MA in Dramatic Literature from Soore Art University in Iran.  For her MA thesis in Dramatic Literature, she focused on the textual analysis of Lacanian desire in a selection of Iranian plays written during the 1960s.

Nariman Gooranorimi

Nariman Gooranorimi is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in human biology, double minoring in near middle eastern civilization and French language. Throughout his studies, he worked as a Research Assistant at the Tavakoli Archives to ameliorate his research skills. Outside of academics, he is a peer mentor at the University of Toronto’s Medical Sciences Student Union; he has created and sold numerous profitable businesses and enjoys volunteering in hospitals during his free time. 

Sara Farazi

Zahra (Sara) Farazi is a Research Assistant for the Women Poets project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies, University of Toronto. She is Master’s student in Child and Youth Care at Toronto Metropolitan University with a focus on new immigrants and asylum seekers from the Middle East. She is currently doing her internship at FCJ, which helps and supports immigrants from all over the world. Her area of interests are cinema, history, and literature.

Sara Molaei

Sara Molaieis a first-year PhD student at the Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations department. She received her MA from the University of Washington and wrote her thesis on the revival of the Hebrew and Persian languages in the 19th century. Her current research focuses on the poems of 19th and 20th-century Iranian women poets.  

Leila Moslemi

Leila Moslemi Mehni is a PhD student in the Department of Near & Middle Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She received her BA in Museum Studies from the Cultural Heritage Education Center in Tehran, Iran, in 2005. She received her first MA in Art History from York University in 2015, and later obtained her second MA in Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto in 2018.

In 2014, she interned with Professor Edward Keall in Iranian archaeology, maintaining an archaeological archive and creating inventory numbers for pre-digital images and records at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. She has also held an internship at ROM in 2019, working as a curatorial assistant with Dr. Fahmida Suleman, curator of Islamic Art & Culture with an ongoing collaboration in Iranian studies-related fields. She received the Mitacs Award in 2020, which enabled her to collaborate and work with her U of T supervisor, Professor Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi at University of Toronto, on archival materials from the Tavakoli Archive. This archival research has helped her develop a framework that it is going to be part her thesis dissertation.

Natasha Shokri

Natasha Shokri holds an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace. Her Master’s dissertation scrutinizes water as a catalyst for peacemaking in the Middle East. Natasha has been nominated for, and has received, various awards and distinctions, including that of UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador for her peacebuilding and human rights activities. Currently, she is working on her doctoral degree in Social Justice Education at OISE, University of Toronto. Her research interests are black feminism; critical media education; the science of happiness and education; peace education; the pedagogy of hope; and refugee education.

Gunha Kim

Gunha Kim is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. He received his BA and MA in Asian Languages and Civilizations from Seoul National University. His academic focus is on the twentieth-century social and intellectual history of Iran. He has particular interests in the topic of Iranian masculinities and gendered temporality.

Rahima Baluch

Rahimah Baluch is a third-year Human Biology student at the University of Toronto St. George Campus. She is a research assistant for Iranian Women Poets in which her goal is to help complete a journal issue alongside other researchers, as well as gain insight into Iranian poetry. Her interests outside of her position include literature, illustration, and writing.

Veronika Nayir

Veronika Nayir studies philosophy and ethics, society, and law. She has particular affections for hermeneutics, philosophy of history, and critical theory, and is interested primarily in questions of exile, trauma and memory, archives, and translation. When not writing she enjoys 20th century art and poetry, and Armenian studies.