The University of Toronto, in collaboration with the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation (EIF), is launching Cinema Iranica, an authoritative compendium on all aspects of film and motion-picture production in Iran. Cinema Iranica provides historical articles on movies, genres, film movements, filmographies, directors, composers, stars, cinematographers, set designers, sound specialists, editors, choreographers, film studios, movie theaters, film posters, film critics, and audiences, among others. Written by experts in Iranian studies and its cognate fields, and intended for both scholars and the educated reading public, the peer-reviewed and well-documented articles in Cinema Iranica are prepared following the highest standards of scholarly 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.
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.
Shabnam Golkhandan is Manager of the Tavakoli Archives and Managing Editor of the Cinema Iranica and Women Poets projects at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Shabnam is also a doctoral candidate at the Department of History of Art at Yale University. Previously, she held research fellowships at the Yale University Art Gallery and before that in the National Museum of Asian Art Archive at the Smithsonian. Her academic history includes an MA in the history of the Modern Middle East and a BA in Art History, both from University of Toronto. Shabnam’s academic interests include, along with the broader subject of the history of the 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.
Golbarg Rekabtalaei is a historian of Modern Iran, with a broader focus on the Middle East. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History at Seton Hall University, where she also serves as the Co-Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program. She received her PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from University of Toronto in 2015. Her research focuses on the cultural history of twentieth century Iran, especially the history of cinema. She is interested in the relationships between cinematic image and space, modernity, cosmopolitanism, urbanisation, nationalism, and revolutions. Her book, Iranian Cosmopolitanism: A Cinematic History, was published in Cambridge University Press’s Global Middle East book series in 2019.
Khatereh Sheibani is a scholar, author and curator of Iranian cinema and Persian literature and culture. She has established multiple courses in Persian studies (language, literature and culture) at York University. Khatereh completed her doctorate degree in Comparative Literature and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada in 2007. Her book entitled The Poetics of Iranian Cinema: Aesthetics, Modernity, and Film after the Revolution was published in November 2011 by I.B.Tauris, UK . She has co-edited a special issue of Iran Namag on Abbas Kiarostami (w/ Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, University of Toronto Press, 2018). Khatereh has written articles on modern Persian literature, Iranian cinema and Middle Eastern cinemas in literary and film anthologies and journals such as Iranian Studies and Canadian Journal of Film Studies. She is collaborating with Iran Namag for a special issue on radio to be published in 2021. She has written two novels (in Persian) so far. The first novel titled Hotel Iran will be published in 2021 by Nashr-e Ameh in Tehran. Her second novel, Blue Bird café is going to be published in Europe in 2021. Khatereh was consulted and interviewed on issues regarding Iranian cinema by broadcasting services and journals such as CBC, PRI, and the New York Times. Currently, she is on research leave to work on a book-length project on gender representation in Iranian cinema.
Cinema Iranica Coordinator
Sophia Farokhi is Research Coordinator for The Cinema Iranica Project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Sophia most recently held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in Iranian Studies. Her dissertation, Contesting Identities: A Critical Analysis of Iranian Identities, examined contemporary Iranian political identities, their roots in Persian history, and their relation to more recent cultural and political phenomena in the Middle East, paying particular attention to the sociopolitical and religious influences shaping the perspective of contemporary Iranian political thinkers. Subsequent to the completion of her dissertation, Sophia worked as a lecturer at several universities in Iran, teaching courses in Iranian studies, political sociology, and political thought.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 Professor Shafique Virani’ book; The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation (2007) with Amirkabir Publishers, one of the most well-known publishing houses in Iran.
International Editorial Board
Kaveh Askari is an associate professor of film studies at Michigan State University. His research and teaching focus on cinema and media history in a global context. Special areas of interest include art cinema, media circulation, film and other arts, and cinemas of the Middle East. He is the author of Making Movies into Art: Picture Craft from the Magic Lantern to Early Hollywood (BFI, 2014), editor of a special issue of Early Popular Visual Culture on the Middle East and North Africa (2008), and coeditor of Performing New Media, 1890-1915 (John Libbey, 2014). He is currently working on a book titled “Relaying Cinema in Midcentury Iran: Prestige Cinema and the Archive of Hollywood.” Askari has served on the executive committee for Domitor, the International Society of Early Cinema Studies; on the jury for the Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival; as cochair of the host committee for the Seattle Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference; and as cochair of the SCMS Middle East Caucus. In 2017, Askari collaborated on a film program for Il Cinema Ritrovato, Tehran Noir: The Films of Samuel Khachikian, which showcased unseen films from the National Film Archive of Iran’s collection of genre films made before the 1979 revolution.
Blake Atwood is a media historian at the American University of Beirut. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of technology, culture, and politics in the Middle East. Increasingly drawn to media as material objects, he is currently working on a book manuscript about videocassettes in Iran. Atwood is the author of Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic (Columbia University Press, 2016). He has also taught at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the coeditor, with Peter Decherney, of Iranian Cinema in a Global Context: Policy, Politics, and Form (Routledge, 2014).
Currently a publishing fellow at the University of Texas Press, Laura Fish completed her 2019 PhD dissertation, “Arisen from the Grave: Collecting and Distributing Mid-Century Iranian Popular Cinema,” in Middle Eastern languages and cultures at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of, among others, “Remixing Vulgarity: Reinterpreting the Legacy of Popular Iranian Cinema” in The Velvet Light Trap (2020), and “The Bombay Interlude: Parsi Transnational Aspirations in the First Persian Sound Film” in Transnational Cinemas Journal (2019).
A lecturer in film practice at Lancaster University, Maryam Ghorbankarimi is a filmmaker and film scholar. Born and raised in Tehran, she moved to Canada in 2001 to continue her education in film at Toronto’s Ryerson University. She completed her PhD in film studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2012, and her dissertation was published as a book entitled A Colourful Presence: The Evolution of Women’s Representation in Iranian Cinema (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015). She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has developed new practice-based modules in film at Lancaster University.
Roshanak Kheshti is an associate professor of ethnic studies and affiliate faculty in the Critical Gender Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego. Her first book, Modernity’s Ear: Listening to Race and Gender in World Music (New York University Press, 2015), is an examination of the form of listening promoted by the US world music culture industry through which the modern listening subject is produced. Her research broadly centers on the consumption of race, gender, and sexuality through sound and film. Her scholarship has appeared in the Radical History Review, American Quarterly, Anthropology News, Parallax, Feminist Studies, GLQ, Theater Survey, and Sounding Out! She is the author of, among others, “Cross-Dressing and Gender (Tres)Passing: The Transgender Move as a Site of Agential Potential in the New Iranian Cinema” in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (2009).
Michelle Langford is a senior lecturer in film studies at UNSW Sydney. Her core research and publication activities are driven by her longstanding interest in the cinemas of Germany and Iran. These vastly different national cinemas are closely connected through her theorization of allegorical processes in film combined with a close attention to the impact of socio-political and historical contexts on the development of film style. Her current research focuses primarily on Iranian cinema, which allows her to extend and expand her theorization of allegorical cinema into an area of national cinema studies that is both contemporary and dynamic. Langford’s most recent research project looks at the German films of the Iranian Filmmaker Sohrab Shahid Saless. Her newest book is Allegory in Iranian Cinema: The Aesthetics of Poetry and Resistance (Bloomsbury, 2019).
Behrooz Mahmoodi-Bakhtiari received his PhD in linguistics from Allameh Tabatabaee University in Tehran, and is currently an associate professor and head of the Department of Performing Arts at the University of Tehran. His major fields of interest are Iranian linguistics and dialectology, teaching Persian as a foreign language, Iranian dramatic literature, and the discourse analysis of drama. He has published extensively in these fields and has also contributed to major reference works such as Encyclopaedia Iranica, Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (Elsevier Science), Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE (Brill), and The Great Islamic Encyclopedia.
Nacim Pak-Shiraz is the head of the department and a senior lecturer in Persian and film studies at the University of Edinburgh. She completed a postgraduate program in Islamic studies and humanities, followed by an MA in the anthropology of media, and a PhD in film and media at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Pak-Shiraz is also active on the cultural scene and engages with international film festivals both within and outside the United Kingdom. She has curated three film festivals for the Edinburgh Iranian Festival, and organized and led workshops and panels at the Fajr International Film Festival (Tehran), Eskisehir International Film Festival (Turkey), and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Pedram Partovi, an associate professor of history at American University, is a historian of the medieval and modern Muslim world. His current research focuses on the history of youth movements and their role in creating and disrupting the political order in Iran and the wider Middle East. This project springs from his earlier work on popular Iranian cinema, which in its depictions of male heroism problematized the efforts of state agents to eliminate or coopt in the name of modern “progress” the often informal youth associations that had long organized urban public life. In studying these “reckless” youths on the margins of law and order, he challenges assumptions about the supremacy of the “state” that have characterized much of social scientific writing on the modernization of politics and society in the Middle East. Partovi earned his doctorate with honors from the University of Chicago. He previously held a visiting professor position in the Center for Global Islamic Studies at Lehigh University and taught courses at the University of Michigan, DePaul University, and Columbia College. He is the author of Popular Iranian Cinema before the Revolution: Family and Nation in Filmfarsi (Routledge, 2017). He has also published articles in numerous journals including the Journal of Persianate Studies, Visual Anthropology Review, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Iranian Studies, and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa has an MFA in film from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been teaching as a full-time faculty member in cinema and television arts at Columbia College since 1989. Her areas of expertise are cinema studies (international, Middle Eastern, Iranian, Exilic, and women, gender, and race in cinema), documentary film theory and production, and alternative forms. She has lectured and written extensively on Iranian cinema. Her book on Abbas Kiarostami, co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2003 (revised edition 2018). She is an award-winning filmmaker. Her films A Tajik Woman, Saless Far from Home, and Ruins Within have been shown in many international film festivals. Her short film A Different Moon was shown in several European film festivals in 2009 and picked up for distribution by European Spiritual Film Festival in France. Her latest award-winning film, Jerry & Me, which has also been screened in several domestic and international film festivals, has been picked up by Arab Film Distribution/Type Cast Film. She is currently working on a documentary about a house in Florence, Alabama, that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. She has been the artistic consultant of the Festival of Films from Iran at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago since 1989.
Sara Saljoughi is an assistant professor in English at the University of Toronto. Her areas of research are world cinema, film theory, critical theory, and postcolonial studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript, “Burning Visions: The Counter-Cinema of the Iranian New Wave,” the first study focused exclusively on experimental and art cinema in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s. By focusing on this period, she argues that it is necessary to reevaluate the Iranian New Wave as a counter-cinema movement that sought to interrogate notions of collectivity. Through an engagement with diverse Iranian art forms (such as poetry and miniature painting), the New Wave established itself as an alternative national project in opposition to the cinema of imperialism (Hollywood), the domestic commercial cinema known as filmfarsi, and the modernizing nationalism of the Pahlavi regime. Her articles and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Camera Obscura, Iranian Studies, Film International, Discourse, Film Criticism, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Jadaliyya. She has also published in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women (2013) and The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies (Blackwell, 2016). Her second book project is a study of statelessness and cinema, which will examine cinemas of stateless peoples as well as questions of universality, style, and film language.
Saeed Talajooy is a lecturer at the University of St. Andrews. His current research focuses on the point of convergence between literary, performance, and film studies and on the reflections of the changing patterns of Iranian identity in Persian literature and Iranian theater and cinema. It involves studying the way Iranian playwrights and filmmakers refashion Indigenous dramatic forms, modes of thought, myths, history, and classical literary works to recreate their ideal images of Iranian identity, or the way they adapt non-Iranian novels and plays for the Iranian stage and screen. It reflects on technical, thematic, and intercultural adaptation as a way of promoting or resisting dominant cultural discourses. Another aspect of his research involves comparative studies of cultural resistance in African and Middle Eastern drama. He has taught world drama in English and English language, literature, and drama in Iran, and Persian language and literature, Iranian cinema, and postcolonial and comparative literature in the United Kingdom. Currently, he is working on a monograph entitled “Modernity and Iranian Drama: Plays and Playwrights,” a collection of five Iranian plays in English and his essays on Iranian theater. His teaching includes convening honors and postgraduate modules for advanced Persian language, modern and classical Persian literature, and Iranian cinema and theater as well as comparative literature.
Saeed Zeydabadi-Nejad is a research associate at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His publications have focused on Iranian cinema and media. His monograph, The Politics of Iranian Cinema: Film and Society in the Islamic Republic (Routledge, 2010), is groundbreaking in its ethnographic engagement with the question of media audiences in Iran. He has engaged with various research methodologies, from ethnography to digital ethnography and big data. Zeydabadi-Nejad was a postdoctoral research associate with a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Tuning In: Researching Diasporas at the BBC World Service. His teaching has spanned media and film studies, anthropology, and Islamic studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at SOAS, the Institute of Ismaili Studies (University College London), and Roehampton University. His media appearances include BBC World Service (radio and TV), BBC Radios 3 and 4, Iran International (United Kingdom), and VoA TV (United States). He has worked as a consultant on projects with Ipsos MORI and Iran International (United Kingdom). Zeydabadi-Nejad is the associate editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.
Abolfazl Moshiri is Research Coordinator for The Iranian Women Poets Project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Abolfazl received his PhD from the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, in 2021. His doctoral dissertation, generously supported for four years through the Ontario Gradate Scholarship, investigated 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 the Persianate world from the 10th to the 16th century. Abolfazl 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 in better understanding Suhrawardi’s weltanschauung, which puts a greater emphasis on his mystical inclinations instead of his philosophical viewpoints.
Elizabeth Davis is a Research Affiliate with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies and holds a PhD in Education from the University of Toronto and an MA in Political Science from McGill University. She researches the intersection of culture, politics, and media, focusing on the role of affect and aesthetics in the reproduction of formations of race, gender, and sexuality. She is the co-editor of Affective Politics of Digital Media (Routledge 2021) and has published articles in the fields of visual culture studies; aesthetics and politics; media studies; and affect theory. Her scholarly work can be found in Theory & Event, Emotion, Space and Society, The Senses and Society, and Cultural Studies. Elizabeth has worked in the fields of diversity and inclusion, accessibility accommodation, grant writing, and non-profit administration. She is a Lecturer in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Education at the University of Toronto.
David R. Anderson
David R. Anderson is a Research Affiliate with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. David is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. His dissertation, Seeing Otherwise: Nature, Blindness, Memoir, examines memoirs written by blind, queer, black, and women authors in order to evidence how non-dominant, marginalized, and ecologically-oriented sensoriums—particularly non-visual senses like hearing, smell, and touch—can promote more just political, social, and environmental collectivities. David is a Lecturer in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto and has worked for The Intersectionality Research Hub (Concordia University) and the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology (University of Toronto). David’s most recent work has been published in Feminist Formations and Disability Studies Quarterly.
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.
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.
YaserFarashahinejad is a Research Assistant with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Yaser holds a PhD in Persian literature and language and recently completed his postdoctoral research at Tarbiat Modares University in Iran. In addition to his academic pursuits, he is also a fiction writer, poet, and translator. To date, Yaser has authored four books: Gūrʹhā-yikāghaz̲ī (Paper Graves), published by Diyār Nāmag in 2022; Farārazfurm (Escaping Form), with Tarh-e-no Publications, Tehran, in 2020; Minārahʹhā-yivārūnah (Inverted Minarets), also published in 2020 by Tarh-e-no; and Nazarīyahʹhā-yirumāndarĪrān (Theories of the Novel in Iran), which was brought out by Pāyā Publications in 2019. As a translator, Yaser has thus far rendered two books from English to Persian: Hamid Rezaei Yazd’s Persian Literature and Modernity (as Mudarnītah-yi guftugūʼī, published in 2021 by Tarh-e-no), and The Rumi Prescription by Melody Moezzi (also published by Tarh-e-no in 2021, under the title Darmāngarī-yi Mawlānā). He has recently finished translating Ali Mirsepassi’s Transnationalism in Iranian Philosophical Thought, the manuscript of which is currently in press. Yaser has published numerous articles both in Iran and internationally, with a particular focus on contemporary Persian literature and history. His work has appeared in various publications, including Iran Namag, where he has already published two articles. A third piece, titled “Subliminal Dialogue,” is forthcoming in the same journal. Since 2020, Yaser has also worked as an editor and book reviewer at Tarh-e-no, a highly reputable and prestigious publisher in Iran. His research interests revolve around modernity, dialogue, and the philosophy of literature.
Guita Banan is a Research Assistant for the Women Poets project and Cinema Iranica at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies, University of Toronto. 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. 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. Guita received her BSc in physics from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran.
Fatemeh Rastegar Jooybari
Fatemeh Rastegar Jooybari is a Work Study Student contributing to the Cinema Iranica project and related Institute websites. Fatemeh 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,” utilized her extensive programming skills in medical imaging devices. She is an expert in several programming languages (e.g., 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 is a Work Study Student for the Cinema Iranica project. Negar is currently a PhD student in the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Allameh Tabataba’i University in Iran and two MAs, one in Dramatic Literature from Soore University in Iran and another in the study of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations from University of Toronto. During her second MA, Negar was a recipient of the Scholars-at-Risk Fellowship from the School of Graduate Studies and Massey College at University of Toronto. In 2022, she received the Norman Itzkowitz Turkish Short Story Award for the best short story written in Modern Turkish.
Amin Azimi is a Work Study Student contributing to the Cinema Iranica project. Currently, Amin is a PhD student at the Center for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. His research interests encompass various aspects of dramaturgy’s evolution in the 21st century, the politics of aesthetics, and digital storytelling in contemporary Iranian theatre and film. Amin has published academic articles in esteemed international journals, including Asian Theatre Journal, Alternatives Théâtrales, and Theater der Zeit, as well as Iranian journals like Film Negar and Cimia. Over the past decade, Amin has served as a lecturer in theatre and cinema at several renowned universities, including the University of Tehran and the University of Art, also in Tehran. Additionally, he has worked extensively as a critic for specific theatre and film publications and mass media outlets in Iran. Besides his scholarly contributions, Amin has directed several plays and made short films and performances. He holds an MA in Cinema Studies from the University of Art, and a BA in Theatre & Dramatic Literature.
Mahak Rouhina is a Graphic Designer volunteering with the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Mahak is a visual artist and will begin her graduate studies at the University of Toronto in the Department of Art History in September 2023. She has already earned her MFA in Visual Communication from Tarbiat Modares University in Iran.
Mahak’s research interests revolve around exploring the visual elements found in manuscripts, as well as studying the associated artifacts and monuments from Islamic periods. Her articles delving into these subjects have been published in several journals. In addition, since 2018 she has been working as a Persian carpet designer. Mahak is also a recipient of several national and international awards for visual arts and carpet design.
Gunha Kim is a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project. Currently, Gunha is a PhD student in the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. Previously, he studied at Seoul National University. Gunha’s doctoral project examines the historical development of the discourse of voluntary death—that is, suicide and martyrdom—in 20th century Iran. In particular, his dissertation aims to connect the concurrent development of psychiatric studies on suicide, the necropolitical discourse of martyrdom, and the environmental discourse of pollution as a mass suicide.
Gunha has been involved with multiple academic projects related to Iran. For instance, he has contributed as a digital archivist at the Persian Archive, has conducted research for the Encyclopedia of Iranian Cinema and Iranian Women Poets, and, more recently, served as an editorial intern for Iran Namag: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies.
Mohammad Hashemi is a Work Study Student in the Digital Humanities and Cinema Iranica projects. Mohammad is a Ph.D. Student, Mechanical Engineering. Mohammad received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Iran’s Sharif University of Technology in 2013. During his pursuit of a M.Sc. degree, his educational background led him to collaborate with Dr. Felicelli and Dr. Eshraghi on numerical modeling related to dendritic solidification at the University of Akron, USA, from 2014 to 2016. In the autumn of 2021, Mohammad became part of CACT, assuming the roles of research assistant and Ph.D. candidate supervised by Dr. Dolatabadi. His overarching objective is to devise a Lagrangian-Eulerian model for investigating atomization mechanisms in thermal spray. His primary research enthusiasm centers around formulating innovative computational models for simulating interfacial phenomena, combustion, and dendritic solidification.
Alireza Dianat contributes as a Work Study Student with the Women Poets Iranica project. For this project, Alireza is using his research skills and expertise to collect information from here and there about the less known women poets who wrote in Farsi. Currently, Alireza is a PhD student in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. His research interest focuses on travel demand modelling and he is currently working on a project which investigates the relationships between choice of workplace and telecommuting decisions for his dissertation under the supervision of Professor Khandker Nurul Habib.
Nariman Gooranorimi contributes as a Work Study student with the Tavakoli Archives. Nariman is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, majoring in Human Biology with a double minor in Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations and French Language. Throughout his studies, Nariman has worked as a Research Assistant at the Tavakoli Archives in order to expand on and improve his research skills. Outside of academics, he is a peer mentor at the University of Toronto’s Medical Sciences Student Union, has created and sold numerous profitable businesses, and enjoys volunteering in hospitals during his free time.
Elham Avard is a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project. Elham is currently a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto. Her academic focus examines the use of artificial intelligence for medical image analysis. She received her BA in Physics and MSc in Medical Physics from Shahid Beheshti University, in Tehran, Iran. In her free time, Elham is interested in Iranian cinema and poetry, which encouraged her to collaborate with the Cinema Iranica project as a work-study student.
Emma McDonald is a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project, supporting the growth of the Institute’s digital database of written materials and performing general website maintenance. She is a senior undergraduate student, majoring in anthropology and minoring in digital humanities and cinema. Emma is interested in how cinema is both a functional and reflective expression of social/cultural identities, on both personal and national levels. Emma is interested in exploring how the representation of genre, in particular humor and comedy, is a key component in the unique character of national cinema. In addition to her academic work, Emma is an accomplished mixed media sculpture artist whose work has been featured as part of numerous collaborative projects with local Toronto artists and arts community spaces.
Sara Molaie is a Work Study Student who contributes to the Women Poet project. She is 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 notion of revival in the poems of 19th and 20th-century Iranian women poets. Speak more on what you do at the institute.
Farshad Tajddinisarvestani is a Work Study Student for the Digital Humanities Project. Farshad is currently a PhD student at the University of Toronto, specializing in the fields of mechanical and industrial engineering. His research revolves around the fascinating realm of data-driven modeling, In-Silico experiments, and In-Vivo visualization of cardiovascular flows using cutting-edge techniques such as medical imaging, patient-specific and physics-based simulations, reduced order modelling, and machine learning. In his work on the Digital Humanities Project, Farshad utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to unlock valuable insights and facilitate novel approaches to understanding various aspects of the works of Persian poets.
Tara Yazdanimotlagh contributes as a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project. Currently, Tara is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at the University of Toronto, delving into research that examines the physical-based modelling of solution droplets in solution precursor plasma spray. In addition to her academic pursuits in engineering, Tara has a passion for Iranian cinema, in particular, learning about Iran’s cinema history and developing her knowledge of the field.
Robert McConney is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He holds BA (Hons) in History from the University of Southampton (2016), an MA in Iranian Studies from the University of Tehran (2019), and an MA in Religion from the University of Toronto (2023). Robert has lived on and off for 20 years in various countries of the Middle East, including the UAE, Iran, and Turkey. He has a working proficiency in Persian. His previous research focused on Gilan and the Jangali movement, it has since shifted to the Caribbean practice of Muharram known as Hosay. His current research seeks to connect his experience in the Middle East with his personal background as a British-West Indian of Bajan heritage. He contributes to the Cinema Iranica Project.
Saeid Amirzadeh is a Work Study Student in the Digital Humanities and Cinema Iranica projects. Saeid is also a PhD student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Toronto. His doctoral research centers on creating a Digital-Twin to optimize the continuous casting process in steel industries. Saeid initiated his academic journey at Isfahan University of Technology, delving into Digitized Heat Transfer for electronics cooling, and later earned his master’s degree from the same institution, focusing on Angiogenesis in the retina caused by diabetic rethinopathies, through numerical simulation. His diverse background includes expertise in computational science, data science, and High Performance Computing, allowing him to tackle interdisciplinary challenges with ingenuity and precision.
Natasha Shokri is a Work Study Student contributing to the Archival project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Currently, Natasha is working on her doctoral degree in Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. She earned an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace. In her MA thesis, she scrutinized water as a catalyst for peacemaking in the Middle East. Natasha’s research interests include black feminism; critical media education; the science of happiness and education; peace education; the pedagogy of hope; and refugee education. Natasha has been nominated for and received various awards and distinctions, including recognition as a UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador for her peace building and human rights activities.
Parastu Ahang Mehdawi
Parastu Ahang Mehdawi volunteers with the Tavakoli Archive and the Women Poets Iranica project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Parastu has been a prose poetry writer from a very young age. She published her first book, a memoir, A Quest for Identity from Afghanistan to the World, in June 2022. Currently she is pursuing her education at the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Science in English literature and creative writing. In May 2023, she joined the Institute’s projects at the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She proudly works under Dr. Mohamad Tavakoli’s recommendation and has helped with the Archive, Women Poets Iranica, and Cinema Iranica projects.
Sahar Javadi is a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project. Sahar is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto studying ethics, society, and law and criminology and socio-legal studies. She is an aspiring lawyer and hopes to continue her research in the field of criminology. She looks forward to nurturing her research skills on the complex intersection of imprisonment and the criteria of deterrence, recidivism, and rehabilitation. Sahar is also interested in prison violence and more particularly, gendered violence against women and children in prisons. In addition to academic pursuits, Sahar is a freelance translator who is currently translating a legal dictionary. Sahar has made it her personal mission to translate as many academic sources in her field as possible and make them accessible to students in her home country of Iran. She finds peace grappling with words and their meanings and hopes to leave a practical legacy for her country in this way.
Yasamin Jameh, a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project, is currently a senior undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, majoring in International Relations & Peace, Conflict, and Justice (PCJ) and minoring in Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations. Since the autumn of 2022, Yasamin has been the host, producer, and editor of the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies’ official podcast: Parse: An Exploration of Critical Topics in Iranian Studies. With the generous support of the Institute, Yasamin created Parse in order expand the reach of the Institute’s considerable academic outputs among the public. (Parse is currently available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other streaming platforms). Previously, Yasamin worked for the Multi-Faith Center at the University of Toronto where she founded and co-hosted Subaltern Speaks, a podcast sponsored by Student Life dedicated to exploring the legacies of colonialism on the religion and spiritualties of colonized peoples. As someone of partial Iranian descent, Yasamin has a natural love and admiration for Iranian history and culture, particularly as it relates to the Safavid era and onwards. More broadly, Yasamin’s interests and perspectives are also informed by her Latin American and Dutch Caribbean heritage which have contributed to her fascination with the history of the Americas, Atlantic history, and Early Modern European history.
Faraz Chogan is a Work Study Student who contributes to the Cinema Iranica project and Institute websites. Alongside his academic pursuits, he is also dedicated to curating and updating the website’s collection of books and films from both pre and post-revolutionary eras. With a strong academic background, Faraz holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and a master’s degree earned from the University of Tehran. Notably, he has made significant contributions to the field of burn-wound healing, with several published papers in this area. Currently pursuing a PhD at the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Faraz continues to excel in his research, specializing in harnessing the potential of stem cells and 3D bioprinting technology to develop cutting-edge skin substitutes. With his unwavering dedication to medical research and innovative solutions, Faraz aims to make a meaningful impact on regenerative medicine and offer hope to burn victims worldwide.
Viana Sadeghi is a Work Study Student contributing to the Women Poets Iranica project. Viana is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree and majoring in Philosophy of Science and Environmental Studies. Alongside her academic pursuits, Viana actively contributes to the Iranian Women Poets Iranica project, utilizing her skills and knowledge to shed light on the rich literary heritage of Iranian women. Furthermore, Viana is committed to human rights and social justice causes, and is a member of Amnesty International. Her academic interests encompass a wide range of topics, including the intersection of history and philosophy, issues surrounding poverty and underrepresented groups, and the dynamics of care and violence within kinships, among others. Her enthusiasm for these subjects is evident in her course selection, as she seeks to delve deeper into these themes and gain a comprehensive understanding of their complexities.
Sogand Karami is a Work Study Student contributing to the Tavakoli Archives team as an Archive Assistant for the Archive project and as a researcher for the Cinema Project. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the Centre of Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Sogand obtained her bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Literature from Azad University of Tehran, where she not only excelled academically but also actively participated in a wide range of creative pursuits. Throughout her studies, Sogand nurtured her skills in writing short stories, directing, and acting in numerous student projects.Sogand’s research interests are concerned with the intersection of social issues and dramatic art, exploring the social and political dimensions of the body in performance and dramatic texts. Through her research, Sogand aims to shed light on the transformative power of theatre and its potential to inspire meaningful societal change
Eszter Melitta Szabo
Eszter Melitta Szabo dedicates her efforts as a Work Study Student and Research Assistant for the Women Poets Iranica project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. Currently, Eszter is a Master’s student in Near & Middle Eastern Civilisations at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Professor Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi. With extensive training in philology, she holds a BA in Indian Studies with a minor in Iranian Studies, specializing in the exploration of classical and modern languages and literature from both regions. Her academic pursuits revolve around the broader fields of 20th century women’s literature, gender studies, and anthropology, where she passionately explores their intricate intersections within the cultural tapestries of Iran and India.
Zahra Kazemi, a Work-Study student, is involved in the Cinema Iranica project. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), having completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. In addition to her engineering background, Zahra has a passion for Iranian history, art, poetry, and cinema. This passion led her to become a work study researcher in Professor Virani’s “Dream Team” at the University of Toronto, where she contributed to illuminating the profound beauty and significance of Persian poetry. As part of her work study in Professor Virani’s team, Zahra’s role involved translating Persian poems from various poets like Attar Neyshabouri, Nizari, etc., into English. Currently, Zahra has embarked on a new journey as a member of Professor Tavakoli’s Cinema Iranica team. Her objective is to provide a fresh and unique perspective to the exploration of Iranian cinema, emphasizing its cultural and artistic significance. She actively participates in gathering information about different Iranian movies, writers, or directors from available literature, and creating an archive dedicated to them.
Fahimeh Fazel contributes to the Cinema Iranica project as a Work Study Student. Fahimeh is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Professor Jorg Liebeherr on distributed machine learning in communication networks and is a Student Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Fahimeh previously earned a BSc in electrical engineering from the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran in 2016 and received an MSc in communication systems engineering from the University of Tehran in 2019. Her research interests span several areas, including wireless communication, cache-enabled UAV networks, visible light communication, and coding theory and their applications in visible light communications.
Rahimah Baluch is a Work Study Student contributing to the Women Poets Iranica project. Rahimah is also an undergraduate student studying human biology at the University of Toronto. In her role as a research assistant for the Women Poets Iranica project, she is currently supporting the research and related work on a special journal issue and gaining new insights into Iranian poetry. Her interests outside of her position and academic pursuits include literature, illustration, and writing.
Parvin Malekzadeh is a Work Study Student with the Cinema Iranica project. As part of her responsibilities, she conducts research to collect information, articles, and website resources related to Iranian movies. Currently, Parvin is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Toronto. She received her BSc in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Iran in 2018, and her MSc in Electrical Engineering from Concordia University, Montreal in 2020. Parvin’s research interests lie in the areas of signal processing, machine learning, reinforcement learning, and the Internet of Things.
Samira Ghanbarnejad contributes as a Work Study Student for the Women Poets Iranica project. She is a master’s student at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto, pursuing her research interest in the syntax of Iranian languages. Currently, she is working on ergativity in Middle Persian. She completed her first master’s degree in ancient Iranian languages and cultures in Iran. For her first master’s thesis, she conducted research on the discourse analysis of Gathic Avestan. She also has a BA in Music and is a Kanun player.
Hanie Rezaei volunteers with the Cinema Iranica Project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. She is a passionate graduate student in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on developing innovative solutions for electric vehicle battery cooling in order to contribute to the sustainable future of transportation. Hanie earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran. Beyond her engineering pursuits, Hanie possesses a deep appreciation for various art forms, including cinema and poetry. Motivated by her passion for the arts and a desire to explore the cultural richness of her homeland, Hanie recently joined the Cinema Iranica project team. Hanie aims to contribute a fresh and unique perspective to the project, shedding light on the cultural and artistic significance of Iranian cinema. With her diverse background and interdisciplinary interests, Hanie is committed to bridging the gap between engineering and the humanities. She aspires to make meaningful contributions not only to her research but also to the broader understanding and appreciation of Iranian cinema, ultimately fostering a deeper connection between technology and the arts.
Hibah Mehvish is a Work Study Student with the Tavakoli Archives. Hibah is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto where she is pursuing an Honors Bachelor of Science with a double major in neuroscience and molecular biology and immunology. She works at the archive cataloguing materials in Urdu, Hindi, and Arabic. She has an unwavering aspiration for medicine and research. Beyond her academic pursuits, Hibah’s fervent interests span a wide spectrum, including her love for languages, appreciation of diverse cultures, and commitment to justice. In her free time, she channels her passion by translating legal documents into Urdu and Hindi, aiming to enhance accessibility to justice within her community through SACA2JA justice association.
Sepideh Najmzadeh is a Work Study Student and Research Assistant contributing to various research projects with the Tavakoli Archive. Sepideh is a PhD candidate in the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She completed her first master’s degree in Ancient Iranian Culture and Languages, including studies in Avestan, Old Persian, and Middle Persian at the University of Tehran, Iran. She later pursued and obtained a second master’s degree from the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. Sepideh’s dissertation research, under the supervision of Professor Enrico Raffaelli, centers around the analysis of the New Persian Zoroastrian manuscripts of Vaṣf-e Amšāsfandān (The Description of Bounteous Immortals).
Arash Zargar is a Work Study Student in the Digital Humanities and Cinema Iranica projects. Arash is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Toronto where his research focuses on the development of innovative numerical models for the study of human lung tissue diseases. Arash began his academic career studying aerospace engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, and subsequently acquired his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta. Arash served as the Editor-in-Chief for Peik Scientific Magazine where he managed a team of over thirty individuals and ensured the production of significant scientific content. He was also an executive member of the Iranian Students’ Association at University of Alberta, earning several accolades from the university. Complementing his academic and professional pursuits, over the past decade he has been mastering the Setar, a classic Iranian musical instrument.
Farshad Dabbaghi volunteers with the Cinema Iranica project at the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies. He is a PhD student in Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto, specializing in the durability and long-term properties of reinforced concrete structures. His research has been published in sixteen research journal papers as well as two books in the field of civil engineering: Construction Materials and Principles of Applied Earthquake Engineering. His research aims to enhance the performance and durability of reinforced concrete structures, contributing to the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions.
FahimehGhorbani is a Work Study Student contributing to Tavakoli Archives. Fahimeh is currently a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Art History at University of Toronto. She has previous Master’s degrees in Art History and Islamic Art respectively from University of Victoria, and Art University of Tehran. Her field of specialization is Islamic art and architecture, with a greater focus on the Persianate world. Her PhD thesis examines the correlation between the tradition of futuwwa (an ethics-based culture, based on qualities such as bravery, generosity, and honesty) and material culture and architecture of the Persianate world during the medieval and early modern period. She has held several research and curatorial fellowships at world-class research institutes and museums in Iran, Canada, and United States, including Malek National Museum and Library, Institute for Religious Studies at University of Victoria, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Islamic Art & Material Culture Collaborative (IAMCC) at University of Toronto. Fahimeh contributes to the Institute through researching and cataloguing rare lithographs.
Samiramis Khazaei is a Work Study Student with the Tavakoli Archives. Samiramis is currently pursuing a master’s degree in industrial engineering with emphasis on analytics and finance at the University of Toronto. She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iran and a master’s degree in construction management from Australia. In addition to her engineering studies, Samiramis has a deep passion for literature, culture, and history, which has led her to contribute her skills and knowledge as an Archive Assistant at the Tavakoli Archive.
Vasu Vijay Singh
Vasu Vijay Singh contributes as a Work Study Student with the Tavakoli Archives. Vasu is also currently a graduate student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a Masters of Chemical Engineering with an emphasis on sustainable energy and advanced manufacturing. Apart from academics, Vasu has an interest in history and folk music. Vasu works in the archive cataloguing Hindi and Sanskrit books and also helps out in the social media team at times.