I am a literary and cultural critic and historian, with a special focus on Persian literature and the Iranian culture and cinema, within my broader interests in comparative and world literature. Originally from the city of Kermanshah, Iran, I received my B.A. in English Language and Literature and M.A in English Literature from Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran. I then obtained my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta. Before joining the Department of Asian Studies at UBC in 2018, I was an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto (2017-2018). Alongside my education, I have had the opportunity to teach at several universities in Canada and Iran. My articles have appeared/are forthcoming in Asian Cinema; The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research; Social Semiotics; de genere: Journal of Literary, Postcolonial and Gender Studies; Iran Nameh: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies; Literary Criticism (Tehran); Mahoor Music Quarterly (Tehran); and elsewhere. In addition to other research projects, I am currently completing a monograph tentatively titled Satiric Modernity: Humor, Affect, and Nationalism in Iran. It explores the role of humor as a signifier for affect within the discourses of Iranian modernity and nationalism. In part a history of emotions, this project focuses on the intersections of humor—and a range of related emotions including embarrassment, shame, and humiliation—with gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity in modern Iranian history, literature, and culture. I have been serving as an Associate Editor at the Persian Literary Studies Journal since 2016.

Selected Publications

Editing

2018                (special issue) “Iranian Masculinities.” Co-editor: Sahar Allamezade. Iran Namag: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies 3.1 (Spring 2018)

2018                “Preface to the Special Issue: Iranian Masculinities.” Iran Namag: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies 3.1 (Spring 2018): IV–XXIV. Co-authored with Sahar Allamezade-Jones.

 

Refereed Journal Articles

2019                (forthcoming) “Asghar Farhadi’s Nuanced Feminism: Gender and Marriage in Farhadi’s Films from Dancing in the Dust to A Separation.” Asian Cinema.

2018                “Persian ‘Rashti Jokes’: Modern Iran’s Palimpsests of Gheyrat-Based Masculinity.” The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.

2017                “Reply to Davies.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 30.2: 247–253.

2016                “Of Masculinities, Men, and Mockery in the ‘Get a Mac’ Campaign: Gendered Ridicule as a Rhetorical Tool.” de genere: Journal of Literary, Postcolonial, and Gender Studies. Special issue: Humosexually Speaking: Laughter and the Intersections of Gender. 1.2: 11-25.

2016                “Structural Functions of the Targeted Joke: Iranian Modernity and the Qazvini Man as Predatory Homosexual.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 29.3: 337–357.

2016                “Ridicule, Gender Hegemony, and the Disciplinary Function of Mainstream Gender Humor.” Social Semiotics. Special issue: Gender and Humor: Examining Discourses of Hegemony and Resistance. 26.3: 234-249.

2015                (in Persian) “Maʿāyib al-Rijāl va Żarūrat-i Mardānigī-Pazhūhī dar Muṭaliʿāt-i Zanān-i Iran [The Vices of Men and the Necessity of Studying Men and Masculinities in Iranian Women’s Studies].” Iran Nameh: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies. Special issue: Iranian Women’s Studies. 30.3: 230-282.

2013                (in Persian) “Sīyāsat-i Jinsīyatī-i ʿĀrif Nāmih [The Gender Politics of Iraj Mirza’s “ʿĀrif Nāmih”].” Iran Nameh 28.3: 200-215.

2013                (in Persian) “Mardānigī-yi Hizhimunīk va Dāgh-i Jismīyathā-yi Nākām: Jinsīyat va Nāhanjārmandī-i Jismī dar ‘Ābjī Khānum’ va ‘Dāvūd Gūzhpusht’ [Hegemonic Masculinity and the Stigma of Failed Embodiments: Gender and Bodily Non-Normativity in Sadeq Hedayat’s ‘Ābjī Khānum’ and ‘Dāvūd the Hunchback’].” Iran Nameh 28.1: 20-39.

2010                (in Persian) “Nīhīlism dar Rubaʿīhā-yi Khayyāmī [Nihilism in Khayyamic Rubais].” Naqd-e Adabi [Literary Criticism] 3.10: 143-174.

2008                (in Persian) “Taʾammulātī bar Āshnāʾī-Zudāʾī dar Mūsīqī-i Mohsen Namjoo [Reflections on Defamiliarization in Mohsen Namjoo’s Music].” Mahoor Music Quarterly 10.39 (2008): 191-209.

 

Book Chapters

2015                “Graphic Memories: Dialogues with Self and Other in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Persepolis 2.” Familiar and Foreign: Identity in Iranian Film and Literature. Ed. Manijeh Mannani and Veronica Thompson. Edmonton: Athabasca UP, 2015: 83-109.

2013                (in Persian) “Hizhimunī-yi Jinsīyatī va Nākhushāyandīhā-yi Ān: Mardānigī-i Abtar va Nafy-i Sunnat dar Sangī bar Gūrī [Gender Hegemony and Its Discontents: ‘Dock-Tailed’ Masculinity and the Disavowal of Tradition in Al-e Ahmad’s Illness Memoir A Stone on a Grave].” Jalal Al-e Ahmad and Ebrahim Golestan: Essays in Semiotics and Literary Criticism. Ed. Leila Sadeghi Esfahani. Tehran: Sokhan Publications, 1392/2013: 335-390.

 

Encyclopedia Entries

2019                (forthcoming) “Transgendered Subjectivities in Contemporary Iran.” Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History. Ed. Howard Chiang (editor-in-chief) et al. New York: Macmillan Reference.

 

Book Reviews

2015                Rev. of Gender and Humor: Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives, edited by Delia Chiaro and Raffaella Baccolini. The European Journal of Humor Research 3.4: 92-95.

2014                Rev. of Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures, by Elisabeth El Refaie. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 5.4: 477-479.

2014                Rev. of The Education of Men & The Vices of Women: Two Qajar Tracts, trans. by Hasan Javadi and Willem Floor. Iranian Studies 47.2: 355-360.

2013                Rev. of Studying Men and Masculinities, by David Buchbinder. The Journal of Men’s Studies 21.3: 323-25.

2013                Rev. of The Rhetoric of Racist Humor: US, UK, and Global Race Joking, by Simon Weaver. Cultural Sociology 7.3: 389-391.

2013                Rev. of Jokes and Targets, by Christie Davies. New Directions in Folklore 11.1: 57-61.

2012                Rev. of Laughter and Ridicule: Towards a Social Critique of Humor, by Michael Billig. Inquire: Journal of Comparative Literature 2.1. Web.

 

Select Translations

Books

2007                An Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism by Charles E. Bressler. 1st ed. Series Editor: Hossein Payandeh. Tehran: Nilufar Publications, 2006.

2001                Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Tehran: Kelidar, 2001.

 

Articles/Encyclopedia Entries

forthcoming         “Foucault and Iran” by Daniel Defert. Iran Namag: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies 3.2 (Summer 2018).

2017                “Divorce Seen through Women’s Cinematic Lens” by Nasrin Rahimieh. Iran Namag: A Quarterly of Iranian Studies 2.3: 71-95.

2015                “Humor” by Ulrich Marzolph. In the Persian version of Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. Tehran: Hekmat, vol. 3, 564-65.

 

Research Interests

  • Persian and Iranian literatures
  • Iranian diasporic literature and cinema
  • Iranian modernity
  • (Global South) Critical and literary theory; critical diversity studies (mainly gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and disability); critical studies of men and masculinities
  • Folk and popular culture; humor, satire, and ridicule (the social and political aspects)
  • History of emotions
  • Comparative literature; world literature
  • Cultural historiography
  • Islamic studies; the Qur’an as literature

Work in Progress

I am currently involved in three projects, each in a different stage. My main project is a research monograph, tentatively titled Satiric Modernity: Humor, Affect, and Nationalism in Iran. In part a history of emotions in modern Iran, this project explores the intersections of humor—and a range of related emotions, including embarrassment, shame, and humiliation—with gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity in modern Iranian history, literature, and culture. Arguing for the occurrence of an epistemic shift in classical Persian literature during the mid-19th century, the volume will combine archival research into 19th- and early 20th-century Persian periodicals with fresh critical analyses of elite and folk literature on one hand and extant historiographical accounts of Iranian modernity with theories of humor on the other, to render a novel understanding of the genesis, development, and sociopolitical functions of some prominent forms of modern Persian humor in Iran. While previous studies of this humor insinuate and often celebrate its liberal and subversive aspects, this book will demonstrate how Iranian modernity was informed by, and helped form, humor modes and types that posit and systematically underscore the othering of gendered, sexual, ethnic, and racialized beings.

My second project, gradually developing, is another research monograph, tentatively titled Men, Boys, and Manhood in Modern Iranian Literature, Culture, and Film. This project examines the representations, constructions, and contestations of hegemonic and marginalized forms of masculinity in modern Persian fiction, popular culture, and Iranian film productions since the late Qajar dynasty. In this monograph, I am especially interested in revealing the costs of patriarchy for men and boys, foregrounding the ways they can help bring about gender equality. I argue that despite differing state policies, certain long-standing and hegemonic patterns of masculinity have persisted in Iranian culture and society, which tend to create impediments to meaningful progress towards gender democracy. As a remedy, and through close readings of pertinent fictional and autobiographical narratives, I show how certain underrepresented forms of masculinity can offer models and possibilities for redress. I have keenly attempted to introduce critical studies of men and masculinities into Iranian gender studies over the past years. Recently, I co-edited a special issue of Iran Namag on the same topic. Alongside other scholars, many of the contributors to the special issue will be presenting their research in a four-panel seminar I have convened on the same theme at the forthcoming Association for Iranian Studies conference (University of California, Irvine, 14-17 Aug. 2018). A pertinent project, tentatively titled Iranian Men and Masculinities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, will be an edited volume based on the special issue and the seminar contributions. The contributors represent a diverse group of specialists in Iranian studies. Therefore, their essays will showcase a variety of topics and texts and are written from various interdisciplinary approaches, including gender and sexuality studies, literary studies, cultural studies, visual and film studies, cultural sociology, and Islamic studies.

The third project I am presently working on is a volume of essays, titled Persianate Literature as World Literature, which I am co-editing with Amirhossein Vafa of Shiraz University, Iran. Confronting nationalistic frameworks in Persian literary studies, this project strongly promotes research that foregrounds the interdependencies, interrelations, connections, and flows expanding Persian literature beyond its mere locality and showcases its possible connections to and influence on other local and translocal narratives. The essays will regard Persian literary texts and authors in their “worldly” dimensions, situating them within—and, ideally, contributing to—ongoing critical debates on world literature. Some of the themes and topics the authors will explore in this volume include the connections between Persianate literary productions and those of the rest of the world; comparative studies of Persianate literature within a world literary framework; and a rereading of Persianate literature with respect to globalization, transnationalism, and world citizenry.

Winter 2018

ASIA360A A Specific Asian Literature in Translation - SP ASIAN LIT TRN Sections

Introduction to the literature of a linguistic area of Asia not covered in existing courses. Not given every year. Consult the Department for details. May be taken multiple times on different subjects for credit.

Winter 2018

ASIA394 Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema Sections

Gender politics, family relationships, and women's social, economic, and political roles in post-revolutionary Iran as shown through Iranian cinema.

Winter 2018

ASIA392 Classical Persian Literature in English Translation Sections

Works of classical Persian literature dating from the tenth to the seventeenth century (in English translation).

Winter 2018

ASIA460 Modern Asian Women in Narrative Sections

Experience of women in the context of a particular Asian culture, as seen through literature, popular culture, film and folklore. Narrative as a medium for the representation and constitution of gender.

Panels/Symposia Organized

2018                “Humor and the Making of Middle Eastern and North African Modernities.”

American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). Co-organizer: Nasrin Rahimieh. University of California, Los Angeles. ­Mar 29-Apr 1.

2018                “Critical Perspectives on Iranian Men and Masculinities.” Co-organizers: Sahar Allamezade. Association for Iranian Studies (AIS). University of California, Irvine. Aug 14-17.

2017                “Persianate Humor.” Co-organizer: Mahmud Farjami. 29th International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS) Conference. Montreal, QC, 10-14 July.

 

Papers Presented

2018                (forthcoming) “Mockery and the Moulding of Modern Masculinities and Femininities: Gendered Satire in Late Qajar and Early Pahlavi Iran.” 11th ASMEA Annual Conference (Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa), November 1-3, 2018, Washington, D.C.

2018                (forthcoming) “Satiric Modernity: Iranians’ Self-Conscious Affects and the Birth of Modern Persian Comedy ca. 1871-1908.” MESA ’18 (Middle East Studies Association), November 15-18, 2018. San Antonio, Texas.

2018                (forthcoming) “Rashti Jokes and Their Relation to Modern Iranian Men and Masculinities.”

Association for Iranian Studies’ (AIS) Conference. UC, Irvine. Aug. 14-17, 2018.

2018                “Shaming the Nation into Modernization: Europe-Obsessed Satire in the Wake of Iranian Constitutional Revolution.” American Comparative Literature Association’s (ACLA) Conference. UCLA. Mar 29-April 1, 2018.

2017                “Persian Rashti Jokes: Modern Iran’s Palimpsests of Gheyrat-Based Masculinity.”

International Society for Humor Studies’ (ISHS) Conference. Montreal, QC. July 10-14.

2016                “Hegemonic Masculinity and the Policing of Heterosexuality: Gender and Transgender in Two Iranian Films—Be Like Others and Facing Mirrors.” Middle East Studies Association’s (MESA) Conference. Boston, MA. Nov. 17-20.

2016                “Unmasked and Re-Masked Masculinities: Men’s Disability Memoirs as a Site of Sexual Politics.” American Men’s Studies Association’s (AMSA) Conference. Ann Arbor, MI. Mar 31-Apr 3. Accepted.

2016                 “Ridicule in the Qur’an: The Missing Link in Islamic Humor Studies.” ACLA.  Harvard University. March 17-20.

2015                “Humor and Gender Hegemony: The Panoptical Role of Ridicule vis-à-vis Gender.” International Conference on Masculinities: Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality. New York, NY. March 5-8.

2013                “Ridicule and Gender Hegemony: Mainstream Gender Humor and its Relation to Gender Order.” Western University’s 15th Annual Graduate Student Conference. “Good Laugh, Bad Laugh, Ugly Laugh, My Laugh.” March 1-3.

2012                “Disciplinary Functions of Rebellious Humor: Ubeyd Zakani’s Phallocentric Satire and its Contemporary Relevance.” 2nd University of Alberta-Peking University Comparative Literature Colloquium. University of Alberta. April 27-28.

2012                “Outlines of a Social Theory of Gender Humor and Gender Order.” Snickering Scholars: Humor and the Humanities, York University. Mar. 16-17.

2012                “Dealing with Failed Masculinity in Ken Baker’s Man Made: A Memoir of My Body and Al Davison’s The Spiral Cage.” 6th Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Conference. University of Alberta. Mar. 9-10.

2011                “Disability, Masculinity, and the Gender Hierarchy in Select Autosomatographies from World Literature.” ACLA. Vancouver, BC. Mar. 31- Apr. 3.

2011                “Reflections on Formal and Stylistic Aspects of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis Series.” 5th Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Conference. University of Alberta. Mar. 4-5.

2010                “Satrapi’s Revolutionary ‘Autobiographics’ and its Treatment of the Problems of Memory and Historical Representation.” Contemporary Women Writers’ Conference. San Diego, CA. July 7-10.

2010                “On the Issue of Self and Other in Satrapi’s Persepolis Series” 4th Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Conference. University of Alberta. Mar. 12-13.

2009                “Art as Device in Anti-War Narratives: A Reading of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.” 3rd Annual Comparative Literature Graduate Conference. University of Alberta, Mar. 13-14.

2009                “Existential Nihilism in Khayyámic Rubáis.” Middle Eastern and African Studies (MEAS) Program Student Conference. University of Alberta. Jan. 30-31.

 

Campus/Departmental Talks

2017                “Gendered Insights of Disabled Masculinities: A Comparison of Al Davison’s The Spiral Cage and Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s A Stone on a Grave.” Iranian Studies Seminar Series. Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. Sept. 29.

2012                “Gender Hegemony and Its Discontents: ‘Truncated’ Masculinity and the Disavowal of Tradition in Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s Infertility Memoir A Stone on a Grave.” CompLit Graduate Student Lecture Series. University of Alberta. Dec. 3.

2011                “Reproducing Gender Hierarchy through Legitimating Hegemonic Masculinity: Hidden Sexual Politics in ‘Obeyd Zakani’s Satirical Works.” CompLit Graduate Student Lecture Series. University of Alberta. Feb. 9.

2008                “Mohsen Namjoo’s Music: A Russian Formalist Reading.” CompLit Graduate Student Lecture Series, University of Alberta. Nov. 3.