Persian Faculty and Staff

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Fatemeh Keshavarz
Director, Roshan Institute for Persian Studies
Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies
Tel: 301-405-2735
Office: 1220C Jiménez Hall

Fatemeh Keshavarz, born and raised in the city of Shiraz, completed her studies in Shiraz University, and University of London. She taught at Washington University in St. Louis for over twenty years where she chaired the Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011. In 2012, Keshavarz joined the University of Maryland as Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies, and Director of Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Keshavarz is author of award winning books including Reading Mystical Lyric: the Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (USC Press,1998), Recite in the Name of the Red Rose (USC Press, 2006) and a book of literary analysis and social commentary titled Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran (UNC 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 UN General Assembly on the significance of cultural education. Her NPR show “The ecstatic faith of Rumi” brought her the Peabody Award in 2008. In the same year, she received the “Herschel Walker Peace and Justice Award.


Ahmet T. Karamustafa
Associate Director for Academic Affairs, Roshan Institute for Persian Studies
Tel: 301 -405- 4295
Office: 2101P Francis Scott Key Hall

Ahmet T. Karamustafa is Professor of History at the University of Maryland, and the Associate Director for Academic Affairs at Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. His expertise is in social and intellectual history of medieval and early modern Islam in the Middle East and Southwest Asia as well as in theory and method in the study of religion. His monographs include God’s Unruly Friends (Univ. of Utah Press, 1994) a book on ascetic movements in medieval Islam and Sufism: The Formative Period a comprehensive historical overview of early Islamic mysticism published simultaneously by Edinburgh Univ. Press & Univ. of California Press, 2007. He served as an editor for, and wrote several articles in, Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1992). His current book projects include The Flowering of Sufism as well as Vernacular Islam: Everyday Religious Life in Medieval TurkeyProfessor Karamustafa has held several administrative positions including the directorship of the Religious Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He was the co-chair of the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion, 2008 -2011.


Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
Professor Emeritus of Persian Language, Literature, and Culture

For 19 years Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak was professor of Persian language and literature and Iranian culture and civilization at the University of Washington. He has studied in Iran and the United States, receiving his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Rutgers University in 1979, and has taught English and comparative literature and translation studies, as well as classical and modern Persian literature at the University of Tehran, Rutgers University, Columbia University, and the University of Texas. Professor Karimi-Hakkak is the author of 19 books and over 100 major scholarly articles. He has contributed articles on Iran and Persian literature to many reference works, including The Encyclopedia Britannica, The Encyclopaedia Iranica, and The Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. His works have been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Japanese, and Persian. He has won numerous awards and honors, and has served as president of the International Society for Iranian Studies and several other professional academic organizations. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak retired from UMD 2018.


Nahal Akbari
Director, Persian Language Program
Tel: 301-405-9910
Office: 3112 H. J. Patterson Hall

Dr. Nahal Akbari is the director of the Persian language program, including its Flagship component. Since 1996, she has taught ESL, ESP, academic writing courses, and Persian as an additional language. Her research interests include intercultural rhetoric, academic literacy, second language writing, and teacher education.






Ali Reza Abasi   علیرضا عباسی
Associate Professor of Persian
Persian Studies Undergraduate Advisor
Associate Director of the University of Maryland Persian Flagship Program
Office: 3112 H. J. Patterson Hall
Tel: 301-405-2375
Research interests:
 - Second Language Writing 
 - Language and Power
 - Conversation Analysis




Matthew Thomas Miller
Assistant Professor of Persian Literature and Digital Humanities
Office: 1220 D Jiménez Hall

Matthew Thomas Miller, PhD. is Assistant Professor of Persian Literature and Digital Humanities at Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and an affiliate of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities (PersDig@UMD) and as the co-PI for the multi-institutional Open Islamicate Texts Initiative (OpenITI) (including serving as PI of the Mellon Foundation-funded Open Islamicate Texts Initiative Arabic-script OCR Catalyst Project) and the Persian Manuscript Initiative (PMI). His research focuses on medieval Sufi literature, the history of sexuality and the body, and digital humanities. He currently is working on a book project, entitled Embodying the Beloved: Embodiment and Mystical Modes of Meaning Creation in Medieval Persian Sufi Literature, and a number of articles on computational or “distant reading” approaches to Persian literature and carnivalesque Sufi poetry.


Mansoor Moaddel (Affiliated Faculty)
Professor of Sociology and START Faculty Member
Tel: (301) 405-5687
Office: 4139 Art/Sociology Building

Dr. Moaddel studies culture, ideology, political conflict, revolution and social change. His work currently focuses on the causes and consequences of values and attitudes of the Middle Eastern publics. He has carried out values surveys in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. He has also carried out youth surveys in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. His previous research project analyzed the determinants of ideological production in the Islamic world, in which he studied the rise of Islamic modernism in Egypt, India, and Iran in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; liberal nationalism in Egypt, anti-clerical secularism in Iran, liberal Arabism and Pan-Arab nationalism in Syria and Iraq in the first half of twentieth century; and Islamic fundamentalism in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Syria in the second half of the twentieth century. His fields of research and teaching interests are values survey, sociology of ideology, sociology of religion, political conflict and revolution, terrorism and political violence, and Islam and the Middle East. He has also taught statistics and research methods. He has recently completed a cross-national comparative survey project in seven Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. He is currently planning to launch a panel study of the dynamics of changes in values and political engagement in Tunisia. For more information, see


Mohammad Navid Bazargan

Visiting Assistant Professor 
Tel: 301-405- 2735
Office: 1220 A Jiménez Hall

Dr. Mohammad Navid Bazargan has been teaching as an Assistant professor of Persian studies since 2015. In 2013 Dr. Bazargan was a visiting Scholar of California State University of Northridge where he was a part of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program. Prior to that Dr. Bazargan was granted a Research Fellowship at Harvard University for the academic year 2003-2004. Dr. Bazargan has been teaching as an Assistant Professor of Persian Literature at Azad University for more than ten years before coming to the United States. His is also a member of the academic board of the Great Encyclopedia of Islam since 2004. He has contributed entries for Encyclopedia of Persian Language and Literature and was the senior editor of the Journal of Culture and Literature in Azad University.






Marjan Moosavi


Dr. Moosavi holds a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies where she trained in the theory and craft of theatre-making, dramaturgy, and diasporic performances. She has served as a faculty member and designed curricula for the University of Toronto, York University (Canada), Portland State University (U.S.A), and Parand Azad University (Iran). She is the author of several scholarly articles, book chapters, and interviews published in The Drama Review (TDR)New Theatre QuarterlyAsian Theatre Journal, Ecumenica) and online journals (Critical Stages, Arab Stages, and TheTheatreTimes). She is the Founder and Principal Investigator of the First Digital Guide to Theater of the Middle East.