Persian Graduate

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Safoura Nourbakhsh 
Roshan Institute Fellow for Excellence in Persian Studies 

Safoura Nourbakhsh was born and raised in Iran, Tehran. After receiving her BA and MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University, she returned to Iran in 1992 and taught English literature courses at Allameh University from 1997-2003. Her interest in feminist theory and women’s right also prompted her involvement with Zanan magazine as a writer and an occasional consultant. Her Persian translation of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of It’s Own (2004, Niloofar Publishing) is the first published translation of the book.Safoura started her PhD degree in women’s studies at University of Maryland in the Fall of 2005. While working on her PhD she also became the managing editor of Sufi (a biannual journal of mystical   philosophy and practice). Later she helped plan design, and execute Zannegaar (an online journal of women’s studies) and acted as it’s project manager and editor for the first four issues. Safoura taught “Iranian women writers in Translation” at the University of Maryland. Safoura is the recipient of the first Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies. Safoura is currently working on her dissertation “Gender and Sexuality in Persian expressions of Sufism.” The following chapters of her dissertation are in progress: an ethnography of women in the Nimatullahi Sufi order, Women in the Persian biographies of Sufi Saints (from Hujwiri to Attar), women as representations of ego (nafs) and male desire in Sufi literature (Rumi and Attar), the gender of love in Sufi literature (Ghazali).

Sara Haq

Born in Pakistan and raised in the United States, Sara received her MAIS in Women and Gender Studies with a focus in Sufism from George Mason University in 2012. Her master’s thesis – “Beyond Binary Barzakhs: Using the Theme of Liminality in Islamic Thought to Question the Gender Binary” – reflects on the works of Ibn Arabi, Rumi, and Bulleh Shah, presenting a fresh perspective on the experiences of those who identify as hijras or “third genders” in South Asia. Sara is currently a doctoral student at the University of Maryland’s Women’s Studies PhD program, continuing her focus on Sufism which explains her connection to Persian Studies and her interest in learning the language. She has years of professional experience working for international NGOs including United Nations platform committees. 

Niloo Sarabi 
Niloo Sarabi completed her primary education in Iran and France, and later studied English literature & translation at the Free University in Tehran. She received her MA (English & Comparative Literature) and MFA (Creative Writing) from Chapman University. She was the recipient of the Terri Brint Joseph Award for outstanding MFA scholar in 2010, and served as editor for elephant tree magazine. Her literary works have appeared in the Second Voice Anthology, The Southeast Review, w i g l e a f, Iranian, and elephant tree, and her articles and editorials have been published in ABILITY, OH, and Bariatrics Today magazines. She served as magazine editor and media liaison with OH publications between 2003 and 2011, and she has volunteered in California jails as a certified literacy tutor with the WIN program. She has taught English composition & rhetoric at Chapman University, and she icompleted her PhD in Comparative Literature, focusing on contemporary Persian and English women’s literature, art, and cinema, at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Sahar Allamezade-Jones 
Sahar Allamezade-Jones completed her PhD in the Comparative Literature Department at the University of Maryland with a concentration on issues of gender and sexuality in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries in Victorian and Persian literary traditions. Sahar earned her bachelor’s degree in English Translation Training from Shiraz Azad University. In 2000, she left Iran and earned a Master’s Degree in Victorian Literature at the University of Buckingham. In 2006, Sahar began her academic career as a PhD student at the newly established Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at UMD under the tutelage of Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak. Sahar has participated and presented at various national and international academic conferences. She has taught at both graduate and undergraduate levels at UMD, Persian Flagship Program, and UVA. She is also working as content provider with the newly launched online journal Zannegar, which focuses on women’s issues. 

Abbas Jamshidi 

Abbas Jamshidi was born and raised in Shiraz, Iran. He has a Master’s Degree from Shiraz University in English Language and Literature and has taught English literature at Azad University. As a doctoral student at the University of Maryland’s Comparative Literature Program he has benefited from Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak’s expertise in modern Persian literature and icompleted his PhD dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Karimi-Hakkak and Dr. Brian Richardson (English Department). In his dissertation he examines anti-Arab representation in Persian (with a focus on Sadeq Hedayat) and English literature (with a focus on Salman Rushdie). He focuses on the genealogy of anti-Arab representation in these literatures; racialization of Arabs as distinct from and inferior to the Persians/Indians/British; and how novel forms of representation continue to be crafted in the two literary traditions to demean and denigrate the Arabs. In a recent year-long trip to India, he explored the role of India, specifically its local Parsi (Zoroastrian) community, in the production of anti-Arab discourse over time.