I hold a PhD in Iranian Studies from UCLA. My research focuses on narratives of power and holiness in medieval Islamic Iran. I am primarily interested in themes related to kingship, sainthood, social identity building, the supernatural. My interest in these narratives partly arises from their fascinating itineraries, which have taken them from the eastern Iranian heartlands in antiquity down to the pre-modern era and from the Balkans to Malaysia. I am currently working on a book project, which has the working title “God’s Kings: The Medieval Reception of Ancient Narratives of Kingship.” And I am also editing two volumes dealing with hagiographies across Eurasia. One, which has the working title, Imitatio Theclae, is on the literary reception of the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the other looks at how various hagiographers across the Indo-Mediterranean world narrated power and authority.
I am recipient of the following grants and awards: 2015, European Research Council fellow at Ghent University in Belgium; 2011, Fulbright Research Fellowship, Cairo, Egypt; and 2008, Honorable Mention for the Best Dissertation from the Foundation for Iranian Studies.
From 2008-2014, I was the coordinator of the Persian Studies Program at Columbia University where, in addition to teaching and mentoring students, I organized a successful lecture series which included talks by established and up-and-coming scholars, artists, film makers, and musicians. From 2006-2008, I was the director for the Persian Studies Program at California State, Fullerton which included a summer study-abroad semester in Yerevan, Armenia.
I have been a long-time member of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies
(ASPS) which is committed to bringing scholars from around the world interested in all fields related to Iran and the Persianate worlds, past and present. I served as its newsletter editor, secretary of the association, and member of the board of directors.
Articles and Book Chapters
“Modelling Prophets: Alexander the Great as a proto-Sufi Saint/King in Tha‘labi’s Lives of the Prophets. In Fictionality in Late Antiquity. Edited by Koen De Temmerman, Julie Van Pelt, and Klazina Staat.
2021. “A Medieval Sufi Thecla? Female Civic and Spiritual Leadership in ‘Attār’s ‘Tale of the Virtuous Woman’ and the Life and Passion of Eugenia.” In Thecla and Medieval Sainthood: The Acts of Paul and Thecla in Eastern and Western Hagiography. Edited by Ghazzal Dabiri and Flavia Ruani. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2021. “Introduction.” In Thecla and Medieval Sainthood: The Acts of Paul and Thecla in Eastern and Western Hagiography. Edited by Ghazzal Dabiri and Flavia Ruani. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2020. “Introduction.” In Narrating Power and Authority in Late Antique and Medieval Hagiography across East and West. Fabulae 1. Edited by Ghazzal Dabiri. Turnhout: Brepols.
2019. “’When a Lion is Chided by an Ant’ Everyday Saints and the Making of Sufi Kings in ‘Attār’s Elāhināma.” In Journal of Persianate Societies 12, no. 1 Special Issue Advice Literature and Persian Political Ethics, guest editor Louise Marlow: forthcoming.
2018. “‘Attār’s Elāhināma as Sufi Practical Ethics: Between Genre, Reception, and Muslim and Christian Audiences” in Journal of Persianate Studies 11, no. 1: 29-55.
2013. “Historiography and the Sho‘ubiya Movement” in Journal of Persianate Studies 6, no. 1-2: 216-234.
2010. “The Shahnama: Between the Samanids and Ghaznavids” in Iranian Studies, the Shahnama Special Issue, edited by Charles Melville, Volume 43, no. 1 (February): 13-28.
2009. “Visions of Heaven and Hell from Late Antiquity in the Near East” in Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei 2 (Winter): 177-190.
(Forthcoming) “Persian Language” in Routledge Medieval Encyclopedia Online.
(Forthcoming) “Persian Epic” in Routledge Medieval Encyclopedia Online.
(Forthcoming) “Persian Elegy” in Routledge Medieval Encyclopedia Online.
2020. “Xwadāynāmag” in Clavis Historicorum Tardae Antiquitatis, Turnhout: Brepols.
2015. Review of The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism by Patricia Crone in Journal of Persianate Studies 8, no.1: 115-121.
2010. Review of Mute Dreams, Blind Owls, and Dispersed Knowledges: Persian Poesis in the Transnational Circuitry by M.J. Fischer in Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies 3, no. 4 (Autumn): 485-487.
2021. Thecla and Medieval Sainthood: The Acts of Paul and Thecla in Eastern and Western Hagiography. Edited by Ghazzal Dabiri and Flavia Ruani. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2021. Narrating Power and Authority in Late Antique and Medieval Hagiography across East and West. Fabulae 1. Edited by Ghazzal Dabiri. Turnhout: Brepols.
“Tales of Kinship, Kingship, and Justice and the Making of the Muslim World, 6th-12th c.” Manuscript.