Finalists for Iranian Diaspora Studies Director to Interview on Campus

Monday, February 20, 2017

The College of Liberal & Creative Arts welcomes finalists visiting campus to interview for the Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair/director of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. All presentations are open to the campus community and will take place in Creative Arts Building, Room 255.

The director will be a faculty member in one of the College’s schools or departments.


Babak Rahimi

Thursday, February 23

  • 1pm – 2pm: Research presentation, “The Networked Iranian Diaspora: Activism, Internet and the ‘Transitional Sphere’”
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Vision presentation

Rahimi earned his Ph.D. from European University Institute, Florence, Italy (2004) and obtained a Master of Arts in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (1997). In 2000 – 2001, he was a visiting fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His monograph, Theater-State and Formation of the Early Modern Public Sphere in Iran: Studies on Safavid Muharram Rituals, 1590-1641 C.E. (Brill 2011), traces the origins of the Iranian public sphere in the early-17th century Safavid Empire with a focus on the relationship between state-building, urban space and ritual culture. Rahimi is also the co-editor (David Faris) of Social Media in Iran (SUNY Press, 2015), an edited volume that explores the cultural and political impact of the Internet on Iranian society.

His articles have appeared in Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology, International Political Science Review, International Communication Gazette, International Journal of Middle East Studies, The Middle East Journal, The Communication Review and Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies. Rahimi has been an expert guest on various media programs like The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, BBC and CNN, in addition to National Public Radio and On the Media. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Internet Institute, University of Oxford (2010) and the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania (2012). Rahimi was also a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington D.C. (2005 – 2006).

Rahimi’s research interests concern the relationship between culture, religion and technology. The historical and social contexts that inspire his research range from early modern Islamicate societies to contemporary Iran.

Mohsen Mobasher

Thursday, March 9

  • 1pm – 2pm: Research presentation, “Iranian Immigrants in the United States: A Longitudinal Community Portrait”
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Vision presentation

Mobasher began teaching at University of Houston, Downtown, in 2002. He received his doctoral degree in anthropology from Southern Methodist University. He served as the director of the Cullen Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2003 – 2006), coordinator of the University of Houston, Downtown, sociology program (2008) and director of Houston Urban Research Institute (2010).

Mobasher teaches courses on cultural anthropology, world migration, global society, urban sociology, social inequality, race and ethnic relations, and introduction to sociology.

Persis Karim

Wednesday, March 15

  • 1pm – 2pm: Research presentation, “Yeki Bud, Yeki Nabud: The Poetic and Politics of Building an Archive of Iranian Diaspora”
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Vision presentation

Karim is a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the founding director of Persian studies at San Jose State University, where she teaches courses in world and comparative literature, U.S. ethnic and diaspora literature, global studies, film and Middle East Studies. She is also the coordinator for the Middle East studies minor program.

Her groundbreaking and critical work on literature and culture of the Iranian diaspora, as well as her role in collecting and editing three anthologies of Iranian diaspora literature, have earned her recognition and respect in several fields including literary, diaspora and Iranian studies. She has contributed to the formation of a new field and an accompanying vocabulary for this emerging field; she is invited regularly to speak on Iranian diaspora narratives, storytelling and archive building and is well-known as a dynamic and innovative collaborator both in and outside academia.

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa

Thursday, March 30

  • 1pm – 2pm: Research presentation
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm: Vision presentation

Saeed-Vafa has a Master of Fine Arts from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been teaching as a full-time faculty member in the Cinema Art and Science Department at Columbia College, Chicago, since 1989. Her areas of expertise are cinema studies (international cinema, Middle Eastern cinema, Exilic cinema, women, gender, 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 March 2003.

Saeed-Vafa 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 has been picked up for distribution by European Spiritual Film Festival in France. Her latest award-winning film, Jerry and 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, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Saeed-Vafa has been the artistic consultant of the Festival of Films from Iran at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago since 1989.


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