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Fatemeh Keshavarz


COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The College of Arts and Humanities has appointed Fatemeh Keshavarz director of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (SLLC), effective August 1, 2014. She succeeds Carol Mossman, who will complete her five year term as director and will return to the faculty on July 31, 2014.

Keshavarz is the Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies and director of the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Since arriving at UMD, she is credited with building strong campus partnerships and close collaborations with the Library of Congress. Prior to Maryland, she taught at Washington University in St. Louis where she chaired the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011.

A highly respected scholar of Persian Literature and Culture, Keshavarz has published five single-authored books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi, a study of Persian mediaeval poetry; Recite in the Name of the Red Rose: Poetics of Sacred Making in the Twentieth Century Iran, an examination of the religious impulses in recent Persian verse; and recently Jasmine and Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Tehran, a book of literary analysis and social commentary. Her sixth book on the poetry of Sa’di, a master lyricist from medieval Iran, is in production (Edinburgh University Press). She is also a published poet 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 talk “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.”

SLLC is a complex, dynamic school focused on research and instruction about the world’s languages and literatures, applied linguistics and second language acquisition. It is the foundation to many of the university’s global initiatives, producing a majority of UMD’s Boren and Critical Language Scholarship winners. It is also a major player in student engagement with the multicultural immigrants and heritage language speakers residing in the Baltimore-Washington region.

As director, Keshavarz will focus on strengthening the collaborative scholarly bonds among the many vibrant departments within the school in new and creative ways while building campus partnerships that place SLLC at the heart of UMD’s global and collaborative projects. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Persian Studies and a M.A. in Library, Archive, and Information Studies from the University of London and a B.A. in Persian Language and Literature from Shiraz University.