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Fatemeh Keshavarz

Enhancing teaching, scholarship, and cultural education in Persian studies.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland has appointed Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz director of the Roshan Institute Center for Persian Studies (Roshan Center) as well as the Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies in order to extend teaching, research and outreach for Persian language, literature, history and culture in the region and beyond.

Keshavarz, who succeeds Professor Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak as center director, taught at Washington University in St. Louis for over 20 years and most recently chaired their Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011.

"We are excited about the arrival of Professor Keshavarz,” said Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill. “She is a significant asset to the college and further strengthens our ability to educate students and share with the community the rich culture and history of the Persian people.”

Keshavarz plans to focus her attention on raising the academic profile of the center on and off campus and producing the next generation of leaders in the field of Persian studies. 

"Part of my role will be to collaborate with national and international institutions of learning to enhance teaching, scholarship, and cultural education in Persian studies,” said Keshavarz. “I also envision a cohort of graduate students who are widely trained across the disciplines of art, literature, history, women’s studies and more.”

A highly respected interpreter of Persian Literature and Culture, Keshavarz has published four single-authored scholarly 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 array of 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.

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 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.”

Keshavarz 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.

This position was made possible by the generous support of the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute.  

About the Roshan Center for Persian Studies

Established in fall 2004, the Roshan Center aspires to be the premier center for the study and appreciation of Persian culture in the United States. Toward this end, the Roshan Center seeks to: provide outstanding course offerings and programs in Persian language, literature, history, and culture; foster communication and community ties among people of Persian heritage and those interested in Persian cultural heritage; and serve as a model for encouraging intercultural communication among people of varying backgrounds. For more information, visit the center online at