Keshavarz, Fatemeh 1952–

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Keshavarz, Fatemeh 1952–


Born 1952, in Shiraz, Iran; married Ahmet T. Karamustafa (an educator); children: Atefeh (daughter), Ayla (daughter), Ali. Education: Shiraz University, B.A., 1976, M.L.S., 1979; London University, M.A., 1981, Ph.D., 1985. Hobbies and other interests: Running, baking, spending time with friends.


Home—St. Louis, MO. Office—Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1111, 1 Brookings Dr., St. Louis, MO 63130-0899. E-mail—[email protected].


Educator, critic, and poet. National Iranian Radio & Television, Tehran, Iran, writer, producer, and moderator, 1976-79; Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, England, cataloger, 1982-87, lecturer in Persian language and literature and Islamic thought, 1983-87; Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, Islamic studies librarian and lecturer in Persian language and literature, 1988-90, visiting assistant professor, 1990-91, assistant professor, 1991-97, associate professor of Persian and comparative literature, 1997—, chair of Department of Asian & Near Eastern Languages & Literatures, 2004—.


American Association of Teachers of Persian, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Middle East Studies Association, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, Society for Iranian Studies, Iranian Cultural Society of the Midwest, Asian Art Society.


Wellcome Trust fellowship, 1981-84; Dunne & Wilson Award, 1985, for doctoral thesis; Department of Education grant, 1992; faculty research grants, Washington University in St. Louis, 1997-98, 1999-2000, and 2003-04; Association of Women faculty appreciation award, 2000; Appreciation Award, Meramec Community College, 2002; ‘Sisterhood Is Global’ Award, Institute for Women's and Gender Studies, 2004; American Institute for Iranian Studies grant, 2004.


Talashi dar aghaz (poetry), Shiraz University Press (Shiraz, Iran), 1976.

A Descriptive and Analytical Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (London, England), 1986.

Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal Al-Din Rumi, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1998.

Recite in the Name of the Red Rose: Poetic Sacred Making in Twentieth-Century Iran, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 2006.

Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than ‘Lolita’ in Tehran, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Views from the House of Islam, edited by John Renard, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1998; and Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800, edited by Guiti Nashat and Lois Beck, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2003. Contributor of articles and book reviews to periodicals, including Chronicle of Higher Education, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Iranian Studies.


Iranian-born Fatemeh Keshavarz, a professor of Persian language and literature, is the author of Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than ‘Lolita’ in Tehran, ‘a passionate and poetic supplement to the monolithic and unforgiving image of post-revolutionary Iran,’ observed Middle East Journal contributor Nasrin Rahimieh. ‘Even the most positive programs about Iran start with the image of blindfolded hostages,’ Keshavarz told Candace O'Connor in the University of Washington in St. Louis Magazine. ‘We have lost our visual vocabulary to think of Iran in any other terms. I think it is time that we touch each other in a physical and cultural sense. So this book is a kind of cultural handshake, to help people feel the physicality and presence of the other side."

In Jasmine and Stars, Keshavarz provides a counterpoint to such ‘New Orientalist’ texts as Azar Nafisi's best-selling Reading ‘Lolita’ in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which, in Keshavarz's opinion, offers a distorted view of postrevolutionary Iran. Jasmine and Stars ‘brings into the picture the voices and faces of contemporary Iranians almost entirely unknown to American readers,’ she remarked to Foaad Khosmood in Z Magazine. ‘The result is that the readers—exposed only to negative news on Iran—are amazed at how imaginative, vibrant, and articulate contemporary Iranians can be.’ According to Rahimieh, the author ‘sees the stories she recounts in her book as a gift and an invitation to see beyond fear and to bridge the divide that threatens to further separate Iranians and Americans."



Booklist, March 1, 2007, David Pitt, review of Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than ‘Lolita’ in Tehran, p. 53.

Journal of the American Oriental Society, April 1, 2000, Th. Emil Homerin, review of Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal Al-Din Rumi, p. 275.

Middle East Journal, summer, 2007, Nasrin Rahimieh, review of Jasmine and Stars, p. 535.


Arab American, (September 1, 2007), Menachem Wecker, ‘The New Illiterate Orientalism."

Merghan Foundation, (October 11, 2007), ‘Fatemeh Keshavarz."

University of North Carolina Press, (October 11, 2007), ‘An Interview with Fatemeh Keshavarz."

University of Washington in St. Louis, (October 11, 2007), ‘Fatemeh Keshavarz."

University of Washington in St. Louis Magazine, (November 1, 2007), Candace O'Connor, ‘Sharing the Spirit of Iran."

University of Washington in St. Louis Record, (November 18, 2005), Gerry Everding, ‘‘Easy to Remember, Hard to Forget’: Fatemeh Keshavarz Explores a Colorful Mosaic of Cultures, Ethnicities and Languages."

Z Magazine, (August 3, 2007), Foaad Khosmood, ‘Jasmine and Stars: New Orientalist Narratives."