MEIS Faculty

Mitra Ara

Mitra AraMitra Ara is associate professor and founding director of the Persian Studies Minor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at San Francisco State University. She received her PhD in Asian Studies at University of California, Berkeley, with a concentration on the religions and languages of West Asia. She also holds a BA in Religious Studies and an MA in South Asian Studies from UCB. Areas of research include Indo-Iranian peoples, mythology, cosmology, and schatology in world religions and religious practices in Iran, including minority traditions. 

Fred Astren

Fred AstranFred Astren is professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He holds a BES degree from the University of Minnesota with specialization in medieval history and an MA in Arabic from UC Berkeley. Areas of research include minority/sectarian history and sacred history in the Mediterranean Middle Ages, with special focus on Jewish history under Islam, Jewish-Muslim relations, and the Karaite Jewish sect.

Mohammad Azadpur

Fred Astran Mohammad Azadpur is professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University. He teaches courses on Islamic Philosophy and Islamic Mysticism, and he has written about the links between Islamic and Western thought. Prof. Azadpur obtained his PhD from the University of Virginia.

Maziar Behrooz

Maziar BehroozMaziar Behrooz is associate professor in the History Department. He received his PhD in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. He teaches core classes on Middle East History from 500 CE to the present, as well as courses on Afghanistan and Iran in the 19th century. He has written about the Iranian left and its influence on the politics of Iran up through the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

Carel Bertram

Carel BertramCarel Bertram is professor emerita who taught in the Department of Humanities. She received her training in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley and in Art and Architectural History at UCLA. She is one of the foremost experts of Turkish vernacular architecture as well as a prominent scholar of social memory among members of the Armenian diaspora, whom she accompanied on pilgrimages to modern-day Turkey.

Chris Chekuri

Chris ChekuriChris Chekuri is associate professor in the History Department. He received his PhD from the University of Madison, Wisconsin. He teaches courses on world history as well as the colonial history of India, with a focus on Muslim-Hindu relations.

Burcu Akan Ellis

Burcu Akan EllisBurcu Akan Ellis is professor in the Department of International Relations. She received her PhD in International Relations from American University. Her research interests include identity formation within the Muslim communities of the Balkans, and gender and transnationalism among the young Muslim elite. At SF State, she teaches courses in transnational relations of Muslim societies and core courses in International Relations. 

Dina Ibrahim

Dina IbrahimDina Ibrahim is professor in the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department at San Francisco State University, where she teaches Radio and Television News Production courses. She has reported for the BBC World Service Radio in London, CNN in Atlanta and Cairo, NPR in Austin, Texas, UPI in Cairo and Arab News newspaper in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Her research interests are in the area of American television news representation of Arabs and Muslims.

Eran Kaplan

Erin KaplanEran Kaplan is the Rhoda and Richard Goldman Chair in Israel Studies at SFSU. He received his BA from Tel Aviv University and his PhD in Modern Jewish History from Brandeis University. Before coming to San Francisco, he taught at Princeton, Cincinnati and Toronto. At SF State, he teaches courses on contemporary politics of Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israeli cinema, and the city of Jerusalem.

Persis Karim

Persis Karim is the Neda Nobari Chair of the Center of Iranian Diaspora Studies and a professor in the Comparative and World Literature department. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature and her MA in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. From 1999-2017, she was a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University, where she taught courses in English, American literature, world literature, ethnic literature, creative writing, and Middle Eastern studies.

Santhi Kavuri-Bauer

Santhi Kavuri-BauerSanthi Kavuri-Bauer is professor in the School of Art. She received her PhD in Art from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her scholarship focuses on the preservation and representation of South Asian architectural monuments, and their role in the construction of social identities, national memory, and political protest. She has also published on the art of the South Asian diaspora and the concept of wonder in Islamic building practices. She teaches courses on Islamic Art and Architecture, South Asian art, and Asian American art.

Shirin Khanmohamadi

Shirin KhanmohamadiShirin A. Khanmohamadi is associate professor in Comparative and World Literatures. She received her BA from Brown and her PhD from Columbia University. She specializes in comparative medieval European literature, premodern travel and ethnographic writing, cross-cultural and confessional representation within medieval literature, and literary cross-fertilization between the medieval European and Islamic worlds.

Hafez Modirzadeh

Hafez ModirzadehHafez Modirzadeh is professor of Creative and World Music. Prof. Modirzadeh received his MA from UCLA and his PhD from Wesleyan, both in ethnomusicology. He continues to develop an interdisciplinary musical approach he calls “Chromodal Discourse”. Internationally and locally, he is active in the realms of performing, teaching, recording, publishing, and presenting cross-cultural perspectives regarding musical culture, tradition and innovation, and individual representations thereof.

Mahmood Monshipouri

Mahmood MonshipouriMahmood Monshipouri is professor and chair of the Department of International Relations who received his PhD from the University of Georgia. Before coming to SFSU, he was a Visiting Fellow at Yale University's Center for International and Area Studies. At SFSU, he teaches classes on the politics of the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf.  He has published widely on the topic of human rights in the Muslim World, as well as on the role of social media in the Arab Spring.

Mohammad Salama

Mohammad SalamaMohammad Salama is professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at San Francisco State University. He received his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a minor in film, and his MA in English Literature from ‘Ayn Shams University, Egypt. His main research areas are intellectual history and theories of modernity, with an emphasis on comparative literary, social and cultural trends in colonial and post-colonial Europe and the Middle East.

Lucia Volk

Lucia Volk is professor of International Relations. She obtained her MA in Arab Studies at Georgetown University and her PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology at Harvard University. Prof. Volk teaches introductory classes in Middle East and Islamic Studies and seminars on global issues. Currently, she researches the legal regimes - political asylum and temporary humanitarian visas - that define the lives of refugees in Europe.

Nicole Watts

Nicole WattsNicole Watts is professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, where she teaches on comparative politics, the politics of the Middle East and North Africa, and social movements. Her research interests include ethnopolitical and national movements, state-society relations, protest and dissent, and Kurdish politics and mobilization, particularly in Iraq and Turkey. She is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London and the University of Washington in Seattle.