Farzaneh Milani

Professor and Department Chair


Persian Literature and Women's Studies

131 New Cabell Hall

Office Hours

M/T 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Background and Interests

Farzaneh Milani completed her graduate studies in Comparative Literature in 1979 at the University of California in Los Angeles. Her dissertation, “Forugh Farrokhzad: A Feminist Perspective” was a critical study of the poetry of a pioneering Iranian poet. A past president of the Association of Middle Eastern Women Studies in America, Milani was the recipient of All University Teaching Award in 1998 and nominated for Virginia Faculty of the Year in 1999.

Milani has published over 100 articles, epilogues, forewords, and afterwords in Persian and in English. She has served as the guest editor for two special issues of Nimeye-Digar, Persian Language Feminist Journal (on Simin Daneshvar and Simin Behbahani), IranNameh (on Simin Behbahani), and Iranian Studies: Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies (on Simin Behbahani). She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Magazine, Readers Digest, USA Today, and N.P.R.’s All Things Considered. She has presented more than 150 lectures nationally and internationally. A former director of Studies in Women and Gender, Milani is Professor of Persian Literature and Women Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She was a Carnegie Fellow (2006-2007).

Selected Awards

  • Latifeh Yarshater Book Award for Words Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement, presented by the International Society for Iranian Studies.
  • Lois Roth Literary Award in Translation for A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Behbahani (with Kaveh Safa).
  • Carnegie Scholar, 2006-2007.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 2002-2003.
  • University Seminar's Teaching Award, 2001.
  • Storr's Fellowship, 2001.
  • Nominated: Virginia Teacher of the Year Award, 1999.
  • All University Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Virginia, 1998.

Selected Publications


  • Once a Dewdrop Accosted A Rose: Essays on the Poetry of Parvin E'tessami, ed. Heshmet Moayyad, Costa Mesa: Mazda, 1995.
  • “The Birth of Neotraditionalism in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Women Writers,” Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity and Power, eds. Fatima Muge Gocek and Shiva Balaghi, Columbia University Press, 1994.
  • “Hanan al-Shaykh's Life Stories,” AMEWS, Vol. 9, no.4, December 1994.
  • “Shaherzad Unveiled: Women Writers in Post-Revolutionary Iran,” Introduction to Stories By Iranian Women Since The Revolution, trans. Sorraya Sullivan, University of Texas Press, 1991.
  • “Veiled Voices: Women's Autobiographies in Iran.” Women's Autobiographies in Contemporary Iran, ed. Afsaneh Najmabadi, Harvard University Press, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1990.
  • “Nakedness Regained: Farrokhzod's Garden of Eden,” Literature East and West, Guest Editor Michael Hillmann, Vol. 24, 1989.
  • “Forugh Farrokhzod,” Persian Literature Persian Heritage Series, ed. Ehsan Yarshater, State University of New York Press, 1988. pp. 367-380.
  • “Jalal's Sunset,” translated from the Persian with Jo-Anne Hart. Iranian Studies, Vol. 19, no. 1, 1986. pp. 47-63.
  • “Power, Prudence, and Print: Daneshvar and Self-Censorship,” Iranian Studies, Vol. 18, no. 1, 1986. pp. 325-347.
  • “Conflicts between Traditional Roles and Poetry,” Women and the Family in Iran, ed. Asghar Fathi. E.J. Brill, 1985. pp. 226-237.
  • “Formation, Confrontation, and Emancipation in the Poetry of Forugh Farrokhzod,” trans. David Martin, A Rebirth, Mazda Publishing, 1985. (Reprint: 1997.) pp.123-133.
  • “Conformity and Confrontation: A Comparison of Two Iranian Women Poets,” Women and the Family in the Middle East: New Voices of Change, ed. Elizabeth Fernea, University of Texas Press, 1985. pp.317-330.
  • “Revitalization: Some Reflections on the Poetry of Taherah Saffar-Zadeh,” Women and Revolution in Iran, ed. Guity Nashat, Westview Press, 1983. pp. 129-140.
  • “Love and Sexuality in the Poetry of Farrokhzod: A Reconsideration,” Iranian Studies, Vol. 15, no. 1-4, 1982.
  • “Forugh Farrokhzod: A Feminist Perspective,” an afterword to Bride of Acacias. Colorado: Caravan Press, 1982. pp. 141-147.

Selected Opinion Pieces and Commentaries

  • "The Turban, Defiled by Suicide Bombers, Has Biblical and Emotional Roots," The New York Times, 7 Oct 2011.
  • "Saudi Arabia's Freedom Riders," The New York Times, 12 June 2011.
  • “‘Islamic bicycle’ can’t slow Iranian women,” USA Today, Friday, June 29, 2007, 15A; reprinted in Iran-Va-Jahan; Daneshjoo; Payvand News.
  • “No More Walls: I Want My Country Back,” The Daily Progress, Sunday, May 6, 2007;  reprinted in Payvand’s Iran News. 
  • “Iran Misrepresented in Media,” featured in The Daily Texan, Tuesday, February 27, 2007, p. 6A.
  • “Iran an Enigma to Americans,” an op-ed for The Daily Progress, Sunday, February 18, 2007, pp. B6 and B8; reprinted in Payvand's Iran News.
  • “Drawing the Line between Private and Public,” a commentary aired on All Things Considered, National Public Radio, February 13, 2006.
  • “Uncovering Coverings: A Crash Course,” Washington Post, Sunday, October 22, 2006, B5; reprinted as “Take the Time to Consider the Woman Behind the Veil,” in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 27, 2006.
  • "The Turban, the Veil, and the Sword," The Daily Progress, Sunday, February 19, 2006; reprinted in Payvand’s Iran News.
  • "Lipstick Politics in Iran," The New York Times, August 19, 1999.

Selected Interviews

  • Milani Awarded for Book on Iranian Women's Struggle for 'Freedom of Movement,' Aug. 13, 2012
  • C-SPAN, May 22, 2012
  • BookTV, May 22, 2012
  • iranian.com, May 25, 2012
  • Farzaneh Milani Named as Woman of the Year by IWSF

Past and Current Positions

  • Member, Governor Warner’s Council on the Status of Women in Virginia (2002-2005).
  • Advisory Editorial Board, The Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures, Brill Academic Publishers.
  • Editorial Board, The Virginia Quarterly Review (2002-2005).
  • President, Association of Middle Eastern Women's Studies in America (1994-1996).
  • Member, Board of Executive Directors of Middle East Studies, Middle East Studies Association of North America (1991-1994).
  • Executive Officer of the American Association of Persian Teachers, (1990-1993).

Hanadi Al-Samman


Griffith Chaussee


Richard Cohen


Tessa Farmer


Mehr Farooqi


Zvi Gilboa


Nizar F. Hermes


Robert Hueckstedt


Bilal Humeidan


Daniel Lefkowitz


Bilal Maanaki


Farzaneh Milani


Suad Mohamed


Mahshad Mohit


Shankar Nair


Abdul Nasir


Geeta Patel


Mohammed Sawaie


Samhita Sunya