Sheida Dayani completed her PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU in 2018. Her dissertation, “Juggling Revolutionaries: A Theatrical History of Indigenous Theatre and Early Playwriting in Iran,” explores the transition of Iranian drama to European-style theatre in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and examines the role of theatre in transforming the society during the Constitutional Revolution. Her research focuses on the development of Shiite performance rituals; the formation of modernism and “national” identity through language reform; Persian translations and trans-creations of Molière; and comparable aspects between Taqlid comedy and the Commedia dell’Arte.
Dayani’s research interests draw on her previous graduate background in legal and political history and her undergraduate degree in English and comparative literature. Before joining Harvard in 2015, she taught Persian and Islamic history at NYU, and Persian at CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College. “On the Theatrical Roots of Contemporary Visual Arts in Iran” is her latest publication in a 2018 exhibition catalogue at LA County Museum of Modern Art. Born and raised in Iran, Sheida is a published poet and translator, and has numerous Persian publications in Iranian literary journals, including Bukhara and Negāh-e No. Her English poetry has appeared on Jadaliyya and was featured by Open Source on NPR Boston.
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