Bios - MEICON-BC 2014

Akhtar, Munazzah

Munazzah Akhtar is a PhD candidate (2nd year) at the Department of History in Art, University of Victoria. She is studying Islamic funerary architecture and ornamentation in Islamic architecture as themes under her major area of research. For her minor area of research, she is looking at topics from within the cross-cultural issues in Islamic art. Using the knowledge from these themes, her PhD research project will explore the architectural and cultural events taking place at Makli necropolis, Pakistan, between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. She can be reached at:


Babaee, Naghmeh

Naghmeh Babaee entered the PhD program in Second Language Education, Department of PhD in Education, University of Manitoba, in 2009. Her areas of research interest include language maintenance and loss, identity, and socio-cultural perspectives on second language acquisition. Her dissertation is focused on language maintenance and loss in an Iranian community in a major Canadian city with a view to identifying potential successes and challenges of Iranian immigrant students in maintaining their heritage language within the contexts of home, school and first language community. She can be reached at:


Bunton, Robin

Robin is a fourth year History Honours student at the University of British Columbia, specializing in Middle Eastern history. She will begin writing her honours thesis in the fall of 2014, with either a focus upon women in the Early Islamic Abbasid period, or else a more contemporary focus upon European and Arab intersections in the Levant at the turn of the 20th century. She can be reached at:


Cano, Alli

Alli Cano is a fourth-year student at Simon Fraser University, pursuing an honours degree in International Studies in the Security and Conflict stream.  Prior to her studies at SFU, she completed Diploma in photojournalism and worked as a photographer and journalist for numerous publications in western Canada and with an NGO in Cameroon. Currently her studies are focused in the Middle East and Central Asia, and following completion of her undergraduate degree she plans to pursue a graduate degree in education development in emergency situations. She can be reached at:


Christiansen, Nate

Nate Christiansen is a history student at Western Washington University, and will be graduating in the spring. The Middle East and Islam has been a major field of study for him, and he is really excited about attending and presenting at this conference. He can be reached at:


Dhaliwal, Preet 

Preet is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in History, and Religious Studies, with a Minor in Philosophy. Influenced by the writings of Orhan Pamuk, and William Dalrymple, and her own family history, Preet changed her focus of study to the end Colonialism, and the various forms of rebellion movements all throughout Asia. She can be reached at:


Garside, Nova

Nova is a 3rd year Political Science and Psychology Undergrad at the University of Victoria. She is also an avid student of History. Her research interests focus on politics in the Middle East, with a concentration on the region of the Levant. In particular, Nova is interested in how international relations and foreign policy impacts the region as well as our understanding of both the region at large, and of minorities in post-colonial European societies. She can be reached at:


Friday, Melissa

Melissa is currently completing her fifth, and final, year at Simon Fraser University. The majority of her studies has been concentrated on International Studies, specifically issues of conflict of security. She has also studied a great deal on Middle Eastern history and culture, attaining a minor in history, supplemented by a certificate in Middle Eastern History. Melissa also completed an exchange term at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. She can be reached at:


Ghorbani, Fahimeh

Fahimeh is a first year student of Iranian-Islamic Art History. She is working on her final research paper that considers the Theories on Traditional Practice of Crafts in Medieval, Early Modern Iran, under the co-direction of Professors: Marcus Milwright and Anthony Welch. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Handicrafts from Kashan University, Iran, in 2004, and a master’s degree in Iranian Traditional Arts from Tehran University of Art, Iran, in 2008. She enrolled in University of Victoria’s Master's program in History in Art from fall 2013. Fahimeh is interested in range of issues pertaining to Iranian Medieval and Early Modern traditional arts and architecture. She can be reached at:  


Haj Yahya, Raied

Raied is an International Studies student specializing in Comparative Politics, at the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Raied has completed courses from a variety of disciplines with excellent performance, including Political Science, Human Geography and Political Communication. In International Studies, his senior-level course work includes a course on Transitional Justice and another on Islamic Trend in Middle-East Politics. Upon completing the IB Diploma at Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Victoria, BC, Raied was selected as a recipient of the SFU W. Ronald Heath full scholarship. Raied has been named for the University’s President’s Honour Roll thanks to his high scholastic achievements. He can be reached at:


Hemmati, Khash

Khash Hemmati is a graduate student at SFU's history program. As an undergrad Khash worked as research assistant for Dr. Derryl MacLean at the Centre for Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures. He is currently completing his MA in History at Simon Fraser University, and his thesis focuses on contemporary Iranian Architectural history and the making of identity. Khash has previously presented at the MEICON conference and his paper "Turkey Post 1980 Coup d’état: The Rise, the Fall, and the Emergence of Political Islam" will be published by the forthcoming issue of University of Victoria's Illumine Journal of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society Graduate Students Association. He can be reached at:


Hatef Naiemi, Atri

Atri is a second-year MA student of History in Art at the University of Victoria, Canada, who is really enthusiastic about the Islamic art and architecture. She is working on her MA final project, entitled “Identification of Residential Compounds in the Central Desert of Iran”, under the supervision of Dr. Marcus Milwright and Dr. Anthony Welch at the University of Victoria. She will defend it in late April 2014. Atri can be reached at:


Karmel, Ezra

Ezra Karmel is currently completing a history MA at the University of Victoria. He is a graduate fellow at UVic’s Center for Global Studies and a policy analyst for the Jordanian-based civil society organization the Identity Center for Human Development (Merkaz Huwia). His research focuses on issues of identity and its effects on political participation in Jordan. He can be reached at:


Jahani Asl, Nasser

Nasser Jahani Asl is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria. His PhD research examines the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) as the oldest and most influential social movement organization (SMO) whose politics affects the Iranian Kurdish society as well as the rest of the country. In 2007, Nasser received his MA in Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU), entitled, “A Democratic Alternative Education System For Iran: An Historical and Critical Study”. He also completed his BA in Anthropology and Sociology at SFU in 2003. Nasser was born in Mahabad, Kurdistan, Iran. He immigrated to Canada in 1996 and currently resides in Vancouver. His research interest includes social movements, ethnic relations, and education. He can be reached at:


Nabavi Nejad, Behrang

Behrang is currently a PhD Candidate (5th year) at the Department of History in Art, the University of Victoria, studying Islamic art with focus on medieval Persian painting, under the supervision of Professor Anthony Welch. He received his Master degrees in the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the University of Toronto (2009), and in History of Art, Bangalore University, India (2000). He published “The Meaning of the Oriental Carpets in the Early Modern Domestic Interior,” in ARTiculate, the graduate student journal of the department of history in art, the University of Victoria, 2012. He can be reached at:


Pasiechnik, Jenelle M

Jenelle is a first year Masters student in History in Art at UViC studying contemporary West Asian artists of the diaspora.  She received her BA in English Literature from University of Calgary in 2010. She also completed her BA Honours in History in Art at the University of Victoria in 2013. She can be reached at:


Razmaray-Shargh, Roghiyeh

Roghiyeh is from Urmieh, Iran and immigrated to Canada in 2003. She completed her BA in Women’s Studies and MA in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University in 2012. Her field of study and interest generally involves sexuality in modern Iran. Currently, she is working on a translation of several articles by Muslim feminists in the United States from English to Farsi and is hoping to be able to have them published in Iran in a near future before entering her Ph.D. studies. She can be reached at:  


Rezamand, Ardalan

Born in Tehran in 1975 and raised in Los Angeles, Ardalan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1998 with double majors in Philosophy and Islamic Studies.  He completed his MA in History at Simon Fraser University in 2012 with a thesis titled, “Identity and Academic Philosophy in the Islamic Republic of Iran: The Case of Reza Davari Ardakani.”  He is currently a PhD student at SFU continuing his research on the institutional use of philosophy in developing an Irano-Islamic centric identity in Iranian society. He can be reached at:


Singh, Jessica

Jessica is a 4th year undergraduate student of history and political science at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include issues concerning the modern Middle East, as well as questions of political theory. Jessica is particularly interested in the works of Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, and Edward Said. Upon completion of her B.A. in 2014, she intends to do graduate work pertaining to her interests in Political Science. She can be reached at:


Sortun, Emerson

Emerson is a senior history student at Western, and just completed his senior thesis (“499”) in the history of the modern Middle East with Dr. Siyamak Zabihi. His research focused on Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian writer and activist. He has been involved with the study of history for the last two years, having been a graphic design major prior to switching in order to follow his interests. Emerson considers the study of history to be highly important for forming an accurate and effective view of the world and the people that populate it. He can be reached at:


Tabandeh, Reza

Reza received his PhD in 2014 from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, U.K. The title of his thesis is: “The Rise of Nimatullahi Shi‘ite Sufism in early 19th Century Qajar Persia: Husayn ‘Ali Shah, Majdhub ‘Ali Shah and their Battle with Islamic Fundamentalism”. He can be reached at:


Trapp, Lauren

Lauren Trapp is a senior history student at Western Washington University in Washington State. History has long been her favorite subject and she is particularly fascinated by the history of the Middle East and of the Islamic world. Since she has been in college, Lauren has made it her ambition to learn as much about this very dramatic and crucial region and has focused her history major on the study of the modern Middle East as well as minoring in Arabic and Islamic Studies. The Kurdish people have a fascinating history, like the Palestinians they are a people with a distinct culture but without a nation. It was in her History 499 class (required for the major) that Lauren became interested in the topic of Kurds in Turkey and the crucial role academics have played in the development of the Kurdish question in Turkey. This was a topic that fascinated her because of how monumental an issue it is and how the status of Kurds in Turkey is still very tenuous and yet so little about this issue is known in the west.  At the Sixth Annual MEICON-BC Conference she hopes to deliver this message and analyze this issue with her fellow colleagues. She can be reached at:


Yaghi, Adam

Adam is a PhD candidate in Contemporary American Literature, a sessional lecturer, and a graduate fellow at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He was nominated for fourteen awards (over $ 400,000 in value) of which he won eleven including a Fulbright Fellowship. Adam’s dissertation project analyzes how certain trends in contemporary Arab American literature (1) engage claims of the “Inter-civilizational Clash” cultural conservatives of Arab or Muslim descent advocate, (2) fail to do so, or (3) strategically avoid them. He can be reached at:


Yeganehfarzand, Seyedhamed

Hamed is a second year master student at the University of Victoria, Department of History in Art. He is working on his final research project entitled “Ismaili Castles in Their Environmental Context” under the supervision of Dr. Milwright and Dr.Baboula. He can be reached at:


Vetterling, Margaret

Margaret Vetterling is a senior in her final year at Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA). Her interdisciplinary concentration focuses on the political Economy of the Arab World. She specializes in the interaction between economic and political systems in using politics as catalysts for change and global action, and economics as a method of understanding and weighing policy decisions, especially at an international level. With a minor in Arabic and Islamic Studies, her passions lie within the Arab world, and Margaret is fascinated by the insights on social organization and the function of institutions offered by the Islamic tradition. She can be reached at: