I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto with full funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I have conducted research and taught at the University of British Columbia, where I developed UBC’s first curriculum in Iranian Studies. I have also conducted research at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, where I was a Bahari Visiting Scholar in the Persian Arts of the Book.

My primary areas of research specialization are classical Persian literature, the history and culture of late antique and medieval Iran, the Perso-Islamic literature of wisdom and advice, and medieval Persian popular literature. I am also interested in how literature interacts with other elements of culture, particularly with visual arts.

In my first monograph, I explored the medieval reception of Firdausī’s Shāhnāma, or Book of Kings, (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of medieval sources in a variety of genres, my research demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood by medieval authors as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites.


  • PhD, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

  • MA, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

Other Publications


  • The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes. Studies in Persian Cultural History 9. Leiden: Brill, 2016. (Winner of the 2017 World Award for Book of the Year of Iran in the field of Iranian Studies.)

Journal Articles

  • “Élite Folktales: Munes-nāma, Ketāb-e dāstān, and their Audiences.” Special issue, Advice Literature and Persianate Political Ethics, edited by Louise Marlow, Journal of Persianate Studies 12, no. 1 (2019): 32–61. 

  •   “A Mirror for Princesses: Mūnis-nāma, A Twelfth-Century Collection of Persian Tales Corresponding to the Ottoman Turkish Tales of the Faraj baʿd al-shidda.” Narrative Culture 5, no. 1 (2018): 120–40.

  •   “A Unique Episode from the Kārnāmag ī Ardašīr ī Pābagān in a Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Indian Manuscript of the Shāhnāmeh.” Special issue, Pre-Islamic Iranian Literary Heritage, edited by Enrico G. Raffaelli, Iranian Studies 45, no. 2 (2012): 203–16. 

Edition (medieval manuscript) 

  •   Abu Bakr b. Khusrau al-Ustād. Mūnis-nāma, Majmūʿaʾī az andarzhā va dāstānhā-yi kuhan, girdāvarda-yi sada-yi shishum-i hijrī va darbardāranda-yi kuhantarīn rivāyāt az dāstānhā-yi Jāmiʿ al-ḥikāyāṭ [Mūnis-nāma: A twelfth-century compendium of wisdom literature and tales, including the oldest version of Jāmiʿ al-ḥikāyāt stories]. Tehran: Mauqūfāt-i Duktur Maḥmud Afshār, Forthcoming.

Book Chapter 

  • “Renovating the World, Restoring the ‘Good Religion’: Ardashīr’s Battle against Haftvād and the Giant Worm.” In Shahnama Studies IV. Edited by Charles Melville and Firuza Abudllaeva. Studies in Persian Cultural History. Leiden: Brill, Forthcoming.


  • Iraj Afshār. “The Form, Appearance, and Decoration in the Letters of the Safavid Kings.” Translated by Nasrin Askari. In New Perspectives on Safavid Iran: Empire and Society, edited by Colin Mitchell, 30–32. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Blog Posts

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