Babak Elahi

Babak Elahi

3140 Eastman Hall

Babak Elahi holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester. He writes about American realism, Iranian cinema, Iranian diasporic culture, and the semiotics and politics of dress and fashion.  His work has appeared in Iranian Studies, Simploke, Iran Namag, MELUS, International Journal of Fashion Studies, and Cultural Studies. His book, The Fabric of American Realism, was published by McFarland Press in 2009.  Babak’s essays “Iranian Conditions: Metaphors of Illness in Iranian Fiction and Film,” and “At the Threshold of Iranian Studies” are forthcoming in the journal Iran Namag, and the book Middle East Studies after September 11 (Brill, 2018), respectively.

Babak also plays guitar and sings in local Rochester bands, The Resonant Freqs and The Tree Shakers.




  • The Fabric of American Literary Realism: Readymade Clothing, Social Mobility and Assimilation, McFarland Press, 2009


Edited Collection

  • Co-edited with Dr. Persis Karim, Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 31:2, special issue on Iranian and Arab diasporic cultures and literatures.  Duke U Press.  September 2011


Book Chapters

  • “At the Threshold of Iranian Studies,” in Tugrul Keskin, Ed., Middle Eastern Studies After September 11: Neo-Orientalism, American Hegemony and Academia, Brill, 2018.
  • “An Epitome of Times and Fashions: Temporality and Textiles in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables” in Katherine Joslin and Daneen Wardrop, eds., Crossings in Text and Textile 1818-1934, University Press of New England, (2015)
  • “Reading the Exile’s Body: Deafness and Diaspora in Kader Abdolah’s My Father’s Notebook,” in Manijeh Mannani and Veronica Thompson, eds., Familiar and Foreign: Identity in Iranian Film and Literature (Athabasca University Press, Canada), (2015)



  • Persian/Farsi to English translation of Hafez Khiavi’s short story, “Māh dar gūr mītābīd”/“The Moonlit Grave,” forthcoming in a collection edited by Manijeh Mannani and Elli Dehnavi, publisher and title TBD


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • "Iranian Conditions: Metaphors of Illness in Iranian Fiction and Film," Iran Namag 3:2 (Summer 2018)

  • Co-authored with Andrea Hickerson, “Journalist Memoirs and Truth, Professional Ethics, and Objectivity between Personal and Professional Ethics,” IranNamag (under review)
  • Co-authored with Ebba Lisberg Jensen, “From Green Clothing to Conspicuous Conservation: Dressing Identity between Nature and Politics,” International Journal of Fashion Studies 4.1 pp. 7 – 34 (2017)
  • “The Critic as Activist: The Art Review and Socio-Political Discourse in Iran,” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics No. 35 (2015)
  • “Poisons and Remedies in Sadegh Hedayat's The Blind Owl,” Middle Eastern Literatures 15.2 (2012) pp 178-80
  • “Crossing Tehran Avenue: Digital and Urban Spaces in Tehran,” Cultural Studies 26:6 (2012) pp. 956-981
  • “Fake Farsi: Formulaic Flexibility in Iranian-American Women’s Memoir.” MELUS 33:2 (2008): 37-55
  • “Frames and Mirrors in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.” Symplok­e: A Journal of the Intermingling of Literary, Cultural and Theoretical Scholarship 15:1-2 (2007): 312-325
  • “Translating the Self: Language and Identity in Iranian-American Women's Memoirs.” Iranian Studies 39:4 (2006): 461-481
  • “Resistance, Accommodation, or Haggling: Postcolonial Theory and International Business Communication.” JAC 25.3 (2005): 571-586
  • “The Heavy Garments of the Past: Mary and Frieda Antin in The Promised Land.” College Literature 32:4 (2005): 29-49
  • “The Immigrant's Dream and the Audacity of Hope: The 2004 Convention Addresses of Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger.” American Behavioral Scientist, 49:3 (2005): 454-465. (co-authored with Professor Grant Cos, Communication Department, RIT)
  • “Pride Lands: The Lion King, Proposition 187, and White Resentment.” Arizona Quarterly, 57:3 (2001): 121-152


Review Articles

  • Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture,” Consumption Markets and Culture (2014) 1-8
  • Burying the Beloved: Marriage, Realism, and Reform in Modern Iran,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45:2 (May 2013) 375-377
  • “Politics in Motion: Review of Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema by Hamid Dabashi, Displaced Allegories by Negar Mottahedeh, Iranian Cinema: A Political History,” AfterImage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism 37:5 (2010)
  • “East-Struck: Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson’s Foucault and the Iranian Revolution in Context,” Human Studies 30.2 (2007) 157-66
  • “Hybrid Haggling: Hamid Naficy's The Making of Exile Cultures,” Afterimage, 21:8 (1994): 15


Reviews and Encyclopedia Entries

  • Women Write Iran: Nostalgia and Human Rights from the Diaspora (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 2016) in Contemporary Women Writers
  • Mirrors of Entrapment and Emancipation: Forough Farrokhzad and Sylvia Plath by Leila Rahimi Bahmany (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2015) in The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 33:3 (Summer 2016): 115-119
  • The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran by Nazila Fathi (New York: Basic Books, 2014)” in The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 33:1 (Winter 2016): 116-120
  • “A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans, ed. Persis M. Karim and Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami (New York: George Braziller, 1999), and Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora, ed. Persis M. Karim (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 2006)” in MELUS 33:2 (2008): 177-81
  • Biographical entry on Anzia Yezierska in American Working-Class Literature: An Anthology, ed. Nicholas Coles and Janet Zandy. New York: Oxford, 2007