Born and raised in Los Angeles, Beeta finally left Southern California for graduate school and has felt (oddly) nostalgic for the diaspora capital ever since. As a child of Isfahani parents, she takes great pride in her family’s hometown and relishes in speaking Persian with the notorious accent. Her last name has given rise to a number of different nicknames, including “baghali” and “baghali polo” which remain ever popular in Iranian circles. Beeta’s research deals with constructions of race and the transition from subject to citizen during the late Qajar period, particularly concerning the legacy of slavery and racism in Iran.
Shyan was born and raised in New York, but like any good Iranian-American, he relocated to California as soon as humanely possible. As an undergraduate he studied Anthropology, Political Economy, and Environmental Design. As a designer, he focuses on academia and is interested in UI and editorial design in non-Western aesthetics. He’s also passionate about rail transportation (routes, gauges, trains, maps, signage, you name it) and hopes to one day travel across Iran by train.
A product of the small-town Midwest, Alex has always been a “half-ghan”; feeling neither here nor there. While her undergraduate studies gave her the vocabulary to begin better understanding and challenging her view of herself and the world, spending time with her family in Kabul and Jalalabad gave her the basis from which to define her own hyphenated experience. As a journalist and web developer, she believes in creating spaces and opportunities for others to do the same. Alex is passionate about feminisms, critique of liberal-secular space and discourse, and her cat, Shamousa.
Samira was born and raised in Los Angeles before moving up to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley for her undergraduate degree. A half-Azeri, half-Rashti Iranian-American, she basically grew up hearing a lot of jokes. Samira is currently a graduate student in Middle Eastern Studies. Her research includes Iranian women’s participation in socio-political movements in the 20th century, Iranian women’s civil society organizations, and feminisms. Her other interests include ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, the Iranian diaspora, and lavashak.
Laila currently makes home in the capital of the Iranian diaspora, where there is no shortage of saffron ice cream and Persian can be learned by osmosis. On her free time she co-edits an arts journal, and enjoys tracing plant life, walking, or thinking about nothing at all. Laila hopes to return to school next year to study comparative literature.