Beeta Baghoolizadeh – Founder and DirectorBeeta Baghoolizadeh (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is an Assistant Professor of History and Critical Black Studies at Bucknell University. She is currently working on her book project, tentatively titled, The Color Black: Enslavement and Erasure in Iran. The Color Black draws on visual, textual, and spatial sources to examine how the term “black” came to take on different meanings throughout each phase of abolition, emancipation, and the lasting legacies of enslavement. Dr. Baghoolizadeh is the director of the Ajam Digital Archive and the artist behind “Diaspora Letters.” She serves as the Resident Historian for the Collective for Black Iranians.
Matilda Melkonian – Assistant CuratorMatilda Melkonian is an assistant curator for the Ajam Digital Archive, currently double majoring in History and Arabic at Bucknell University (’22). Born and raised in New York City with an Italian mother and a father of Armenian descent, Matilda has always been intrigued by her own family history. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in immigrants’ rights in New York City.
Brandon Waldau – Assistant CuratorBrandon is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.A. in History and Arabic at Bucknell University (‘22) with a special interest in carceral theory. Studying Arabic since his first-year, Brandon planned to study abroad in Amman, Jordan in Spring 2021; however, COVID-19 now requires him to continue his studies remotely from his hometown of Santa Clarita, CA. Rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers, Brandon has been spending his free time watching the NBA Playoffs with his mom and sister.
Mira Xenia Schwerda – Digital Exhibitions CuratorMira Xenia Schwerda (PhD, Harvard) teaches at the University of Edinburgh. Her book manuscript-in-progress focuses on the Iranian Constitutional Revolution as a visual history of political change brought about by the triad of the telegraph, printing press, and photography. She is also a co-founder of the Virtual Islamic Art History Seminar Series and a founding member of the digital pedagogy initiative "Khamseen."
The Ajam Digital Archive has been supported by the University of Pennsylvania's Dean's New Media Grant, the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program, Bucknell University's Mellon Confounding Problems Grant, and Ajam Media Collective.