Fatemeh Shams

Assistant Professor of Persian Literature, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations


Dr. Fatemeh Shams is a specialist in Persian literature. Her fields of interest include social history of modern Persian literature, classical and modern prose, literary institutions and their role in the literary production under authoritarian states, ideology, censorship and official literature in Modern Iran.  She is, in particular, an expert on modern Persian literature, social history of post-revolutionary official literature and the politics of literary production in Iran. Her recent book A Revolution in Rhyme: Poetic Co-option Under the Islamic Republic (Oxford University Press, 2020) is a study of the post-revolutionary literary scene with specific reference to the official poets of the Islamic Republic and the role played by the state in the field of literary production as well as the way in which it uses literature in identity construction.

She is the author of a number of works including Literary Institutions in Post-revolutionary Period: A Detailed History of Howzeh-ye Honari (2013), State-Sponsored Poetry in Iran (2014), Poetry and Power in Iran (2014), Ideology of Warfare and Islamic Republican War Poetry (2015); A Revolution in Rhyme: Poetic Co-option Under the Islamic Republic (Oxford University Press, 2020). As the Wolf Humanities Center Fellow at UPenn, Fatemeh completed a project on gravestone poems in contemporary Iran; a case study of tombstone poems in contemporary Iran. Currently along with her book project, Fatemeh is working on a parallel project on liminal spaces in literary texts with specific focus on modern Persian poetry.

She earned her Ph.D in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford, Wadham College. Before joining Penn, she has taught Persian language and literature in various academic institutions including University of Oxford, University of SOAS and Courtauld Institute of Art in United Kingdom. Beside her academic expertise, Fatemeh is also an award-winning poet with three published collections.