Thanks to a grant from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, the University of Arizona has hired Austin O'Malley, a new faculty member in Persian Studies to be housed in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and to work with the newly established Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Persian and Iranian Studies.
O'Malley received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 2017 and is a scholar of Persian literature, language, and culture with a focus on didacticism and rhetoric. He is working on two monographs and multiple peer-reviewed journal articles. O’Malley, who is currently a lecturer of Persian at Northwestern University, will begin at the UA in fall 2017.
“Dr. O’Malley was selected for the position of Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian and Iranian Studies from among an impressively large and qualified pool of applicants,” said Kamran Talattof, the Roshan Institute Chair in Persian and Iranian Studies. Talattof added that O’Malley was chosen because of the “quality of his research, his impressive teaching style, and his incredible ability to connect with faculty and students.”
Last spring, the UA announced that Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute committed $2 million to facilitate the creation of the Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, or GIDP, in Persian and Iranian Studies, including a new endowed faculty chair and an endowed professorship.
Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute supports cultural and educational activities that help the transmission and instruction of Persian language and culture. Founded in 2000, the institute has awarded millions in grants for the strengthening or establishment of academic Persian programs throughout the world.
With the hiring of O’Malley – as well as the recent approval of graduate degrees in Persian and Iranian studies – the components of the Roshan GIDP are in place. The program offers M.A., Ph.D., and Minor degrees focusing on modern or classical Persian literature, Iranian (or other Persian-speaking societies’) culture, history, religion, social organization, and politics. Students are required to achieve superior language competency in Persian.
The program benefits from the long tradition of Persian and Iranian studies at the UA School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Studies. The Roshan GIDP will create a pipeline of experts in one of the oldest and most critical areas of the world and prepare graduates to work in academic, public, and private positions where extensive and expert knowledge of Iran or other Persian-speaking societies is required.
“The Roshan GIDP Program will be a permanent, nationally recognized home for the continuous pursuit of excellence in Persian and Iranian studies," Talattof said.