Farzaneh Milani completed her graduate studies in Comparative Literature in 1979 at the University of California in Los Angeles. Her dissertation, “Forugh Farrokhzad: A Feminist Perspective” was a critical study of the poetry of a pioneering Iranian poet. A past president of the Association of Middle Eastern Women Studies in America, Milani was the recipient of All University Teaching Award in 1998 and nominated for Virginia Faculty of the Year in 1999.

Milani has published over 100 articles, epilogues, forewords, and afterwords in Persian and in English. She has served as the guest editor for two special issues of Nimeye-Digar, Persian Language Feminist Journal (on Simin Daneshvar and Simin Behbahani), IranNameh (on Simin Behbahani), and Iranian Studies: Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies (on Simin Behbahani). She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Ms. Magazine, Readers Digest, USA Today, Daily Progress, and N.P.R.’s All Things Considered. She has presented more than 250 lectures nationally and internationally. A former director of Studies in Women and Gender and Chair of the department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, Milani is Raymond J. Nelson Professor of Persian Literature and Women Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She was a Carnegie Fellow (2006-2007).

The Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy invited Milani to join it as a member of its Board of External Experts for Literature in 2021. Milani will serve in that capacity for three years. 

Selected Publications:

The Literary Biography of Forugh Farrokhzad with Unpublished Letters (Persian Circle, 2017); translateed into Arabic (Beirut: daralrafidain, 2018)

Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement (Syracuse University Press, 2011)

An Iranian Icarus: The Life and Poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad (in progress)

A Cup of Sin: Selected Poems of Simin Behbahani, with Kaveh Safa (Syracuse University Press, 1999)

Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers (Syracuse University Press, 1992)

First Name: 
Professor of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures and Women, Gender & Sexuality
Computing ID: 
Office Address: 

Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures
131 New Cabell Hall
PO Box 400781
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Women, Gender & Sexuality
201 Levering Hall
PO 400172
Charlottesville, VA 22904


B.A., California State University

M.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles

Office Hours: 
Spring 2024: Tuesday, 3:30-5:00pm, and by appointment