Graduate Students

Ali A. Olomi

A. OlomiDegrees:
Ph.D. - History, UC Irvine
M.A. - History, UC Irvine
B.A.- History, UCLA

Ali. A. Olomi works on the cultural and intellectual history of the Middle East. His research focuses on protonationalism and the emergence of the Persian project under the Samanid dynasty. He studies the dynasty's alignment with ancient history with the fusion of Islamic and Zoroastrian ideas into the formation of a unique identity. His previous research focused on the pan-Islamic movement of Al Afghani. He hopes to marry the two projects through a genealogy of nationalism in the Persianate world and the Middle East. He also has a keen interest in world history.

Hesam Abedini

Ph.D. - Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology, UC Irvine
B.A. - Music Composition, UC San Diego

Hesam Abedini is an Iranian-American performer, composer and improviser residing in Irvine, CA. His work crosses the boundaries between idioms as wide as contemporary music, classical Iranian music and free improvisation. Hesam’s music have been performed by various musicians and ensembles such as, selected members of the Atlas Ensemble, Del Sol Quartet, and Mark Dresser’s Bass Ensemble. He is the founding member of the Sibarg, a world music ensemble that combines traditional Iranian and Jazz music in order to create a sense of unity and peace and facilitate interculturalism. Since 2011, under the supervision of Dr. Hossein Omoumi, Hesam has studied classical Iranian music and directed the NEA-sponsored Documentary film “From Isfahan to Iran”. He is a graduate of the Tehran Music Conservatory and holds his B.A. in Music Composition with honors from the University of California, San Diego. He studied music composition with Dr. Lei Liang, Chinary Ung, Anthony Davis and improvisation with Mark Dresser. Currently, Hesam is pursuing his Ph.D. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at the University of California, Irvine as a Provost PhD Fellow.

Arnold Alahverdian

Curriculum Vitae

B.A. – History, California State University, Northridge, 2013
Minor – Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
M.A. – History, University of California, Irvine, 2015
Ph.D. – History, University of California, Irvine

Arnold Alahverdian obtained his B.A. degree from CSU Northridge, where his studies mainly dealt with Middle Eastern history, society, and politics. He attended UC Irvine for his M.A. degree in history. Arnold’s M.A. thesis, “Masculinity and Militant Piety in Defying Yazdgerd II,” traces the militant manifestations of masculine traits attributed as virtue to defiant martyrs in Sasanian hagiographies reflecting on mid-fifth century persecutions. His areas of interest include matters regarding group identity, communal boundaries, and violence in the Sasanian Empire and the larger world of Late Antiquity. The soon-to-be Ph.D. student and Professor Touraj Daryaee’s research assistant is also a curious student of world history.     

Adib Ghorbani

GhorbaniPh.D. - Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology, UC Irvine

Adib Ghorbani is an Iranian Pianist, composer, and improviser. He earned his bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the Art University of Tehran and his master’s degree in music composition at Tehran University. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student in ICIT program at UCI.

He has various compositions in different genres for orchestras, contemporary ensembles, choirs, jazz ensembles, improvisers, movies, and plays. As a theater composer, he has collaborated with well-known Iranian directors such as Ali Rafiee. Adib as an improviser and performer has had concerts and recordings with musicians from all around the world such as Enzo Favata (Italian saxophonist), Marcello Peghin (Italian guitarist), Samuel Rohrer (Swedish drummer), Joe Begre Myre (Norwegian double bass player), and Andreas Knustrad (Norwegian Drummer). He also had the honor to play in many live performances with one of the pioneers of future jazz, Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvear in Iran.

About his recent activities, he has performed on stage and recorded an album with Joe Berger, Andreas Knustrod and Soheil Shayesteh as Saboo Quartet Project, which will be released in 2018 in Norway.

Deanna Kashani

Ph.D. - Visual Studies, UC Irvine
M.A - Visual Studies, UC Irvine
B.A - History of Modern Middle East and History of Modern South Asia, Brown Universirty

Research interests include modern and contemporary Iranian art, history of exhibition practices in Iran, ethics in museum practices, issues of national identity and repatriation, arts activism and feminist studies.

Soodabeh Malekzad

MalekzadPh.D - History, UC Irvine

Interests: Sassanian history, Ancient languages of Persia, Dialects of
modern Fars, Persian Folklore and its roots in Ancient Sassanian and
Zoroastrian beliefs and customs

Babak Mazloumi

Ph.D - Comparative Literature, UC Irvine
M.A. - Humanities & Social Thought, New York University, 2015

Research Interests: Contemporary Persian literature, literary translation (theory and practice), literary geography and cartography, literature and philosophy.

Assal Rad

Ph.D - History, UC Irvine
MA - History, UC Irvine, 2008
BA - Psychology, UC Irvine, 2005

She is interested in the modern Middle East, with an emphasis on modern Iran. As a PhD student at UCI she intends to explore the development of nationalism and identity in 20th century Iran.

Niloufar Shiri

Ph.D. - Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology, UC Irvine
B.A - Music Composition, UC San Diego

Niloufar Shiri (b.1992), composer, Kamancheh player, and improviser is a graduate of the Tehran Music Conservatory where she closely worked with Maestro Saeed Farajpouri on Kamancheh Performance. Niloufar received her bachelor with honor in composition from the University of California, San Diego where she studied composition with Professors Lei Liang, Katherina Rosenberger, and improvisation with Mark Dresser. In conjunction with her studies at UC San Diego, she has also been directly studying and researching Persian Classical Music with Maestro Hossein Omoumi, a Professor at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine since 2010. In 2012, the research received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in integrated composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT) at University of California, Irvine where she has been awarded provost Ph.D. fellowship from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts as well as a UC Irvine Diversity Recruitment Fellowship.