Leila Pazargadi

Leila Pazargadi

Associate Professor of English, Nevada State College
Chapter Leader: Nevada SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Leila

Pazargadi's research focuses on Middle Eastern women writers producing autobiographical material in fiction and nonfiction after 9/11, but it also extends to include scholarship on the visual forms such as comics and Iranian photography. Pazargadi is also passionate about working with first-generation college students, co-founding the Nepantla Summer Bridge Program, which helps transition Clark County high school students to college during their first summer after high school. She is also engaged in policy work through her collaboration with local state legislators, as well as advocacy work through her chapter union at Nevada State College.


Why Nevada Needs the Nepantla Program and Others Like It

  • Christopher S. Harris


"Learning to Listen: The Power of Transnational Life Storytelling" a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (forthcoming).

Offers a personal reflection about the power of life storytelling, especially, as it relates to empowering first-generation and transnational students, who are crossing physical and figurative borders. Draws on narrative theory and autobiographical theory to explore the implementation of storytelling for first-generation during the Nepantla Summer Bridge Program at Nevada State College.

"Unfixing the Autobiographical Subject: Fragmentation of Form and Identity in Rabih Alameddine’s I, the Divine" in Arab American Aesthetics, edited by Therí Pickens (Routledge, 2018).

Evaluates the fluid form of the fictional memoir, I, the Divine, as a parallel for the complexity of Arab American hybrid identity, capable of changing and transforming. Argues the malleability of the text allows for a constantly evolving identity that is changing, shifting, and revising, contrary to the notion that Arab American women are static, flat, or interchangeable.

"Re/calling Scheherazad: Mohja Kahf’s American Muslim Poetics" Special Issue: Contemporary Muslim Women of Gender Forum 65 (2017): 28-49.

Traces the motif of storytelling in Emails from Scheherazad to determine how in autobiographical poetics, the author rejects Islamophobic critics through reclaiming one’s own story. Drawing on Arab American studies scholars like Steven Salaita, Leila Ahmed, Waïl Hassan, and Nouri Gana and fusing their criticisms with research conducted by autobiographical studies scholars like Sidonie Smith, Julia Watson, and Nawar al-Hassan Golley, this article bridges gaps between Middle Eastern literary studies and autobiographical studies. In doing so, it illustrates the way in which Kahf challenges discriminatory attitudes against Muslims as she stitches American Muslims into the fabric of ethnic American literature.

"Picturing Qajar Persia: A Gift to Major-General Henry Creswicke Rawlinson" (with Frances Terpak). Getty Research Journal 5 (2014): 47-62.

Focuses on a photograph album that Colonel Luigi Pesce created and gave, in 1860, to the British consul in Tehran, Major‐General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson. The album's 42 photographs represent some of the first‐ever taken of Nasi̅r al‐Din Shah's court; the city gates, mosques, and vicinity of Tehran; and the ruins and reliefs of Persepolis, Naqsh‐e Rostam, and Ta̅q‐e Ba̅sta̅n. As a visual artifact with a historically precise provenance and a known maker and recipient, the Rawlinson album helps to frame the early history of photography in Persia and provides insight into how images contributed to imperial agendas and nation building.