Donna Honarpisheh

Persian, Francophone, Anglophone
20th and 21st Century
Academic Area: 
Aesthetics, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Theory, Transregional Modernisms, Cultural Studies, Visual Culture

Research Areas


Donna Honarpisheh is a PhD candidate in the department of Comparative Literature and the designated emphasis program in Critical Theory at UC-Berkeley. She holds an MA from UC-Berkeley in Near Eastern studies (2016) and earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College (2013), where she wrote a thesis on women’s pilgrimage practices and sensory experiences in the shrines of Shiraz, Iran. Her research focuses on the aesthetics of Modernist Persian Film, Fiction, and Visual Culture, Francophone literature, and Postcolonial Theory. Her dissertation "Disordering Modernism: Madness and Aesthetics in 20th Century Iran," examines late twentieth-century Iranian modernist practices in a variety of media--fiction, film, and painting--to illuminate how they express forms of psychic disorder in the face of modernity's ordering principles. Examining artistic and literary productions between 1950-1985, her work oscillates between Iran's particular historical-political conditions -- two major revolutions, a foreign-imposed coup, semi-colonial occupation -- and aesthetic theories that draw both from local traditions and from circuits of global modernism.

Her articles have been published in Symploke, Qui Parle, IranNamag Journal of Iranian Studies, Jadaliyya, and the University of London's Journal of Islamic Shi'a Studies. She recently edited and wrote the introduction for a special issue of qui parle published in the fall of 2019 entitled "Trajectories in Race and Diaspora: Entangled Histories and Affinities of Transgression." She is also the special editor of a dossier entitled "Global Student Struggles In and Against the University" in a forthcoming issue of Critical Times.

In the fall of 2019, Donna collaborated with the Berkeley Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) to introduce several films by the late Iranian auteur, Abbas Kiarostami. For information on this almost comprehensive retrospective of Kiarostami's works please see the BAMPFA website: