Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh

PhD Candidate – Centre for Comparative Literature – University of Toronto / Visual Artist and Independent Filmmaker, Toronto – Canada




Academic History:

-PhD Candidate of Comparative Literature, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto (2020-current)

-PhD Student of Comparative Literature, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto (2017-2020)

-World Literature, Summer Program, Harvard University, Boston-US 2019

-Master of Art in Humanities / Comparative Perspectives, Comparing Persian Sufi and English

Romantic poetry on the matter of the Sublime, York University, Toronto-Canada 2016

-A full year studies in English Romanticism, York University, Toronto-Canada 2013-14

-Bachelor of Art in English Literature, Iran 2004


Research Interest and Experiences:

– Classical Persian Poetry

– Romanticism and Romantic Poetry

– Sufi thought/Persian Sufism


-Translation Studies

– Modern Persian lyrical poetry

– Modern European thought and philosophy on theology and aesthetics

– The intersection of philosophy and the sublime aesthetics

-The intersection of the sublime aesthetics and Orientalism

-Poetry and/in visual/textual/auditory materials

-The intersection of poetry, Translation Studies, mediums of expression, aesthetics, and Orientalism

– The intersection of the sublime aesthetics and art (especially visual arts and music)

-The interrelation between aesthetics and poetics



– “The Aesthetic of Desire and the Feminine Path of Individuation: The Case of Forough Farokhzad”, The Anthropology of the Middle East, poetized Love: Affects, Gender and Society Issue: forthcoming.

-“Timeless Joy: Rumi’s Poetry and the Praxis of the Transcendental” in Timepieces, University of Toronto: Forthcoming.

-Beyond White: The Artistic Biography of Gholamhossein Nami, Tehran: Forthcoming.


Conference Invitations and Presentations:

-Forthcoming: “Bark’s Rumi: A Hermeneutic Approach”, ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association), April 2021.

-Forthcoming: “Earthly or Ethereal? The Beloved of Persian Classical Poetry”, University of British Colombia, May 2021.

– “Dance of the World, Dance of the Words: Untranslatability and Rumi’s Poetic Dance of Return”, Harvard University, July 2019.

-“Timeless Joy: Rumi’s Poetry and the Praxis of the Transcendental”, Centre for Comparative Literature’s 29th Annual Conference: Timepieces, March 2019.


Employment History

-Grant writer, bibliographer, and website aesthetician at Poetess Iranica: an exceptional and current Encyclopedic project on the women poets of the Persianate world, University of Toronto, 2020-present.

– Teaching Assistant at the University of Toronto, 2017-present.

– Research Assistant at York University, 2015-16.

– Graduate Assistant at York University, 2015-2016.


Language Skills

– Persian, multi-skills, native proficiency.

– English, multi-skills, native proficiency.

– French, multi-skills, intermediate proficiency.

– Tabar? (a language of Northern Iran), native proficiency.

– Classic Arabic, intermediate reading knowledge.


Grants, Awards, and Scholarships:

-University of Toronto internal funding for graduate students, 2017-2022.

-University of Toronto, Linda Hutcheon Award, 2017.

-York University internal funding for graduate students, 2015-16.


Teaching English as a Second Language: Educational History and Experience


Education, Certifications, and Memberships

-TESL Ontario Association (Teaching English as a Second Language) / Internationally certified

English instructors association 2012-present

-Master of Art in Teaching English, Tehran PNU, Tehran – Iran 2011

-TTC (Teachers Training Courses) – Iran, Soroush Language School 2010


Employment History

– English Instructor (both as private tutor and class instructor in Iran and Canada), 2003-present.

– ESL Instructor – Volunteer Position – at University Settlement, 2011-2012.




Art Instructors:

-Gholamhossein Nami and Fariborz Zarshenas (Painting) – Yadollah Kaboli and Mohammadreza Khosravi (Calligraphy)


Art-Related Courses:

-The Beautiful, the Sublime, and the Rest / York University 2015

-Retreating Aesthetics / University of Toronto 2017


Film and Cinema:

– Director of the feature film, Un Entranger A Paris (A Stranger in Paris) 2020

– Director of the short film, Death 2021



-Solo Abstract Calligraphic Painting Exhibition, Art Square Gallery, Toronto/ON/Canada 2017.

-Solo Abstract Calligraphic Painting Exhibition, The House of Art and Culture, Toronto/ON/Canada 2013.

-Abstract Calligraphic Painting Exhibition, Seyhoun Gallery, Los Angeles/CA/US 2013.

-Solo Abstract Calligraphic Painting Exhibition, Zar Gallery, Amol/Iran 2010.

-Solo Calligraphy Exhibition, University of Culture and Art, Esfahan/Iran 2002.

-Group Exhibitions since 1999.


Memberships and Certifications:

-Iranian Canadian Visual Artists Association (ICVAA), 2016-present.

-Iranian Calligraphers Association, 1999-present.

-Certification of Excellence in Calligraphy from the Iranian Calligraphers Association, 1999.


Employment History:

-Independent filmmaker, January 2020-present.

– Independent Visual Artist, 1999-present.

-Calligraphy instructor, The House of Culture, Amol – Iran, 1999-2001



-Illustrator and calligrapher of the Intro of Dirafsh- K?v?y?n?, a video musical album composed by Farid Elhami and performed by the renowned Iranian vocalist, Shahram Nazeri 2016

-Stage designer for the Salar Aghili and Hamnavazan Band concert in Toronto 2013.


Interviews and Broadcast:



– Persian Mirror Media, Persian Mirror Online Broadcast, Interview with Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh, 2017. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7INtN24CDQ

– Taak Pictures, Independent, Exhibition Report and Interview with Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh, 2017. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDJTKytBEFg

– VOA Persian, Shabahang, Interview with Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh, 2013. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IolcFJeKjiw&t=34s

– Andisheh TV (ATV Broadcasts) International, Ziafat, Exhibition Report and Interview with Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh, 2013. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_UCMJX1Ggc



– “In Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh’s Seclusion”, Shahrvand – Canada (Weekly Magazine), 2017. Available at: https://shahrvand.com/archives/90179

– “The Interplay of Poetry and Paint”, Shahrvand – Canada (Weekly Magazine), 2013. Available at: https://shahrvand.com/archives/42760

– Bahar Daee’s Interview with Mahdieh Vali-Zadeh, in Negarestan (Monthly Magazine), 2014.