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Sanam Dolatshahi

Photo by Andrea Morales - Communigator


I have a B.A in English Translation and an M.A in English Literature from Tehran Azad University. My master's thesis was "An Analytic Study of Women Characters in James Joyce's Dubliners under the Light of Feminism." Soon after I got into graduate school in Iran, I realized that I don't like studying literature as an academic field. To me, literature is a soul's companion to read, enjoy, and contemplate. Academic analysis of literature just makes me feel like treating literature as mathematics. So, when I came to the US, I decided to change my major and pursue my dream of studying journalism. My background in working with women's rights groups in Iran also made me interested in the University of Florida's women's studies program. I was lucky enough to get an admission from both UF College of Journalism and Communications and UF Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research and thus study both programs concurrently. My tentative graduation date is May 2008.


I am a research assistant at UF center for women's studies and gender research. I have had the great opportunity of working with Dr. Florence Babb in academic years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

In Iran, I used to be a freelance translator for some newspapers and organizations. I was also an English teacher for four years. A big part of my time however, was and is dedicated to online activities. I am one of the first Iranian women who started writing blogs in Iran. I was the editor of Iran's first e-zine, Cappuccino, for a year. I have been the editor of the English section of Women in Iran, the first news Web site for women in Iran, for three years, and I have also worked as Women in Iran's webmaster. I am the webmaster of Mehrangiz Kar official Web site as well. Mehrangiz Kar is one of the most prominent Iranian lawyers and human rights' and women rights' activists who has been in exile in the US for four years. She is banned from being published in Iran; therefore, her Web site is working as an alternative platform to make her voice being heard among Iranian community inside and outside Iran.

Currently I'm collaborating with an NGO, Center of Women of Iran (CWI), to develop an online network for women in different provinces of Iran. The network will be consisted of a sister website and an online forum for each province of Iran. A mother website will connect all the sister websites and hopefully will provide an opportunity for Iranian women activists in different cities of Iran to cover news related to women in their provinces and to network with activists in other provinces.

My future goal is working in the media section of an international human rights or women's rights NGO, gain some professional experience, build networks, and then return to Iran and develop my collaborations with CWI.

Research Interest

My research interests include social movements, especially women's movements, and the way they employ communication tools for resistance, protest, networking, and mobilization purposes. I'm interested in the role of online media in the formation of collective identity in social movements and its impact on framing and meaning making in the movements. Specifically, my work is focused on the role of the Internet in Iran's contemporary women's movement.

I believe that media plays an important role in the reproduction and sustainability of oppressive hegemonic discourses such as patriarchy, racism, gender discrimination, and class hierarchies. Therefore, I believe that media can have a great impact on the activities that pursue social change. I believe that academic programs such as women's studies, queer studies, sociology, and anthropology cannot play an important role in creating social change, unless they get closer to the mass media and communicate their theories with the public through various media outlets. Thus, I'm interested in studying alternative media platforms, such as feminist websites and blogs, and explore the ways they can bridge the theory/action gap.


I was born in Tehran in 1977. I came to the US in 2004 to study and to join my partner who was a graduate student at UF on that time.

My passions include the Internet, independent cinema, theatre, alternative Rock and traditional Persian music, reading, writing, and blogging. I'm a great cook and I hope I can open my own Persian café one day!

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