About Mitra Ara


(415) 338-3121


Assistant Professor

Additional Title: 

Director of Persian Studies


Foreign Languages & LitCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts


Humanities (HUM)



At SF State Since:



Dr. Mitra Ara is Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Persian Studies Program in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. Currently, she lectures in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and Middle East Studies program where she teaches cultures of the Persianate Societies in addition to the world religions, and Iranian religious traditions including the minorities’ traditions.

Professor Ara received her B.A. in Religious Studies, her M.A. in South Asian studies, and her Ph.D. in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley, with a concentration on the religions and languages of West Asia. Her research interests include Indo-Iranian cultures, mythology, cosmology and eschatology in world religions. In addition to her philanthropic efforts, her research interests have taken her all over the globe. She is the author of the books entitled Eschatology in the Indo-Iranian Traditions: The Genesis and Transformation of a Doctrine; A Lexicon of the Persian Language of Shiraz; the New Persian Writing System; the Metamorphosis of Nothingness, in addition to various articles, presentations, public speaking, and community teaching.

By establishing the first Persian Studies Minor program in the entire Californian State University system, Dr. Ara hopes to provide a uniquely designed resource for understanding, studying and appreciating Persian cultural heritage. This minor program allows students and faculty to explore Persian history, language, literature, music, arts, and culture in all its manifestations, and expose students to a broadly defined vision that spans and includes the diverse geographic and the linguistic landscape of both historic and modern Persian societies including Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan.