About Mitra Ara


(415) 338-3121


Associate Professor

Additional Title: 

Founding Director of Persian Studies


Foreign Languages & LitCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts


Humanities (HUM)



At SF State Since:




Dr. Mitra Ara is Associate Professor of Persian and Iranian Studies 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, both ancient and modern, in addition to the Asian and ancient Iranian religions 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 addition to her philanthropic efforts, her research interests have taken her all over the globe. She is an artist, photographer, translator, and 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; Systematic Guide to Reading and Writing Persian Language; Metamorphosis of Nothingness; and Do You See What I See (Volumes I & II), in addition to various articles, presentations, and public speaking.

By establishing the first multidisciplinary 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 and Iranian history, languages, literatures, arts, and cultures 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.