Dr Kayvan Tahmasebian

School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Marie Curie Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I joined the University of Birmingham in August 2019 as Marie-Curie Research Fellow and PI of  TRANSMODERN, a Horizon 2020-funded project. I am Research Consultant for “Prismatic Jane Eyre” (2017-2019), a strand of the AHRC-OWRI project “Prismatic Translation,” hosted by Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT), and led by Professor Matthew Reynolds (Oxford). I also co-edited the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism (2020).

Academia.edu page


  • PhD in English Literary Studies (Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran) 


Before joining the University of Birmingham, I taught literature and translation in the University of Isfahan, Iran (2008-2017). My main areas of teaching were literary theory and literary translation theory and practice. I am the author of Sadeqi in Isfahan’s Mold (Goman, 2016), Lecture on Fear and Other Poems (Radical Paper Press, 2019), co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism (Routledge, forthcoming), and co-translator of High Tide of the Eyes: Poems by Bijan Elahi (The Operating System, 2019). My work has appeared or is forthcoming in Wasafiri, Modernism/Modernity, Twentieth Century Literature, and The Kenyon Review. My poetry and translations have appeared in Notre Dame Review, the Hawai’i Review, Salt Hill, Gramarye, West Branch, Waxwing, Asymptote, SAND, Two Lines, Columbia Journal Online, Acumen, McNeese Review, Chattahoochee Review, and Lunch Ticket, where my poems were a finalist for The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts in 2017. 


My research interests range across translation studies, comparative literature, critical theory, and modern poetry (Iranian, American, and French).


At the intersection of translation studies, comparative literature and critical theory, this Horizon 2020-funded project charts the translational scaffolding of modern Iranian literary theory. I investigate how the formation of modern Iranian critical theory and humanities is a function of sustained attempts to overcome untranslatability.

Visit the TRANSMODERN Page

Other research interests

  • I am Research Consultant for “Prismatic Jane Eyre,” a strand of the AHRC-OWRI project “Prismatic Translation,” hosted by Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT), led by Professor Matthew Reynolds (Oxford). With Rebecca Ruth Gould, I examined how twentieth century Iranian readers situated the nineteenth century British novel Jane Eyre within the classical genre of romance literature (adabiyāt-i ʿāshiqāna), originating from the tradition of love narratives in verse (ʿishq-nāma) pioneered by the twelfth century Persian poet Nizami Ganjevi.  Visit the Prismatic Jane Eyre Page
  • I’m also interested in combination of theoretical and creative methods. In my PhD research (completed in 2015), I approached the question of ‘trauma’ from an aesthetic point of view and examined it as a conceptual structure, rather than merely a disastrous thematic in the late work of Samuel Beckett. The centre of my research is constituted by my efforts to develop a creative approach to critical theory that treats it as a literary text, rather than reducing literary works to simple reflections of critical norms in the process of critical reading.
  • The first book I published (in Persian), Sadeqi in Isfahan’s Mold, inaugurated my effort to develop a mode of joint critical-creative writing. The book reads the short stories of Bahram Sadeqi, one of the leading figures of Iranian modernist fiction, in various ways, including close reading, deconstruction, poetic commentary, and marginalia. The result is a polyphonic critical text, consisting of three voices in constant dialogue with each other across the pages.