Michelle Quay

Assistant Instructional Professor
Pick 301
Office Hours: Wednesdays & Fridays, 11:30-12:30
Ph.D, University of Cambridge, 2018

Academic Bio

Michelle Quay was awarded her doctorate from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge in 2018. The primary areas of her professional engagement include Persian language & pedagogy, the literatures of early Islamic mysticism, gender studies, Persian prosody, and literary translation. As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, she undertook research for her dissertation on depictions of gender in premodern Persian literature, particularly in the writings of Farid al-Din ‘Attar and other early Sufi mystics. She also holds an M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is herself an alumna of UChicago’s NELC department, from which she received her B.A. with honors.

Prior to rejoining NELC, Dr. Quay taught Elementary and Intermediate Persian at Columbia University for three years. While at Columbia, she collaborated with the University of Birmingham GlobalLIT Project as a research fellow and translator. As part of this project on Middle Eastern literary theory, she was responsible for translating selections from medieval scholars of Persian rhetoric into English for GlobalLIT’s forthcoming anthology of Persian, Arabic, and Turkish balāghat texts. Her particular interest in literary translation is also reflected in her translations from modern Persian fiction, which have appeared in such publications as Asymptote JournalWorld Literature Today, Exchanges, Two Lines Press, and others. Additionally, she is currently at work co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Persian Literary Translation, forthcoming in 2022. 

Dr. Quay is committed to developing Persian language pedagogy, and has previously served as an executive board member of the American Association of Teachers of Persian. She has recently co-written a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy of Persian on the Communicative Approach to Persian language teaching with her colleague Dr. Latifeh Hagigi. Her interest in Persian was sparked at a young age growing up in Southern California’s ‘Tehrangeles,’ the largest Persian-speaking diaspora community in the United States. 

Recent & Regularly Taught Courses

  • PERS 10101, 10102, & 10103
  • PERS 20101, 20102, & 20103
Subject Area: Persian Language Program