Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi

Instructional Professor of Persian
Pick Hall 303
Office Hours: Friday 10:30-11:30am (please make an appointment by email)
Ph.D., University of Ottawa, 2012
Teaching at UChicago since 2021

Academic Bio

Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi is a linguist and a literary translator. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics with a focus on psycholinguistics from the University of Ottawa in Canada in 2012. Prior to that, she had received another Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics with a focus on translation from Tehran Azad University in 2004.

At the University of Chicago, she teaches Persian language and culture at all proficiency levels as well as Media Persian and Persian Literary Translation. Before joining the University of Chicago, she taught Persian language and linguistics as well as Persian literature and translation at McGill University (2006-2021), the University of Oxford (2014-2015), the University of Chicago (summer 2008), and Tehran Azad University (1997-2004).

Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi’s research focuses on teaching and learning Persian as a second language, as well as Persian literary translation. She is interested in applying the theoretical concepts of linguistics and applied linguistics in her teaching of the Persian language to facilitate the acquisition of the language for second language learners of Persian. To that end, she has published four textbooks for Persian learners, namely The Routledge Introductory Persian Course (coauthor, Routledge, 1st edition 2010 and 2nd edition 2020and The Routledge Intermediate Persian Course (coauthor, Routledge, 1st edition 2012 and 2nd edition 2023), The Routledge Advanced Persian Course (author, Routledge, 2020), and What the Persian Media Says (author, Routledge, 2015). In order to make available the research conducted in the field of teaching and learning Persian as a second language to scholars and students, she edited a volume, entitled The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy of Persian (2020) that encompasses theoretical and practical concepts of Persian language teaching and learning. Hence, it is useful both to the instructors and to the students of Persian language. She has also co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics (2018), to which she has contributed two chapters, one on the history of teaching Persian as a second language, and the other on Persian psycholinguistics. Her latest co-edited volume is The Art of Teaching Persian Literature: From Theory to Practice (Brill 2024), to which she has contributed a chapter on the domain analysis of a Persian literary translation course.

Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi has a passion for languages and how they work. Being a multilingual herself, she always finds it intriguing to compare and contrast the structure and the lexicon of two or more languages. To that end, she has published a book on how Persian speakers process compound verbs in Persian, namely Processing Compound Verbs in Persian: A Psycholinguistic Approach to Complex Predicates (Leiden University Press, 2014), and a book on the practice of translation, namely Translation Metacognitive Strategies (VDM Verlag, 2009), and she co-edited a volume on translating Persian literature into English, entitled The Routledge Handbook of Persian Literary Translation (2022).

In the practice of translation, she has done some translation for several legal offices and the court in Canada, but when it comes to translating a book, she believes in collaborative translation where a source language native speaker works closely with a target language native speaker. Therefore, she has co-translated several books to date, including a historical book called The Thousand Families: Commentary on Leading Political Figures of Nineteenth Century Iran by Ali Shabani (with Patricia Higgins, Peter Lang, 2018), several novels, namely Hafez in Love: A Novel (Hafez-e Nashenide-Pand) by Iraj Pezeshkzad (with Patricia Higgins, Syracuse University Press, 2021), Island of Bewilderment: A Novel of Modern Iran (Jazire-ye Sargardani) by Simin Daneshvar (with Patricia Higgins, Syracuse University Press, 2022), The Bewildered Cameleer: A Novel of Modern Iran (Sareban Sargardan) by Simin Daneshvar (with Patricia Higgins, Syracuse University Press, 2023), and finally a poetry collection, entitled The Eight Books: A Complete English Translation (Hasht Ketab) by Sohrab Sepehri (with Prashant Keshavmurthy, Brill, 2021). Her forthcoming translation is Fariba Vafi’s Dreaming of Tibet (with Patricia Higgins).

In addition, she has contributed book chapters to edited volumes as well as articles to peer-reviewed journals, such as the Literary Text Research, Iranian Studies, and Iran Namag, and she has been guest-editor of two Special Issues of Iran Namag, a peer-reviewed quarterly of Iranian Studies, published by the University of Toronto, namely Iran Namag: Iraj Pezeshkzad Special Issue. University of Toronto. Volume 7, Number 2, Summer 2024, and Iran Namag: Sohrab Sepehri Special Issue. University of Toronto. Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 2024.

Other than teaching and research, Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi serves as reviewer for various academic journals, including International Journal of Iranian Studies, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Sage Open Journal, Frontiers in Psychology, International Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, and LINGUA. In addition, she served as President of the American Association of Teachers of Persian from 2018 to 2020. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, in person and on social media, listen to Persian classical music, read Persian novels and poetry, and paint. She also likes to go for walks and enjoy nature and architecture.


Recent & Regularly Taught Courses

  • Elementary Persian (PERS 10101, 10102, & 10103)
  • Intermediate Persian (PERS 20101, 20102, & 20103)
  • Media Persian (PERS 20500)
  • Persian Literary Translation (PERS 20502)

Selected Publications

Book Chapters and Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles


Subject Area: Persian Language Program