Varzi is a writer, artist, filmmaker and anthropologist. She was Born
in Iran to an American mother and Iranian father and migrated to the U.S
shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
In 1991 while on a year abroad at the American University in Cairo she
returned to Iran for a short visit and found a country vibrantly alive
with an exciting underground public culture. That short trip inspired
her to return to Iran and live there for a year beginning a long set of
journeys to Iran, the most recent of which was with her husband and three-year-old
son who attended preschool there.
Varzi is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Film and
Media Studies, Persian Studies and Religious Studies. She has a Ph.D.
in Social Cultural Anthropology from Columbia. She was the recipient of
the first Fulbright to Iran since the Revolution, and the youngest Distinguished
Senior Iranian Visiting Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.
She has also held a Woodrow Wilson Post-Doctoral Fellowship at New York
University and a Markle Foundation New Media Fellow, at the Centre for
Law, Media and Society, Wolfson College, Oxford University and sabbatical
fellowships at the Wissenschaftskolleg/EUME and the Zentrum für Literatur-
und Kulturforschung (The Center for Advanced Studies) in Berlin and at
the IFK in Vienna, Austria.
Her writing has been published in The Annals of Political and Social Science,
Feminist Review, Public Culture, American Anthropologist, Eastern Art
Report and the London Review of Books. She has been quoted in the LA Times,
New York Times, Chronicle of Higher. Her short stories have appeared in
two anthologies of Iranian-American writing as well as The New York Press
and in Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly for which she won a Short Story
Award for Fiction.
is the author of two books: Warring
Souls: Media, Martyrdom and Youth in post-Revolution Iran, Duke
University Press, 2006 and 2016 Independent Publishers Gold Medal Award-winning
Scene Underground: An ethnographic novel of Iran by Stanford
University Press. Her film, Plastic
Flowers Never Die, 2009 is distributed by Documentary Educational
Resources and has been shown in Festivals all over the world. Her sound
World Blind premiered at Soundwalk in Long Beach, and
was installed in Berlin, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco and is featured
permanently at Publicbooks.org.
most recent work is a video Installation entitled Salton
Sublime about finding the sublime among environmental degradation
premiered in Berlin Germany in 2017. She is at work on her second Documentary
and her first play.