Heather is currently a University of California Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Asian American Studies at UC Davis. From 2016 – 2018, she was the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies in the department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. Heather earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. As an undergraduate first-generation, community college transfer student, Heather was a McNair scholar at the University of Washington, where she received her B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization (with a focus on Persian Studies), with minors in Anthropology and Dance.
Heather’s research extends upon two decades as a dancer, choreographer, dramaturge, and curator among Iranian American communities. Her scholarship examines the lives and artistic works of immigrant and diasporic Iranian dancers and performance artists residing in North America and Western Europe. She engages in ethnography, discourse analysis, and movement / choreographic analysis to investigate the racialized and gendered economies of Iranian performance in transnational art markets and among diasporic audiences. She examines these artists’ works in relation to Euro-American geopolitics and (neo)liberal discourses on immigration, citizenship, the “war on terror,” and the dancing/performing body. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, tentatively titled Choreographing the Iranian Diaspora: Dance and Spectatorship in the Era of War on Terror, which has been selected for the Dance Studies Association’s “Series in Dance History” 2019 First-time Author Mentorship Program. Upcoming publications include essays in the anthologies The Futures of Dance Studies (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020) and Performing Iran: Cultural Identity and Theatrical Performance (I.B. Tauris, 2020).
At Stanford and UC Berkeley, Heather taught a wide range of undergraduate lecture and studio-based courses that draw from her interdisciplinary research interests, which include dance & performance studies, transnational & postcolonial feminist theories, queer theories, critical race studies, comparative ethnic studies, and (diasporic) Iranian & Middle Eastern studies.
Heather has presented her research at a variety of international academic conferences, including the Dance Studies Association, American Society for Theatre Research, Performance Studies International, American Studies Association, National Women’s Studies Association, and the International Conference on Islamophobia Studies.
Heather’s scholarship has been supported by UC Chancellor’s and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships, the University of California Dissertation Year Fellowship, the UC Berkeley Graduate Division Mentored Research Award, Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Vice President Achievement Award, the University of Washington McNair Scholars Program Research Grant, and the National Achievement Scholarship Program (NASP) Scholarship, among others.