2015 Speaker Biographies

Jo Ann Conrad is a folklorist who has researched in the field of narrative, specifically the Fairy Tale. She has taught courses on the Fairy Tale at UC Berkeley, and  has published in Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies, in Fabula: Journal of Folklore Studies, Western Folklore, The Journal of American Folklore, and has been a contributor to the Enzyklopädie des Märchens, as well as to the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales.  Conrad is currently researching the relationship between mass-produced children's picture books and fairy tales, and how these (and Disney) constitute the basis of our knowledge in the present.
Contact: joann.conrad@csueastbay.edu

Shirin A. Khanmohamadi is an Associate Professor in the Comparative and World Literature department at San Francisco State University, where she specializes in comparative medieval European literature, premodern travel and ethnographic writing, literary and cultural contact between the medieval European and Islamic worlds, and medievalism in contemporary theory and literature. Her articles have appeared in New Medieval Literatures, Exemplaria, and Arthuriana. Her study of premodern ethnographic form, In Light of Another´s Word: European Ethnography in the Middle Ages, was recently published in The University of Pennsylvania Press' Middle Ages Series (2014). See review in TMR here.
Contact: shirin1@sfsu.edgol

Sally J. Sutherland Goldman received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979, where she has taught Sanskrit and related subjects since 1981. She is the Associate Editor of the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa Translation Project. She is the co-annotator of the Bālakāṇḍa (1984), and co-translator of the Sundarakāṇḍa (1996), Yuddhakāṇḍa (2009), and the Uttarakāṇḍa (forthcoming 2016). She has lectured, taught, and published widely in the areas of Sanskrit epic and literature and traditional South Asian constructions and representations of gender. She is co-author of the Devavāṇīpraveśikā: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language (1980, 2004). She was selected as was a recepient of the the University of California at Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award for 2012 
Email: sjsg@berkeley.edu

Anne Nesbet, Associate Professor in the Slavic Department and the Department of Film and Media at U. C. Berkeley, is also an author of several books for young readers. Her first three novels were fantasies: The Cabinet of Earths (HarperCollins 2012), A Box of Gargoyles (HarperCollins 2013), and The Wrinkled Crown (HarperCollins, November 2015). Her forthcoming Cloud & Wallfish (Candlewick 2016), however, is a historical novel set in East Berlin in 1989, inspired by experiences Anne had while living in East Germany in 1987 and 1989. Anne will talk about the writing of history for children and discuss some recent and forthcoming novels about the Soviet Union and East Germany.

Fateme Montazeri is a doctorate student of Near Eastern Studies at University of California, Berkeley. In her academic work, she focuses on the study of Persian manuscripts. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Design and her master’s degree in Studies of Arts at University of Tehran. After migrating to the US, she received a second master’s degree in Islamic Arts at the Graduate Theological Union. She spent many years teaching Persian language and literature in Iran as well as in the US. In addition to scholarly work, she enjoys performing Persian calligraphy, and has attended many artistic exhibitions in the Bay Area. 
Contact: fatememon@gmail.com

Cindy Ausec was born and raised in California.  After graduating high school, she entered the US Army where she was trained as a German Linguist and spent four years in Germany.  After army service, she earned a BA in International Relations from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Cindy then re-entered the Army as an Officer, served for three more years, and then worked for McDonnell Douglas for ten years. In 1998, Cindy returned to school and earned a Masters Degree in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Arizona.  In May 2010 Cindy earned her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Religions, a joint Ph.D. program between the University of California Berkeley and the Graduate Theologian Union.  Her major is Egyptian Religion with minors in Egyptian Art and Israelite and Canaanite Bronze and Iron Age Religions.  Since then Cindy has been working as an adjunct professor at several colleges and universities in the Bay Area; teaching classes that include the History of World Religions, Religion and Philosophy, Western Civilizations, Ancient Civilizations and American History.
Contact: causec@comcast.net

Larry Reed is the Artistic Director of one of Shadowlight Productions. He one of the few Americans to be trained in wayang kulit, Balinese shadow puppetry and performed in this tradition around the world over the last 35 years. In 1972, he founded ShadowLight Productions to nurture indigenous shadow theater traditions and to explore and expand the possibilities of the shadow theatre medium. His film Shadow Master, an intimate portrait of a family of Balinese performers, aired on PBS and Discovery.  Fluent in five languages, His translations have appeared in the Asia Theater Journal and University of Hawaii Press.  As a shadow artist, designer, and director, he has collaborated with Lee Breuer, Mabou Mines, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Santa Fe and LA Operas.  As the Balinese shadow theater representative at the Indonesian National Theater Shadow Festival, he is one of few Westerners ever invited to perform at the festival.
Contact: lreed@shadowlight.org

Terri-Lynn Tanaka received her Ph.D. from the Near Eastern Studies Department at Berkeley, where she is currently teaching a course on Mesopotamian Religion.  She specializes in Mesopotamian cuneiform texts from the Old Babylonian period (early 2nd millennium BCE). Her work focuses on the use of dress to construct identity in cuneiform texts.

Gene Yang is a graphic novelist and teacher. In 2006 his book American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album – New. In 2013, First Second Books released Boxers & Saints, a two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion.  Boxers & Saints was nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. In addition cartooning, he teaches creative writing through Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Contact: geneluenyang@gmail.com
Events coordinator: kubertpuls@gmail.com