Foad Torshizi is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is also affiliated as a graduate student with the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. In 2010, he finished a Masters degree in Art History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a concentration in contemporary art and theory.

His dissertation explores the substantial expansion of Western interest in contemporary Iranian artists by examining the ways in which Western disciplinary forms, and more specifically art criticism, return home to circumscribe aesthetic diversity in Iran. Entitled “The Clarity of Meaning: Iranian Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Ethics of Reading in Art Criticism,” his project examines how Western art criticism has continuously suppressed the heterogeneity of Iranian contemporary art in favor of readily consumable social, political, and ethical messages. It examines this process as it crucially depends upon submitting the works of Iranian artists to well-rehearsed frames of intelligibility within the Western contexts of their reception, thereby demanding that the diverse aesthetic economies of Iranian artifacts align with Euro-American understandings of meaning, value, aspiration, and desire.