Our Mission

The mission of the Iranian Studies Initiative is to create a home at NYU for academics, intellectuals and public figures committed to deepening our understanding of Iranian history, society and culture. The Initiative will organize events that reflect a broadly interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of Iran. Ultimately, the ISI’s mission is to create an Iranian Studies Institute at NYU.

Iranian Studies Initiative Steering Committee

Ali Mirsepassi

Ali Mirsepassi

Director

Ali Mirsepassi is Professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. From 2002 to 2007, he held several administrative posts in the Gallatin School Deans’ Office, including Interim Dean. As a Carnegie Scholar (2007-2009), his research project examined Western influence on political Islam. His teaching interests include social theories of modernity, comparative and historical sociology, sociology of religion, Middle Eastern societies and cultures, and Islam and social change. He is the author of several works, the most recent being Democracy in Modern Iran (NYU Press, 2010) Professor Mirsepassi has received numerous awards and grants for his work, including the Iranian Best Researcher of the Year in 2001.

Arang Keshavarzian

Arang Keshavarzian

Committee Member

Arang Keshavarzian earned his PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton University in 2003 and joined the Department of Middle East & Islamic Studies in 2009. His research and teaching interests include the politics and political economy of the modern Middle East, Iranian history, and transnational approaches to the Persian Gulf. His book, Bazaar and State in Iran traces the multiple and intersecting transformations in relations within and beyond the Tehran Bazaar under the Pahlavi monarchy and the Islamic Republic. Among his publications are journal articles and book chapters on clergy-state relations, smuggling, authoritarian survival, and geopolitics and geo-economics.

Shouleh Vatanabadi

Shouleh Vatanabadi

Committee Member

Shouleh Vatanabadi teaches Global Cultures in the Liberal Studies Program at NYU. Her areas of specialization include: Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies; Middle East Studies; Iranian Studies. and Transnational Studies. Her current work involves the politics of translation the global South-North and South - South cultural flows. She has co-editor and co-translated of the award winning book, A Feast in the Mirror: Stories by Contemporary Iranian Women), and Another Sea, another Shore: Persian Stories of Migration. She has published a number of articles as book chapters and scholarly journals like Cultural Studies, World Literature Today and Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies.

Narges Bajoghli

Narges Bajoghli

Committee Member

Narges Bajoghli is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural Anthropology at New York University. Narges‘ research focuses on pro-regime cultural producers in Iran. Her dissertation is entitled: "Paramilitary Media: Revolution, War, and the Making of the Islamic Republic of Iran," and was awarded dissertation research grants from the Social Science Research Council, The Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, NYU’s Torch Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation (awarded/declined). She is a NYU Humanities Institute Fellow for 2015-16.

Mehdi Khorrami

Mehdi Khorrami

Committee Member

Mehdi Khorrami teaches Persian language and literature at NYU. His research fields include modern Persian language and literature and nineteenth-century French Literature. His most recent book, Literary Subterfuge and Contemporary Persian Fiction: Who Writes Iran? (2015) focuses on identifying classical and modern rhetorical and aesthetic dynamisms and their functions in forming literary discourses. He is the founder and co-director of the Association for the Study of Persian Literature.

Peter Chelkowski

Peter Chelkowski

Committee Member

Peter Chelkowski is professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. His research and teaching interests include literature, mysticism, Islamic studies and performing arts of the Middle East. A two-time winner of the Golden Dozen Teaching Award at NYU, he has published several books, including Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran, co-authored with H. Dabashi (1999, Booth-Clilborn Editions), and Ta`ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran (1979, NYU Press).

Sheida Dayani

Sheida Dayani

Committee Member

Sheida Dayani is a PhD candidate at the department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. Her research is on modern theatre and playwriting in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Iran with a focus on performance, translation, and political resistance. She also serves as a steering committee member of Iranian Studies Initiative at NYU.
Sheida’s research interests draw on her previous graduate background in legal and political history, and her professional background in legal research at Federal Defenders of New York. Sheida has taught Persian at NYU and Hunter College, in addition to assisting to teach early Islamic history at NYU.

Nahid Mozaffari

Nahid Mozaffari

Committee Member

Dr. Nahid Mozaffari is currently Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. She has previously taught at NYU in New York and Paris and at the New School for Social Research. She received her PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. Nahid is a member of the research team of Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran, a digital archive of textual, oral and visual materials related to the lives of women during the Qajar era (1796-1925) based at Harvard University. She is currently writing and editing The History of Slavery in Qajar Iran.