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Arang Keshavarzian

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies ; Director of Graduate Studies

PhD 2003, Department of Politics, Princeton University MA 1996, University of Washington, Seattle BA 1994, Washington University, St. Louis

Office Address: 

50 Washington Square South, Room 203 New York, NY 10012





Personal Homepage:

Courses Taught:

Undergraduate courses taught in recent past:
Politics of the Middle East, a survey lecture course taught annually
The Persian Gulf and the US from Aramco to NYU-AD, seminar
Social movements and revolutions in the Middle East, seminar

Graduate Courses taught in recent past:
Transnational Middle East
Imperialism and Hegemony in the Middle East
Reading course on Modern and Contemporary Iran

Areas of Research/Interest: 

Comparative politics of the Middle East; political economy; modern Iran, Persian Gulf; transnationalism, imperialism; urban politics


My general fields of research and teaching are comparative politics of the Middle East with a focus on issues related to political economy, transnationalism, and contentious politics in authoritarian contexts. Much of my research and writing focuses on modern Iran and the Persian Gulf, although I have studied, conducted research, and taught in several other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Turkey.

My research has revolved around questions of change and continuity as reflected and produced by socio-economic hierarchies, political imperatives, spatial practices, and collective solidarities. The book, Bazaar and State in Iran, was based on my dissertation research and engages with the literature on networks and political institutions in order to trace the structure of the Tehran Bazaar under the Pahlavi monarchy and Islamic Republic, and shed light on the organization and governance of markets as well as state-society dynamics, more generally. The analysis stresses unintended consequences, while identifying mechanisms and contradictions that traverse the immediate issue of bazaars and the Iranian case. I have also published articles on clergy-state relations and authoritarian survival in Iran. My current research examines the Persian Gulf in order to analyze the processes of late imperialism and globalization from the perspective of local circuits of trade and transnational alliances. By examining global, imperial, regional, and local political economies since the late nineteenth century, I seek to locate the Gulf in various modes and in relation to multiple scales of political control and economic production. In this pursuit, I have studied ports, urbanization, free trade zones, geopolitical imaginaries, and labor movements in the Gulf region. My essays have appeared in journals such as Politics and Society, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Geopolitics, Arab Studies Journal, and Economy and Society in addition to a number of edited volumes.

I teach both undergraduates and graduate students. I offer an introductory survey of Middle East politics of undergrads and more specialized seminars on such topics as “Iranian politics in comparative perspective” “Social Movements and Protests in the Middle East,” and “The Persian Gulf and United States from ARAMCO to NYU-AD.” My graduate teaching includes a seminar surveying approaches to the study of Middle East politics and more thematic courses related to my research and student interests, such as "Imperialism and Hegemony in the Middle East" and “Transnational Middle East.”

Selected Publications: 

Bazaar and State in Iran: Politics of the Tehran Marketplace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Selected Journal Articles
“When Ties Don’t Bind: Smuggling Effects, Bazaars, and Regulatory Regimes in Postrevolutionary Iran,” (co-authored with Narges Erami) Economy and Society 44,1(2015), 110-139

“Analyzing Authoritarianism in an Age of Uprisings,” Arab Studies Journal, 12,1(Spring 2014), 342-357

Special Section in Geopolitics: “Transnational Connections in the Middle East: Political Economy, Security and Geopolitical Imaginaries,” (co-edited with Waleed Hazbun), Geopolitics 15,2 (May 2010)

“Geopolitics and the Genealogy of Free Trade Zones in the Persian Gulf,” Geopolitics 15,2 (May 2010), 263-289

“Regime Loyalty and Bazari Representation under the Islamic Republic of Iran: Dilemmas of the Society of Islamic Coalition,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 41, 2 (May 2009)

“Turban or Hat, Seminarian or Soldier: State Building and Clergy Building in Reza Shah’s Iran,” Journal of Church and State 45,1 (Winter 2003), 81 -112

“State-Building and Religious Resources: An Institutional Theory of Church-State Relations in Iran and Mexico,” (co-authored with Anthony Gill) Politics and Society 27,3(September 1999), 431-465

Selected Essays in Edited Volumes
"Places in Shadows, Networks in Transformation: An Analysis of Tehran Bazaar's Publicness," in Publics, Politics, and Participation: Locating the Public Sphere in the Middle East and North Africa, Seteney Shami (ed), (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2009), 205-234

“Contestation without Democracy: Elite Fragmentation in Iran,” in Authoritarianism in the Middle East: Regimes and Resistance, Marsha Pripstein Posusney and Michelle Penner Angrist (eds.), (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005), 63-88

Selected Short Pieces
“Beyond 1979 and 2011: When Comparisons Distract,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 44,1(2012), 159-161

“A War on Multiple Fronts,” (co-authored with Nida Alahmad), Middle East Report 257(Winter 2010), 17-28

“Ahmadinejad the Weak,” Foreign Policy, July 19, 2010

“Tehran, June 2009,” Kaveh Ehsani, Arang Keshavarzian and Norma Claire Moruzzi, Middle East Report Online, June 28, 2009

“Clash of Neoconservatives? The Bush Administration and Iran’s New President,” Foreign Policy in Focus, August 10, 2005

“Tehran Bazaar: Continuity or Transformation?” Goft-o-gu 41 (Bahman 1383 [January 2005]), 11-47. [In Persian]

“Field Research, Research Design, and the Tehran Bazaar,” International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World Newsletter 13(December 2003), 50-51


Grant-in-Aid from the Humanities Initiative, New York University. Funding for Junior Scholars Workshop on Iranian Studies. Spring 2013

Visiting Research Fellowship, Niehaus Center for Governance and Globalization, Princeton University, September 2008 – June 2009

R. F. Johnson Faculty Development Funds, Connecticut College 2006-2008

Établissement de nouveaux professeurs-chercheurs, Funds Québecois des recherche sur la société et la culture, 2004-2007

Center for International Studies, Princeton University, Summer Research Grant, 2000

Council on Regional Studies, Princeton University, Summer Research Grant, 2000 and 2001

Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship, Summer 2000

Social Science Research Council, International Predissertation Fellowship June 1998-June 1999

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships at University of Washington, Columbia University, and Princeton University in various years

Updated on 09/15/2016