Intellectual History of Iran; Political and Religious Culture of Early Modern Middle East; Islamic Mysticism
My passion for history and literature began at an early age in Shiraz, where I was introduced to medieval Persian poetry and Iran’s ancient history. Later, much later, as a historian of Iran and the Middle East, I became deeply fascinated with Sufism (Islamic mysticism) and its connections to political theology during the early modern period, an era of great sociopolitical and religious transformations—the age of the great Eurasian Empires. My research and publications are focused on the intellectual history and political culture of Iran during this period. My forthcoming book, The Mantle of the Sufi Kings: Political Theology in Early Modern Iran, focuses on the rise and transformation of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722) from an unknown mystical order to a powerful Shi'a empire that reshaped the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.
I teach courses on the history and literature of Iran and the Middle East.
Empires of the Near East and India: Source Studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal Literate Communities,Columbia University Press, 2019. Winner of the American Historical Association’s J. Franklin Jameson Award, 2021.
The Mantle of the Sufi Kings: Religion and Politics in Early Modern Iran (under review by Cambridge University Press).
“Beyond Charismatic Authority: The Crafting of a Sovereign's Image in the Public Sphere” in The World of the Safavids, edited by Rudi Matthee, Routledge, 2021.
“Imperial Geopolitics and the Otiose Quest for Qandahar” in Empires of the Near East and India: Source Studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal Literate Communities, ed., Hani Khafipour, Columbia University Press, 2019.
“The Safavid Claim to Sovereignty According to a Court Bureaucrat” in Empires of the Near East and India: Source Studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal Literate Communities, ed., Hani Khafipour, Columbia University Press, 2019.
“Echoes of the Safavid Past” in In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art, Linda Komaroff with contributions by Sheila Canby, Hamid Keshmirshekan and Hani Khafipour, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2018.
“A Hospital in Ilkhanid Iran: Toward a Socio-economic Reconstruction of the Rab‘-i Rashidi,” Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies, volume 45, issue 1, January 2012.
2020-21. American Historical Association’s J. Franklin Jameson Award
2019-20. University of Southern California Faculty Development Award
2018-19. Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences Grant—USC
2017-18. Interdisciplinary Research Group of the Center for Religious and Civic Culture Grant—USC
2015-16. University of Southern California Faculty Development Award (Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
2012-13. Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship
2011-12. Fellow of the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute
2012. American Institute of Iranian Studies research grant (research in the Ottoman Archives in Istanbul)
2011. The University of Chicago dissertation research grant (research in the Republic of Georgia)
2010. Iran Heritage Foundation research grant (United Kingdom)
2010. The University of Chicago Division of Humanities travel grant (research in Iran)
American Historical Association
Middle East Studies Association
The Association for Iranian Studies
American Oriental Society