ASPS 2015 Conference Bios


Pooriya Alimoradi is a PhD student at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilization at University of Toronto. He holds a MA degree in the History and Philosophy of Religion from Concordia University and another M.A. in Ancient Iranian History from University of Tehran. He is interested in Iranian history, languages and culture in the Late Antiquity, religions of ancient Iran including Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Mazdakism, as well as the study of Zoroastrianism in the early centuries of Islam in Iran. Since 2000, he has been working on ancient Iranian languages including Avestan, Old Persian, Middle Persian, Parthian and Manichean. He is a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Doctoral Scholarship (SSHRC 2015-18), “Houtan Scholarship” (2013, 2014, and 2015), “Soudavar Memorial Foundation Travel Grant” (2013), “Concordia University Conference and Exposition Award” (2013), “Concordia University, Faculty of Arts and Science student conference travel support” (2013), “Houtan Scholarship” (2012), “Concordia University Merit Scholarship” (2011) and “Concordia University International Tuition Fee Remission Award” (2011). As of December 2012, he is the student member of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS). Since December 2011, Pooriya Alimoradi is the webmaster of Additionally, he is the former Editor and webmaster of the Bulletin of Ancient Iranian History (BAIH), former Editor of a few advertising magazines and several students’ magazines.

Saïd Amir Arjomand (Ph.D, University of Chicago, 1980) is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies. He is the founder and former President (1996-2002, 2005-08) of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies, and Editor of its organ, Journal of Persianate Studies. He served as the Editor of International Sociology, the journal of the International Sociological Association (1998-2003) and Editor-in-Chief of Studies on Persianate Societies (2003-05). He has been Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, 1982-83, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, 1984-85, and Visiting Professor of Sociology and Development Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1989, the Sharpe Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies, the University of Chicago, 1993-94, Member of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Social Sciences, 1998, the inaugural Crane Fellow and Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, 2004-05, and Carnegie Scholar, 2006-08. He has published over a hundred articles in the humanities and social science journals in the last thirty-five years, and is the author of The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Organization and Societal Change in Shi'ite Iran from the Beginning to l890 (l984), The Turban for the Crown. The Islamic Revolution in Iran (1988), After Khomeini. Iran under his Successors (Oxford University Press, 2009), and the editor of several books, including Rethinking Civilizational Analysis (With Edward Tiryakian, 2004), Constitutionalism and Political Reconstruction (2007), and Constitutional Politics in the Middle East (2008), The Rule of Law, Islam and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran (with Nathan J. Brown, 2013), Worlds of Difference (with Elisa Reis, 2013), and Social Theory and Regional Studies in the Global Age (in press).

Sussan Babaie joined The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2013 to take up a newly established post teaching on the arts of Iran and Islam. Born in Iran, she attended the University of Tehran's Faculty of Fine Arts (Graphic Design) until the revolution of 1979 when she moved to the USA where she received her Master’s degree in Italian Renaissance and American Arts, and her PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, with a focus on the arts of Islam. She has taught at Smith College and the University of Michigan in America, and as the Allianz Visiting Professor at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Her publications include Persian kingship and architecture: Strategies of power in Iran from the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis (2015), Shirin Neshat (2013), and Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran (2004). She is the author of the award-winning Isfahan and its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi‘ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (2008).

Evrim Binbaş studied political science at the Middle East Technical University and received his MA degree in history from Hacettepe University in Ankara. He continued his postgraduate studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He has taught at Royal Holloway since 2009. His research interests broadly embrace the historiography, political thought, and intellectual networks of the fifteenth and sixteenth century Islamic world. He is particularly interested in Timurid and Ottoman historiography, the political use of mythical narratives, epistolography and other modalities of intellectual communication, and the informal intellectual networks which, unlike the emerging Sufi orders, did not enter the process of institutionalization in the early modern period. In the course of his studies, he also developed an interest in various “secret sciences,” such as alchemy, the science of letters, and logogriphic poetry in order to understand the rhetorical devices that early modern intellectuals deployed. In the meantime, he still maintains an early interest of his in the history of music in the Middle East. He is currently working on an intellectual biography of the Timurid historian Sharaf al-Din ‘Ali Yazdi, who is primarily known as the most influential biographer of Tamerlane. In his study, he locates Yazdi in a wider intellectual network, stretching from Timurid Central Asia to the Ottoman Balkans, and analyzes the political significance of this network in Timurid and Ottoman politics.

Ghazzal Dabiri holds a Ph.D. in Iranian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ghent and has taught at Columbia University, UCLA, and CSUF. Her research focuses on the development of and cross-sections between Iranian historiography and Persian epics as well as on the social history of early Islamic Iran. She has published the following articles:

  • “Visions of Heaven and Hell from Late Antiquity in the Near East” in Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei (Winter 2009) 
  • “The Shahnama: Between the Samanids and Ghaznavids” in Iranian Studies, the Shahnama Special Issue (February 2010).
  • “Historiography and the Sho’ubiya Movement” in Journal of Persianate Studies (2013)

Other publications include: “The Mother Tongue: An Introduction to the Persian Language.” PBS Frontline: Tehran Bureau and ;“Shiraz Nights.” PBS Frontline: Tehran Bureau, August 10, 2009. She is currently working on a book project entitled “Kings as Moral and Heroic Types in Early Islamic Historiography and Persian Epics,” which was the subject of her dissertation, “The Origins and Development of Persian Epics” which won Honorable Mention for Best Dissertation from the Foundation for Iranian Studies in 2007. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant for the 2011-2012 academic year. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS)

Jo-Ann Gross is Professor of Middle Eastern and Central Eurasian History at The College of New Jersey. She serves as Vice-President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) and is the Director of the Central Eurasian Research Fund (CERF), which she founded in 2005 to support the publications of scholars in Central Asia. Her past professional activities include her position as Executive Secretary for the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) from 1987-90, member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Central Asia Studies from 1995-2005, and member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Iranian Studies from 1996-2000.  She was a member of the School of Historical Studies of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton in 1995-96 and was elected as an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan in 2012.  She has published widely on aspects of Sufism, Muslim shrine culture, and oral narratives in Central Asia and is the co-author (with Asom Urunbaev) of The Letters of Khwaja ‘Ubayd Allah Ahrar and his Associates (Brill, 2002) and editor of Muslims in Central Asia: Expressions of Identity and Change (Duke University Press, 1992). In 2012 she guest-edited a volume of the Journal of Persianate Studies entitled, “The Pamir: Shrine Traditions, Human Ecology and Identity” and is currently completing two books: Muslim Shrines and Spiritual Culture in the Perso-Islamic World, under contract with IB Taurus, International Library of Iranian Studies, and a co-edited volume (with Devin DeWeese) entitled Sufism and Islam in Central Asia.

Rudi Matthee received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angles. Since 1993 he has been teaching at the University of Delaware, where he is Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern History. Matthee has published widely on Safavid and Qajar Iran as well as Egypt. He authored The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730 (1999), recipient of the prize for best non-Persian language book on Iranian history awarded by the Iranian Ministry of Culture; honorable mention for British-Kuwaiti Friendship Prize; The Pursuit of Pleasure: Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900 (2005), recipient of the Albert Hourani Book Prize and the Saidi Sirjani Prize; Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan (2012), recipient of the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Prize and the Jayezeh-ye jahani-ye ketab awarded by the Iranian Ministry of Culture; and, with Willem Floor and Patrick Clawson, The Monetary History of Iran, 1500-1925 (2013), recipient of the Houchang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award. He also coedited three volumes. He is the former president (2002-05 and 2008-11) of ASPS; served as book review editor for Iranian Studies; is coeditor of Der Islam, and a consulting editor for the Encyclopaedia Iranica. In 2002-03 he was a fellow at the Institute or Advanced Study, Princeton.

Jawid Mojaddedi is Professor of Religion and Director of Graduate Studies at Rutgers University. His area of research is early and medieval Sufism. Since the publication of his verse translation, The Masnavi: Book One, which was awarded the 2004 Lois Roth Prize, he has been working towards completing the six books of Jalal al-Din Rumi’s magnum opus. He has already published in the same Oxford World’s Classics Series a translation of the second and third books, in 2007 and 2013, respectively. He recently completed his manuscript of Book Four as a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellow. In addition to his translations of Rumi’s poetry, he has also published the monograph Beyond Dogma: Rumi’s Teachings on Friendship with God and Early Sufi Theories (Oxford University Press, 2012).  Previous books include The Biographical Tradition in Sufism:the Tabaqat Genre from al-Sulami to Jami  (RoutledgeCurzon, 2001), and, as co-editor and co-translator with Norman Calder and Andrew Rippin, Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature (Routledge, 2003; expanded second edition, 2012).

Oya Pancaroǧlu

Judith Pfeiffer (Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2003) is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Oxford. Her research focuses on the social, political, and intellectual history of the Nile to Oxus region with a particular emphasis on Iran, Central Asia, and Anatolia during the Middle Periods of Islamic history. She has a special interest in the ways in which political and confessional boundaries were re-negotiated and re-defined during the post-Mongol period, and has worked on Islamization processes, historiography, and political thought during the 13th to 17th centuries. Her publications include History and Historiography of Post-Mongol Central Asia and the Middle East (2006, co-edited with Sholeh Quinn in collaboration with Ernest Tucker); Theoretical Approaches to the Transmission and Edition of Oriental Manuscripts (co-edited with Manfred Kropp, 2007); and Politics, Patronage and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th-15th Century Tabriz (2013). Judith is the recipient of several awards, including DAAD, AHRC, Rockefeller, Gerda Henkel, and IAS fellowships. She currently directs a five-year ERC project on 13th to 16th century intellectual history, which included conferences on The Intellectual Culture of Medieval Maragha and Shiʿism, Sunnism, and Confessional Ambiguity in the 13th to 16th Century Nile to Oxus Region. Her current research focuses on the biography of the Ilkhanid historian, statesman, and intellectual Rashīd al-Dīn.

Parvaneh Pourshariati Currently the President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (2012-2015), Pourshariati is Associate Professor of Iranian and Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University, and Associated Faculty in the Department of History and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at OSU. Pourshariati’s research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Hilda Blair Ray Fellowship of the American Association for University Women (AAUW) the Shaykh Hamad Fellowship of the American Numismatic Society (ANS), the American Institute of Iranian Studies, and Mellon Fellowship, among others. She has been a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Fall 2012) and a Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Studies (Summer 2012). Pourshariati is a member of Mondes iraniens et indiens of the CNRS in Paris, and a Collaborator of Institut für Iranistik, Freie Universität, Berlin. Chair of the Organizational Committees of ASPS/SARAJEVO 2013, and centrally involved in the organization of ASPS/HYDERABAD 2012, she has served on the Board of Directors of ASPS since 2007, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Iran Nameh, andthe Journal of Persianate Studies. She is currently at work on a number of projects, including the sequel to her Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire (I.B. Tauris in 2008), dubbed a “path-breaking,” and “monumental work of first-class scholarship.” Pourshariati recently guest-edited a Special Double-Issue of the Journal of Persianate Studies: 6.1-2: Recent Trends in Late Antique Iranian Studies, Brill, 2013. Closely collaborating with colleagues in Europe and the Middle East, her articles have appeared in various journals of the field. Together with her husband, professor Hans Schoutens (CUNY), Pourshariati has established the annual Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award in memory of her father, the late Houshang Pourshariati (1934-2004), which has been administered through the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) since 2005.

Sara Nur Yıldız received her PhD from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 2006. Her research interests encompass the history of the Islamic and the Turco-Iranian world, with a focus on medieval Anatolia, which includes the Seljuk, Mongol, Turkish principalities and early Ottoman periods. She has written mainly on political culture and historical writing, and is working on a monograph, Mongol Rule in Seljuk Anatolia: the Politics of Conquest and History Writing, 1243-1282 to be published with Brill. As a research fellow on the project, the ‘Islamisation of Anatolia, c. 1100-1500,’ ( under the supervision of the principal investigator, Dr. Andrew Peacock), she is currently concentrating on the intellectual and religious history of medieval Islamic Anatolia, spanning the Seljuk to the early Ottoman periods. She works mainly with Persian, Arabic and Old Anatolian/Ottoman Turkish manuscripts and texts, with a focus on textual production and circulation, the transfer of Islamic knowledge and learning to Anatolia, and manuscript culture and codicology.