Professor, Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Adjunct Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Goodbody Hall, Rm. 157
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1991
- Zoroastrianism—ancient and modern
- Islamic studies
- History of religions
- Languages of the Near East and Central Asia
My research broadly covers the development of societies, especially sectarian communities, in Central Asia, the Near East, and South Asia studied through interdisciplinary approaches involving history, religious studies, international affairs, politics, anthropology, archeology, language, literature, and numismatics. I focus specifically on Iranian and Persian Studies, Indian subcontinental studies, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Manichaeism. I have conducted fieldwork in Iran, UAE, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka among other countries. I have served on fellowship evaluation and selection committees for the American Councils for International Education, Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Harvard University, Canada Council for the Arts, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Center for Arabic Study Abroad of Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, IREX, and Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I have functioned as a nominator for the MacArthur Fellows Program, been consulted by UNESCO, United States Department of Education, and the National Geographic Society. My analyses appear in Foreign Policy, World Politics Review, Real Clear World, Christian Science Monitor, National Review, NPR, Radio Liberty, Huffington Post, and ABC News among other policy journals and news media. At present I am a U.S. Presidentially-nominated and U.S. Congressionally-confirmed Member of the National Council on the Humanities which oversees the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, DC.
- Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
- American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant
- National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study
Courses Recently Taught
- Book of Kings: Shahnama
- Gender, Religion, and History: Images of Women in Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Zoroastrian Cultures
- CEUS R250 Introduction to the Ancient Near East
- CEUS R351/551 Prophets, Poets, and Kings: Iranian Civilization
- CEUS T352/752 Advanced Persian II: Classical
- CEUS T356/556 Middle Iranian Languages: Middle Persian
- CEUS T358/658 Old Iranian Languages: Avestan
Gifts to a Magus: Indo-Iranian Studies Honoring Firoze Kotwal, Co-editor with J. Dubeansky (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2013).
Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 2007), Associate Editor.
Evil, Good, and Gender: Facets of the Feminine in Zoroastrian Religious History (New York: Peter Lang Publishers, 2002).
Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).
Setiz va Sazesh: Zartoshtiyan-e maqlub va mosalmanan-e qaleb dar jame-ye Iran-e nakhostin-i sadeha-ye Islami (Tehran: Qoqnus Publications, 2002).
Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism: Triumph over Evil (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989).
Articles and Book Chapters:
"Non-Muslim Religious Minorities in Contemporary Iran," Iran and the Caucasus 16, 3 (2012).
"Friends and Friendships in Iranian Society: Human and Immortal," Iranica Antiqua 46 (2011).
"Iran Takes on the World," Current Trends in Islamist Ideology 11 (2011).
"Iranian Apocalypticism and Eschatology: Grappling with Change," Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute 70 (2010).
"Iran's Imperial Presidency," Foreign Policy (2009).
"Despite Shahs and Mollas: Minority Sociopolitics in Premodern and Modern Iran," Journal of Asian History 40, 2 (2006).
"Ancient Iranian Ideas in a Modern Context: Aspects of Royal Legitimacy under Muhammad Riza Shah Pahlavi," in Views from the Edge: Essays in Honor of Richard W. Bulliet, ed. N. Yavari, L. G. Potter, and J-M. R. Oppenheim (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).
"The Enigmatic Origins of the Tokharians," in Atash-e Dorun—The Fire Within: Jamshid Soroush Soroushian Memorial Volumes, vol. 2, ed. C. G. Cereti and F. J. Vajifdar (Bloomington: 1st Books Library, 2003).
"Dualism of the Feminine in Manichaeism: The Mother of Life and the Demoness of Concupiscence," Third International Congress Proceedings of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute (Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, 2001).
"Doctrinal Variation within Zoroastrianism: The Notion of Dualism," Second International Congress Proceedings of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute (Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, 1996).
"An Emissary from Akbar to 'Abbas I: Inscriptions, Texts, and the Career of Amir Muhammad Ma'sum al-Bhakkari," with M. Usman Hasan, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, third series, 1, 1 (1991).
"A Sasanian Monarch, His Queen, Crown Prince, and Deities: The Coinage of Wahram II," American Journal of Numismatics, second series, 1 (1989).
"Loan and Sales Contracts in Ancient and Early Medieval Iran," Indo-Iranian Journal 31 (1988).