Authoritarian politics; democratization; comparative politics and international relations of the Middle East; Iranian politics; Islam and politics; civil society; political economy; political development; qualitative and multi-method research.
Selection of classes taught:
Harvard University, Department of Government
Revolution and Politics in Iran (Government 94py)
Iran is increasingly a significant power in the Middle East and a salient country to global affairs. Accordingly, this course examines the intricacies of Iranian politics since the 1979 revolution. It explores a broad range of topics including the causes of the Iranian revolution; the political implications of the Islamic regime’s institutional architecture; the competitive factional dynamics within the ruling elite; Iranian foreign policy, Iran-US relations, and nuclear negotiations; and Shia political ideology.
Comparative Politics of the Middle East (Government 1207)
The Middle East is currently in the midst of a dramatic transformation since the Arab uprisings in 2011. This course situates the ongoing developments within the broader historical and political context of the region. It examines the politics of the Middle East through a variety of topics, including the modern state-building project, the legacy of empires and Western colonialism, Islam and politics, monarchies and authoritarianism, political economies, war and conflict, and the prospects for democratization.
Harvard Divinity School
Shi’a Islam and Politics (HDS 3044); cross-listed with Dept. of Government (GOV 1210)
This course provides a survey of the field of Shi’a Islam and politics. It complicates dominant narratives and conventional understandings of sectarianism, Shi’a Islam, and geo-political conflict in the Middle East by differentiating between distinct yet overlapping factors such as state competition (i.e. between Iran and Saudi Arabia), historical legacies of empire and state building in the Middle East, and actual substantive theological and intellectual differences between Shi’a and Sunni Islam. It looks at the origins of Shi’a Islam and who the Shi’a are today including their diverse ethnic, geographic, cultural, and political backgrounds. The course largely focuses on modern political movements and developments in Shi’a political thought from the post-colonial period onwards including a survey of the Shi’a clergy and clerical institutions and networks, mass pilgrimage practices and sociological changes in the Shi’a world, Iran’s Islamic revolution, the transnational politics of Shi’a political parties and armed movements, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Sha’abi), and Yemen’s Ansarallah (the Houthis). The course will also cover the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the “Axis of Resistance” that has Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and other partners facing off with the United States and its allies in the region.