Abbas Amanat, DPhil

  • Professor of History
  • Professor of History & International Studies
  • Director of Iranian Studies at MacMillan Center

Abbas Amanat received his B.A. from Tehran University in 1971 and D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1981. His principal publications include Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi’ism (2009), Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896 (1997) and Resurrection and Renewal: the Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850 (1989). He is the editor of Cities and Trade: Consul Abbott on the Economy and Society of Iran (1983), Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity (1995) and coeditor of Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from Ancient Middle East to Modern America (2002); Shari’a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context (2007); and U.S.-Middle East Historical Encounters: A Critical Survey (2007). He also edited The United States and the Middle East: Diplomatic and Economic Relations in Historical Perspective (2000) and co-edited The United States and the Middle East: Cultural Encounters (2002) and Apocalypse and Violence(2004).

Currently he is writing In Search of Modern Iran: Authority, Nationhood and Culture (1501-2001), a survey of Iranian history (Yale, 2008); a study of toleration and nonconformity in the Persianate world, a biography of the Babi leader and poet Fatima Baraghani Qurrat al-‘Ayn (Tahirah) and a documentary history of Qajar Iran (in Persian).

Abbas Amanat was a Carnegie Scholar of Islamic Studies (2005-2007). He also was the recipient of the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Grant for comparative study of Millennialism (1998-2001). He is a Consulting Editor and longtime contributor to Encyclopedia Iranica where his major entries include “Constitutional Revolution” (1994); “Great Britain in Qajar Persia” (2002); “Hajji Baba of Ispahan” (2003) “Historiography of Qajar Iran” (2004), “Historiography of Pahlavi Iran” (2004) and “Islam in Iran: Messianism” (2007). He is the General Editor of Persia Observed series (Mage Publishers) which includes extensive introductions to new editions of E.G. Browne’s Persian Revolution (1995) and C.J. Wills The Land of the Lion and the Sun (2004). He was the Editor-in-Chief of Iranian Studies, the journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies (1991-98) ) and served as the chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale (1993-2004). He is currently Director of the Iranian Studies Initiative at Yale MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.

His courses at Yale include “Middle East and the West: A Cultural Encounter,” “State and Society in the Modern Middle East,” and “Making of Modern Iran.” Among his graduate course are “Becoming the Middle East,” “Historiography and Methodology of the Modern Middle East,” “Political Theory and Practice in the Persian Historical Texts and Contexts,” “Apocalyptic Imagination,” and “Orientalism and Its Critics.”

  • DPhil, Oxford University, 1981
  • BA, University of Tehran, 1971
  • In Search of Modern Iran: Authority, Nationhood and Culture, 1501-2001 (in progress)
  • Iran Facing Others: Identity Boundaries in Historical Perspective (Palgrave-MacMillan, New York, 2012)
  • Is There a Middle East: The Evolution of a Geopolitical Concept, co-ed. (Stanford University Press, 2011)
  • Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi'ism, IBTauris, London and New York, 2009
  • Pivot of the Universe (1997 & 2008)
  • Shari’a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context (co-ed. 2007)
  • Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran (1989 & 2005)
International activities
  • Encyclopaedia Iranica
    Afghanistan, India, Iran (2008-Present)
    As the Consulting Editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica for the 19th century (Qajar period), Professor Amanat has been involved since 1982 in inviting scholars from US, Europe, Iran, Afghanistan and India to contribute entries to this major international project.

  • History of Modern Iran
    Iran (2008-Present)
    Professor Amanat is currently working as the editor-in-chief with a number of colleagues and specialists in the U.S., Europe, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Central Asia on a multi-volume book project identifying archival and other historical sources on the modern history of Iran.

  • HIV Prevention in Iran
    Iran (2008-2008)
    Professor Amanat traveled to Iran with other specialists from Yale at the invitation of the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences. This visit has resulted in the fruitful exchange of researchers in Iran and the US in the areas of addiction research and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

  • Persian Publication
    India, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey (2003-Present)
    As a member of the editorial board of the Studies of the Persianate Societies, Professor Amanat has been collaborating with Iranianists in Turkey, Central Asia and India. Among other projects he is involved in a Persian text publication project in India and Pakistan.

  • Carnegie Scholar of Islamic Studies, 2005-2007
  • Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Grant for comparative study of Millennialism, 1998-2001
Arabic, French, Persian