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Dr Reza Zia-Ebrahimi

Dr Reza Zia-Ebrahimi

Dr Reza Zia-EbrahimiLecturer in Twentieth-Century Middle Eastern History

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7660
Room C15, East Wing
Department of History
King's College London
London, WC2R 2LS


Dr Reza Zia-Ebrahimi studied Law at the University of Geneva and the History of International Relations at the London School of Economics. He completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford (St Antony's College) in what is still called 'Oriental Studies'. Before joining the History Department at King's College London in 2013, he was a senior lecturer in history at Sheffield Hallam University. Dr Zia-Ebrahimi has been a fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation and of the Government Department of the London School of Economics. In recent years, he has given seminars in Britain, the United States, Ireland, Sweden, Turkey, Lebanon and Russia. 

Research interests and PhD supervision

I am a historian of nationalism and race, with focus on two separate topics. One is the development of ethnic nationalism in Iran in the period 1860-1979. I am interested in transregional intellectual encounters, particularly the selection and hybridisation of European ideas of nation and race by Iranian intellectuals.

My second research interest centres on European views of Islam from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. I am currently comparing the development of modern antisemitism and islamophobia, particularly the incidence of conspiracy thinking in strategies of racialisation.

PhD topics:

  • Nationalism in Iran.
  • Any topic related to the ‘Aryan race’ hypothesis.
  • European views of Islam.
  • Orientalis and islamophobia.

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected publications
  • The emergence of Iranian nationalism in Iran: Race and the politics of dislocation. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
  • Forthcoming: ‘When the elders of Zion moved to Eurabia: Continuities and transmutations between conspiratorial antisemitism and islamophobia’.
  • Journal article. ‘Better a warm hug than a cold bath: Nationalist memory and the failures of Iranian historiography, in Iranian Studies, vol. 49, no. 5 (2016): 837-854. ‘Khodsharqi gerayi va bijasazi: Estefadeh va su?-e estefadeh az goftemane ariyayi dar Iran’ (Self-Orientalization and Dislocation: The Uses and Abuses of the Aryan Discourse in Iran), in Iran-Nameh, vol. 30, no. 4 (Winter 2016): 104-143.
  • ‘“Arab invasion” and decline, or the import of European racial thought by Iranian nationalists’, in Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 37, no. 6 (2014): 1043-1061.
  • Courting the former colony: Algeria’s special position in French Third World policy, 1963’, in Journal of North African Studies, 17, no. 1 (2012): 23-44.
  • ‘Self-Orientalisation and dislocation: the uses and abuses of the Aryan discourse in Iran’, in Journal of Iranian Studies, 44, no. 4 (2011): 445-472.
  • ‘An emissary of the Golden Age: Manekji Limji Hataria and the charisma of the archaic in pre-nationalist Iran’, in Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism,10, no. 3 (2011): 377-390.
For a complete list of publications, please see Reza's full research profile.
Expertise and Public Engagement

Before turning to academic research, I worked on issues related to the Middle East and North Africa at various non-governmental organisations (including the World Economic Forum and Interpeace). In the field of history, engagement with the public and the media is essential if one’s research is to have any impact beyond the academic pale. Thus I have participated in talk-shows (particularly on BBC Persian Television) and often commented on developments in the Middle East or the on-going debate on ‘Islam in Europe’ in various international media outlets, including the Guardian and the New York Times.

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