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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 He completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford (St Antony's College) in what is still in a sublimely outdated way called 'Oriental Studies'.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 Iran in the period 1860-1940. I am interested in transregional intellectual encounters, particularly the selection and hybridisation of European ideas of the nation by Iranian intellectuals, and the racialised historiography which was the result of their work. I am currently starting a new research project examining European views of Islam through the lens of race and global conspiracy.

PhD topics:

  • Nationalism in Iran.
  • Any topic related to the ‘Aryan race’ hypothesis.
  • History (particularly intellectual) of the Qajar and early Pahlavi periods.
  • Topics related to nationalism theory.
  • European views of Islam.

For more details, please see his full research profile.

Selected publications
  • The Emergence of Dislocative Nationalism. Race and Modernity in Iran, 1860-1940, forthcoming.
  • ‘“Arab invasion” and decline, or the import of European racial thought by Iranian nationalists’, in Ethnic and Racial Studies (iFirst: DOI:10.1080/01419870.2012.734389).
  • ‘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. I endeavour to communicate my work on the myths of nationalist historiography in Iran to a wide public, for instance by popularising my research or participating in talk-shows (particularly on BBC Persian Television). I have also 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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