• Portrait Image
  • Neda Bolourchi
  • Position: Associate Director and Post Doctoral Associate, Middle Eastern Studies Program
  • Email Address: neda.bolourchi@rutgers.edu
  • Office Address:

    Lucy Stone Hall, Room B209
    Livingston Campus

  • Office hours:

    By appointment


Research Interests

Dr. Bolourchi's research focuses on the roles of religion, secularism, minorities, economic development, and utopic concepts in political movements and nation-state formation in the Middle East. Her forthcoming manuscript, Contending Visions of Iran examines the transformative discourse on Iran as sacred across the political and religious spectra during the twentieth century. Her examination focuses on crucial but underexamined mid-century speeches and periodicals that influenced the emotional attachment and actions of pro-democracy activists, monarchical supporters, leftists, and other political actors. She demonstrates how the competition between groups of state and non-state actors and their use of sacrificial rhetoric and imagery impacted non-political actors.

Dr. Bolourchi is also working on a second book project that examines the histories and narratives about Jewish-Iranian participation in the Iran-Iraq War.

She has forthcoming articles on the Quranic versus contemporary concepts of feda' and fedayeen.

Her interests include Histories of the Middle East; Classic and Modern Sociology of Religion; Minorities in the Middle East; Political Theology; Visual and Cultural Materiality of Shi'ism; Laws of Islamic Warfare; Theories and Histories of Nationalism, Economic Development, and Utopias. 

Dr. Bolourchi's research travels include years in Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, and Iran. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others, has provided support multiple times. She has given lectures at Cornell University, Princeton University, Penn State University, Columbia University, and UCLA, among others.


  • Ph.D., Columbia University

  • J.D., American University

  • B.A., Emory University

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to the Modern Middle East (MES 685:100)
  • Laws of Islamic Warfare (MES 685:499)
  • Theories of Revolution (MES 685:499)
  • Histories and Cultures of Iran (MES 685:336)
  • Religion(s) and Secularism(s) (MES 685:499)
  • History of the Middle East through Film and Cinema (MES 685:499)
  • Religion and Race in the Middle East (Fall 2022)

Highlighted Publications:

"Overlooked but Not Forgotten: the Tehran Society of Jews and the Jewish Exemption Claim" History and Anthropology(2022), DOI: 10.1080/02757206.2022.2096022

β€œSeeing Red, Hearing the Revolution” in Losing Our Minds, Coming to Our Senses (2021) Leiden University Press

β€œThe Sacred Defense: Sacrifice and Nationalism across Minority Communities in Post-Revolution Iran,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 86.3 (2018): 724-758.

Highlighted Public Engagement:

"Iran's Gen Z is Fed Up," USA Today, 1 Oct. 2022

"Are All of Afghanistan's Women Potential Refugees?" University of Chicago Law School, Entitled podcast, 2021 August 27

"Iran's Strategy in Afghanistan: Pragmatic Engagement with the Taliban," New Lines Institute, 23 Sept. 2021.

"Hello, World? Tehran Has a Few Things to Say," Atlantic Council, 8 Oct. 2019

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