Affiliated Faculty Detail

  • Portrait Image
  • Neda Bolourchi
  • Position: Associate Director and Post Doctoral Associate, Middle Eastern Studies Program
  • Email Address:
  • 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, race, and secularism in the formation of Middle Eastern nation-states. 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 competing 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 project at the intersection of anthropology, history, and political science that examines narratives about Iranian-Jewish participation in the Iran-Iraq War.

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

Her general interests include the following: Middle East Studies, Histories of Nationalism, Minorities in the Middle East, Political Theology, Visual and Cultural Materiality of Shi'ism, Laws of Islamic Warfare, 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)

 Currently supervising thesis work on U.S. Persian Gulf security decision-making

Work in Progress
"Overlooked but Not Forgotten: the Tehran Society of Jews and the Jewish Exemption Claim"

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

Bolourchi, Neda. 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.

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

Recent works include the following:

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

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