SOAS University of London

Centre for Iranian Studies

Dr Ghoncheh Tazmini

BA (Vancouver), MSc (London), PhD (Kent)
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Ghoncheh Tazmini
Centre for Iranian Studies

Associate Member

Dr Ghoncheh Tazmini
Email address:
MBI Al Jaber Building, 21 Russell Square


Ghoncheh Tazmini’s interests include Iran, Russia and the former Soviet space; Iranian domestic and foreign affairs, revolution, reform, civil society, comparative democratisation, modernisation theory, Islam and modernity and 20th century Iranian political thought.



In disciplinary terms, Ghoncheh Tazmini’s research is positioned at the nexus of modern Iranian history, comparative politics and global history. She focusses on the processes of modernisation in Iran, both in terms of the post-revolutionary trajectory of the Iranian state and historical processes of modernisation from ‘below’. She has also investigated the latter aspect through a comparison with Russia. Iran and Russia, she argues, share a very comparable dialectic with western modernity, which has revolved around forms of adaptation and rejection with recurrent bouts of conflict and revolution. She has also conducted research on Iranian and Russian political thinkers, their attitudes towards the ‘west,’ and their trials and tribulations to adapt to historical periods affected by western expressions of modernity. Her research also negotiates the tension between Iran and the west further back in history through emphasis on relations between Iran and Europe in general, and Iran and Portugal in particular.

Current Research:

Ghoncheh Tazmini is currently working on the project, ‘A Global History of Persia and Portugal: a non-Orientalist Encounter’ for which she was awarded a British Academy grant. In this research she adopts a new discursive strategy to support the premise that there are overlapping and intersecting histories that connect European and West Asian civilisations. The Iranian-Portuguese dialectic is emblematic of a post-Saidian approach that she has adopted, which questions narrow notions of ‘Orientalism’ in the field. Instead, she advances an  integrative approach to Iranian history which appreciates the intense linkages and exposures of the country to global historical trends.

Selected Publications:

Single-authored books

Khatami’s Iran: the Islamic Republic and the Turbulent Path to Reform, London, IB Tauris, 2009 in hardback/2013 in paperback

Revolution and Reform in Russia and Iran: Politics and Modernisation in Revolutionary States, London, IB Tauris, 2012.

Book Chapters

‘Indigenising Modernisation in Iran’, in Rebecca Barlow and Shahram Akbarzadeh (eds.) Human Rights and Agents of Change in Iran (Singapore, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 51-63. 

‘O Encontro Luso-Persa em Ormuz’, in Portugal no Golfo Pérsico: 500 Anos (Lisbon: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, 2018), pp. 329-342.

‘Reasserting Normalcy in Iran’s Foreign Policy Realm: Continuities, Challenges and Opportunities’, in Litsas, N. Spyridon (ed.), The Eastern Mediterranean in Transition: Multipolarity, Politics and Power (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2015), pp. 207-221.

‘Between Change and Continuity in Iran’, in Leman, Johan and Gino Schallenbergh (eds.), Muslims and Public Space Citizenship (NY: Cornell UP, 2015), pp. 121-144.

‘Genuine dialogue requires not only talking but a great deal of listening: interview with Fred Dallmayr’, in Piotr Dutkiewicz Richard Sakwa (eds.), 22 Reasons to Worry about the World and 22 Remedies, Interviews with the World’s Foremost Thinkers (NY: New York UP, 2013), pp. 286-305.

‘Iraq’, in Shari-Trask, Bahira (ed.), Women’s Issues Worldwide: The Middle East and North Africa (Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2003), pp. 138-169.

Journal Articles

‘To Be or Not To Be (like the West): Modernisation in Russia and Iran’, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26, March 2018, published online.

The Persian–Portuguese Encounter in Hormuz: Orientalism Reconsidered’, Iranian Studies, Vol. 50, No. 2, Winter 2017, pp. 1-22. 

‘The Islamic Revival in Central Asia: a Potent Force or a Misconception’, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 20, No. 1, March 2001, pp. 63-83.


‘Rouhani Redux: Iran on the Edge of Change’, Middle East Review, IDE-JETRO, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization Vol. 5, 2018, pp. 1-15.

‘Modernisation in Russia and Iran: Toward an Autonomous and Adaptive Developmental Trajectory’, Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 2012, pp. 7-34.

‘Russian-Iranian Relations in the Context of the Tehran Declaration’, Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 3, Autumn 2010, pp. 7-32.

‘Jaddidism: a New Perspective on Islamic Modernity in Iran’, Central Asia and the Caucasus: Journal of Social and Political Studies, Vol. 6, No. 18, 2002, pp. 138-143.


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