Yavari, Neguin

neguin yavari

Neguin Yavari
PhD and MPhil History Department, specialization Medieval Islamic History Columbia University; 
BA, Georgetown University
Assistant Professor, History


I am interested in political thought and theology in the medieval period, with an emphasis on transitions from medieval to early modern. In that context, the intersections of concept and rhetoric in political and theological thought in pre-modern Christian and Islamic societies are among the key foci of my research. My interest in reading medieval texts began with my dissertation, a comparative study of the variegated representations of an eleventh century vizier, in a spectrum of hostile, partisan, and in-between sources. The journey from reading widely in different genres in search of gobbets of medieval remembrances to an attempt to reconstruct the political worldview of Muslim thinkers as expressed in a range of medieval texts has drawn me to cognate writings from medieval Europe, and to the question of historical context in de-historicized political language. My current research on the rhetoric of advice in medieval political thought is a comparative study of European and Islamic mirrors for princes, and their resonances in the construction of political language in the modern period, especially in the Islamic world.

My book on Nizam al-Mulk, the eleventh century vizier, will be published in 2009, and I am currently preparing a monograph on the wider implications of advice literature.

A more recent interest is the politics of “Middle Eastern Studies,” and in that light, I am working with Columbia University Press to launch a new series on meta-disciplinary approaches to Middle Eastern studies.

Courses Taught:
  • Politics, Religion, and Society: The Islamic World, 1800-1950
  • Iran in Revolution, 1800-present
  • History, Authority, and Power I: From Antiquity to the Medieval Period
  • History, Authority, and Power II: From Medieval to Modern
  • Islam in the 20th Century
  • Islamic Societies: 600-1300
  • Islamic Cultural Perspectives
Recent Publications:
  • “Mirrors for Princes or a Hall of Mirrors: Nizām al-Mulk’s Siyar al-mulūk Reconsidered,” Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean, 20: 1 (2008), pp. 47-69
  •  “The Concept of Iran in Medieval Islamic Historiography,” chapter to be included in “A History of Iranian Civilization,” ed. Touraj Daryaee & Afshin Marashi (manuscript under review by Oxford University Press)
  •  “Nizām al-Mulk,” in The Islamic World, ed. Andrew Rippin (London: Routledge, 2008)
  •  “Ahmadīlīs,” for the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 3rd edition
  •  “Reconstructing the Past: The “Founding” Texts of a Sufi Movement in New York City” in Muslims in New York City, ed. L. Cristillo (New York: NYU Press, forthcoming, Fall 2008)
  • “Saljūqs,” for The International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages-Online (IEMA), ed. Patrick Geary, a new supplement to the Lexikon des Mittelalters (LexMA)-Online (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers), 2005, in Brepolis Medieval Encyclopaedias http://www.brepolis.net/bme
  •  “Polysemous Texts and Reductionist Readings: Women and Heresy in the Siyar al-mulūk,” (pp. 324-62) in Views from the Edge: Essays in Honor of Richard W. Bulliet, ed. Neguin Yavari & Lawrence Potter (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004)
  •  “The Conversion Stories of Shaykh Abū Ishāq al-Kāzarūnī,” in Christianizing Peoples and Converting Individuals, ed. Guyda Armstrong and Ian N. Wood (International Medieval Institute, volume VII), (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), pp. 225-46
  •  “Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi,” in Biographical Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, ed. Michael R. Fischbach (New York: Gale/Thomson, 2007)
Office Location:
Department of Historical Studies
80 Fifth Avenue
Room 508
Office Hours:
Mon. & Weds. 12-1p and by appointment
Phone Number/Extension:
212/229-5376, ext. 3022


Professional Affiliations:
American Historical Association;  Middle East Studies Association; Middle East Medievalists

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