Six Months of War in Gaza (April 2024)

I was interviewed this week on German National Public Radio and Television to reflect on the situation in the region after the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus and how the war has affected the situation on campus.

Europe and the Skewed Image of Islam in (Popular) Scholarship – Talk broadcasted on Deutschlandfunk Nova, August 2023 (in German)

In scholarship, Europe is still the model and norm against which Islam is measured, often coming away from this as being “deficient.” That’s a problem, I argue, since this approach influences research questions and findings, as well as public opinion. In this talk, I show which arguments are employed to create such an asymmetry between the “Muslim” world and the “West.” In particular, I look at often-repeateded statements, such as the supposed lack of Muslim curiosity regarding other cultures, the missing concept of secularism in Islam, or the proposition that Muslims have only ever conceptualized freedom as a legal category.

Listen to my talk here:

Reassessing the Impacts of the Iranian Revolution Elsewhere (01 December 2021)

Crown Seminar with Simon Wolfgang Fuchs, Raphaël Lefèvre, and Laurence Louër

The Iranian Revolution caused other governments to fear that the uprising would spread beyond Iran’s borders. More than forty years later, assessments of the Islamic Republic’s “success” in exporting its particular theocratic model continue to dominate how we talk about the revolution’s transnational impacts. But this Iran-centric perspective largely ignores the critical role of non-Iranian actors who have brokered the revolution to various groups in different countries. Building on case studies from a variety of countries—Lebanon, the Gulf monarchies, Pakistan—the three panelists will analyze how Shi‘i and non-Shi‘i Islamist groups made sense of the revolution and how they have translated the Iranian message into their particular local contexts.

Simon Wolfgang Fuchs is a lecturer in Islamic and Middle East Studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany.
Raphaël Lefèvre is senior research fellow at the University of Oxford and an associate researcher at the University of Aarhus.
Laurence Louër is an associate professor at SciencesPo CERI.
Mohammad Ataie, discussant, is a junior research fellow at the Crown Center.

Strange Success: The Enduring Appeal of an Islamic State after Colonialism (31 March 2021)

“Islam After Colonialism” is a series of online seminars hosted by Habib University in Karachi in collaboration with the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. The series brings together experts in history, political thought, critical theory and related fields to discuss the transformation of Islam in the wake of colonialism in South Asian context. During the 6th webinar on March 31, I was in conversation with Dr. Nauman Naqvi, Associate Professor, Comparative Liberal Studies, Habib University and Dr. Sajjad Rizvi, Associate Professor, Islamic Intellectual History and Islamic Studies, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter on the topic “Strange Success: The Enduring Appeal of an Islamic State after Colonialism”.

A Dream of Divine Sovereignty, Realized: Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and the Iranian Revolution (Nov 16, 2020)

As part of a new series hosted by Jindal Global University and the History Department of the University of Leeds, I gave a talk on how the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan’s most influential Islamist party, reacted to the Iranian Revolution. I argue that the JI was drawn to the events in Iran because it reflected a core concern and signature idea of its founder Abu ’l-Aʿla Maududi (d. 1979), namely to establish the sovereignty of God (hakimiyya) on earth. JI observers were deeply familiar with internal revolutionary dynamics and Iran’s Shiʿi identity. Yet, the prospect of seeing a proper Islamic system in action, with potentially global consequences for their cause, initially crowded out any sectarian concerns for the JI.

Instagram-Live Conversation on the Iranian Revolution and Global Islam (May 04, 2020)

Prof. Sajjad Rizvi (University of Exeter) kindly hosted me to talk about my current research on the global history of the Iranian Revolution. He had all the books and insightful questions – I had some tentative answers. At least we share the same Corona-caused hairstyle.

Red Zone Tehran (07 May 2020, in German)

For the new “Science and Corona” website of Bavarian Broadcasting (Bayerischer Rundfunk), I provided an analysis of authoritarian regimes how the Iranian government has handled the pandemic. You can check out the video here:

“New Books in Middle Eastern Studies” Conversation on In a Pure Muslim Land. Shi’ism between Pakistan and the Middle East (November 2019)

I had a chance to sit down with host Asad Dandia to talk about my book. This episode was released on November 26, 2019.

Lecture on Sunnis and Shi’is at LMU Munich (in German) (November 2019)

On 19 November 2019, I gave a talk in the lecture series “Basiswissen Islam” on “Sunniten und Schiiten und der Mythos vom ewigen Konflikt” at LMU Munich.
Immer wieder berichten die Medien von heftigen Konflikten zwischen Sunniten und Schiiten, den beiden größten Gruppierungen des Islam: im Libanon, in Syrien, Iraq und Jemen, verlaufen Auseinandersetzungen anscheinend entlang konfessioneller Linien. Sind diese tatsächlich religiös bedingt, also die Folge einer Uneinigkeit nach dem Tod des Propheten Muhammad (st. 632) über die Zukunft der jungen islamischen Gemeinschaft?

You can access the video here:

When Tehran was the Brightest Star: A Global History of the 1979 Iranian Revolution (April 2019)

This is the audiorecording of a lecture I gave at the Royal Asiatic Society on April 24, 2019. For more details on the event:

S.S. Pirzada Dissertation Prize Lecture

On April 9, 2016, I gave the S.S. Pirzada Dissertation Prize on Pakistan lecture at the Institute for South Asian Studies, UC California, Berkeley.