Painting of Uzbekistan Silk Road Bukhara
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Affiliated Graduate Students

Stanford graduate students from diverse fields across campus conduct research related to Iran. 

Feyaad Allie (Political Science) 

Feyaad is Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. His dissertation project examines the sustained exclusion of marginalized groups in multi-ethnic democracies with a focus on Muslims in India. One strand of this research highlights the role of within-Muslim heterogeneity (in terms of sect and caste) in contributing to the underrepresentation of Muslims in Indian politics. In one component of his dissertation, he explores this phenomenon through a survey of voters including questions related to Muslim connections to Saudi Arabia and Iran to measure the strength of sectarian identities. Feyaad also conducted extensive voter and politician interviews in the city of Lucknow exploring the ways that Shia and Sunni identity and connections to Saudi Arabia and Iran may influence political behavior. This research speaks more broadly to sectarian divisions within Muslim communities and to diasporic connections that exist through sectarian identity.

Serage Amatory

Serage Amatory (Public Policy) 

Serage is pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Policy following his earning of a Master of Arts in International Policy in June 2019 from Stanford as well. He currently leads an activist collation and protest-platform named "Rage for Change" in support of the anti-government and anti-Hezbollah movements in his home Lebanon. He is also the writer, host and producer of a political commentary show in Lebanon called "C'est Rage". At Stanford he is authoring his MA thesis on the Iranian proxy 'Hezbollah' in Lebanon and the USSR-inclined "Hezb Tudeh" in Iran under the guidance and mentorship of Stanford's Iranian Studies Director Abbas Milani. He also works as a Project Coordinator at Stanford's Project on Arab Reform & Democracy. He has written on Hezbollah, Iranian Foreign Policy, Israeli-Iranian relations and Saudi-Iranian relations.

Alexandria  Brown-Hedjazi

Alexandria Brown-Hedjazi (Art History)

Alexandria is a PhD candidate in Stanford’s department of Art History, with a certificate in Iranian Studies. She specializes in early modern art and architecture of the Mediterranean basin and eastern Islamicate world, with a particular focus on the arts of Italy and Iran. Her doctoral dissertation examines diplomatic and artistic exchange between Safavid Iran and the Venetian Republic, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and Papal Rome. Her dissertation highlights new findings from three overlooked areas: trade routes in luxury goods (silk harvested near the Caspian Sea in exchange for mirrored Venetian glass); architectural exchanges (the Italianate Safavid fortress in Kandahar and the unrealized design for a lapis lazuli dome in Florence); as well as architectural traces of minority communities (Safavid Shi’a converts in Rome and Roman Discalced Carmelites in Isfahan). Collectively, the project is about the agency of art in facilitating intercultural dialogue, discovery and diplomacy. 

Nima Farzaneh

Nima Farzaneh (Music)

Nima is an architectural designer and researcher in the musical and architectural acoustics domain, working toward a Ph.D. at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. He holds a bachelor's degree in architecture and M.S. in landscape architecture from Iran. In 2010 he moved to the U.S. and studied at the Pratt Institute's post-professional architecture M.S. program focused on computation and design. After practicing architecture in New York City from 2011 to 2019, he went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to specialize in architectural acoustics. His research interest is primarily the study of acoustics in Iran's historical architectural spaces and its correlation with the region's aural traditions, rituals, and music. Having an interest in working with new media, he incorporates technologies such as virtual acoustics, VR, and immersive experience for recreating architectural spaces and space-based musical experiences.

Aruuke Kyzy

Aruuke Uran Kyzy (History) 

Aruuke Uran Kyzy is a first-year Ph.D. student in the History Department. Her research interests include the transnational Naqshbandi Sufi Tariqas across Central Asia, Ottoman, and Russian Empires and her research project aims to utilize 18th-century sources in Persian, Ottoman, Russian, and Chagatai languages. Aruuke is currently exploring Persian history, poetry, and culture and taking First-Year Modern Persian with Professor Shervin Emami.


Ashkan Nazari (Ethnomusicology)

A Kurdish-Iranian musician and researcher, Ashkan is currently an ethnomusicology PhD student at Stanford. He holds a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Tehran and a master's in ethnomusicology from Tehran University of Art.

Ashkan's more than 15-year-long research career has centred upon Kurdish classical and folk musics as well as Iranian classical music. The core area he is pursuing at Stanford covers the intersections between music, on the one hand, and genocide, war, violence, intellectual movements, Islam and Kurdish identity, on the other. His interest also includes the development of ethnographic studies of the relationship existing between maqām as a cultural-musical concept, with ethnicity, racism and colonialism.

In his quest to explore those realms, Ashkan has already been prolific back home, with three titles: The Concept and Structure of Maqām in Kurdish Music, The Structure of Musical Modes in Hawrāmi Music, the Anthropological Aspects of Maqam Music of Iraqi Kurdistan, with the latter set to be released soon. Many of his numerous articles have additionally appeared across prestigious Iranian journals, others presented at international ethnomusicology conferences.

As the founder and conductor of the first-ever philharmonic orchestra in his Kurdish hometown of Paveh, Ashkan also taught Iranian music theory and Iranian ensembles, while instructing setār performance and analysis of Iranian classical music at the University of Kurdistan and the University of Art and Culture in Kermanshah and Sanandaj, respectively).

Haoran Shi (Anthropology) 

Haoran is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Anthropology. His dissertation project investigates the enduring operational lifespan of the qanat systems in Iran and China, crediting its longevity to effective community-based management and maintenance approaches. These ancient, yet functional, irrigation systems have remarkably withstood environmental and political challenges over millennia. Building on his research, Haoran ventures to reassess and innovate strategies for heritage stewardship, leveraging the sustainable utility of this technology to continue enhancing lives in the arid landscapes of Central Asia.

Morgan Tufan (History) 

Morgan is an advanced Ph.D. candidate at the Department of History, Stanford University. His dissertation explores the construction and consolidation of the long and contested border between Safavid Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. His research investigates the strategies of the Kurdish aristocracy to gain greater political clout and cultural prestige in the Safavid and Ottoman imperial courts. Further, his work analyzes the internal competition and rivalry that defined the disparate Kurdish claims over their ancestral domains. Based on sources in Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Arabic, he studies the career of the indigenous institutions of the Kurdish principality and its integration into the imperial administrations. 

Apart from identifying the various mechanisms of early modern border formation, Morgan also examines the role of imperial and local historiography in securing these regions. His works scrutinizes the Ottomans, Safavids, and Kurdish usage of history as an instrument of dynastic legitimation to establish their territorial claims. 

Prior to his graduate studies at Stanford, he studied history and political science in Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and in the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France. His research was rewarded with the Walter G. Andrews Ottoman Turkish Translation Award in 2020.