Dissertation Award


The Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award is presented biannually to the author of an exceptional Ph.D. dissertation dealing with the broad themes of politics and the public sphere in Iran, written in Persian or English. Dissertations written in other languages are accepted, if they are accompanied with condensed translation of chapters into English or Persian. This award is established by the Mehrdad Mashayekhi Foundation in memory of his dedication to the cause of democracy and social justice in Iran. AIS is now calling for nominations for dissertations completed in Winter 2022-Fall 2023. The fifth Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award will be presented at the fourteenth AIS Biennial Conference August 2024 in Mexico City.

Nominations close April 5, 2024.

2024 Award Committee

  • Amy Motlagh (Chair)
  • Daniel Sheffield, Princeton University
  • Sara Mashayekh, AIS Council
  • Behzad Borhan, AIS Council

2022 Award

  • Awardee: William Figueroa, China And The Iranian Left: transnational Networks Of Social, Cultural, And Ideological exchange, 1905 - 1979.
  • Honorable Mention: Mira Schwerda, How Photography Changed Politics:The Case of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911)
  • Honorable mention: Delbar Khakzad, Iranian Calendric Modernity


2020 Winner

Winner: Dr. Peyman Jafari.
Thesis: “Oil, Labor and Revolution in Iran; A Social History of Labor in the Iranian Oil Industry, 1973-83.” University of Leiden, October 2018
Advisors: Prof. Touraj Atabaki and Prof. Marcel van der Linden
Honorable Mention: Dr. Sheida Dayani.
Thesis: “Juggling Revolutionaries: A Theatrical History of Indigenous Theatre and Early Playwriting in Iran.” New York University, 2018
Advisors: Prof. Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami and Prof. Arnold Aronson


2018 Winner

Winner (Award Recipient): Hosna Sheikholeslami. Dissertation: "Thinking through Translation: Translators, Publishers, and the Formation of Publics in Contemporary Iran," Yale University. Advisor: J. Joseph Errington.

Honorable Mention: Assef Ashraf. Dissertation: "From Khan to Shah: State, Society, and Forming the Ties that Made Qajar Iran," Yale University. Advisor: Abbas Amanat


2016 Winner

The Mehrdad Mashayekhi Dissertation Award (2016) was presented to Pouya Alimagham for his dissertation “Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprising.” Submitted to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2015.


Past Winners

  • The 2014 Mashayekhi Dissertation Award was presented to Nazanin Shahrokni (Postdoctoral Academy Scholar The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies) for her thesis entitled "The State and the Paradox of Gender Segregation in Iran," submitted to the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • The first Honorable Mention goes to Eric Sander Lob’s dissertation entitled “An Institutional History of the Iranian Construction Jihad: From Inception to Institutionalization (1979-2011),” submitted to the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the Princeton University.
  • The second Honorable Mention belongs to Khadijeh (Nahid) Keshavarz for her dissertation entitled “Les Traces du Mouvement des Femmes en Iran (1989-2009): Luttes, Defis, Reussites,” submitted to the Department of Sociology at Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.