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James M. Gustafson


Academic Profile

James M. Gustafson (Ph.D., University of Washington, 2010) is Associate Professor of History at Indiana State University. Prof. Gustafson is a social, economic and environmental historian of modern Iran and Central Asia. His first book, Kirman and the Qajar Empire: Local Dimensions of Modernity in Iran was published by Routledge in 2015, on the influence of local elite families in mediating relationships with the Qajar and British Empires, and integration into the capitalist world system. He has published widely on the history of 18th and 19th century Iran and Central Asia in International Journal of Middle East Studies, Iranian Studies, Journal of the Social and Economic History of the Orient, and Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Sample Publications


Kirman and the Qajar Empire: Local Dimensions of Modernity in Iran, 1794-1914.  Abingdon, Oxon; and New York: Routledge, 2015.

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

 “Geographical Literature in Nineteenth-Century Iran: Regional Identities and the Construction of Space” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 59, no.5, Forthcoming, 2016.

 “Household Networks and Rural Integration in Qajar Kirman” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46, no.1, Feb. 2014.

Repubished as:“Shabkaha-yi Khandani va Idqam-i Rustaʾi dar Kirman Dawra-yi Qajar,” trans. ʿAli Asghar Hidayati, Payam-i Baharistan 24, Summer 2015.

“Qajar Ambitions in the Great Game: Notes on the Embassy of ʿAbbas Qoli Khan to the Amir of Bokhara, 1844” Iranian Studies 46, no.4. July 2013.

Encyclopaedia Articles:

“Opium Trade” Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2017.

“The Great Game in Iran” Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2017.

“Narmashir” Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2017.

“Afzal al-Molk, Gholam Husain Khan” Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2017.

“Kerman, viii. Afsharid and Zand Period” Encyclopaedia Iranica, 2014.

“Kerman, ix. Qajar Period” Encyclopaedia Iranica, 2014.

“Kerman, xv. Carpet Industry” Encyclopaedia Iranica, 2014.

Book Reviews:

“H. Lyman Stebbins, British Imperialism in Qajar Iran” BSOS 2017.

“Nile Green, Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam” Review of Middle East Studies 50, no.1, 2016.

Current Book Projects:

An Environmental History of Modern Iran (monograph; expected 2018)

Qajar Iran, 1795-1925 (survey text; expected 2019)

Annotated Translation Project:

Ahmad ‘Ali Khan Vaziri-Kirmani, Geography of Kirman (1872-74), translated and with an introduction by James M. Gustafson and Joanna deGroot. Yale University Press.  In progress (expected 2018-19)

Field of Research

Social and Intellectual History of Qajar Iran

Current Position

Associate Professor, Indiana State University