Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet

Robert I. Williams Term Professor of History

Director of the Middle East Center


Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar. She completed her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in history at Yale University. Her book, Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804-1946 (Princeton University Press, 1999) analyzes the significance of land and border disputes to the process of identity and nation formation, as well as to cultural production, in Iran and its borderlands. It pays specific attention to Iran's shared boundaries with the Ottoman Empire (later Iraq and Turkey), Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf region. Her book was translated into Persian by Kitabsara Press, Tehran, Iran and has been released in paperback by Princeton in 2011.

Building on this body of research, Professor Kashani-Sabet is completing a forthcoming book, Tales of Trespassing: Borderland Histories of Iran and the Middle East (under contract to Cambridge University Press), in which she expands on her arguments about frontiers, nature, and border communities in Middle Eastern modernity.

In addition, Dr. Kashani-Sabet has finished a book entitled, Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran (Oxford University Press, 2011), which received the 2012 book award from the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies for outstanding scholarship in the field of Middle East gender studies. (

She is also preparing a book on America's historical relationship with Iran and the Islamic world entitled, American Divines, Persian Diplomats: A History of US-Iranian Relations, 1833-1979 (under contract to Princeton University Press).

Professor Kashani-Sabet has written several fictional pieces. Her first novel, Martyrdom Street, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2010. Professor Kashani-Sabet teaches courses on various aspects of modern Middle Eastern history, including ethnic and political conflicts, gender and women's issues, popular culture, diplomatic history, revolutionary ideologies, and general surveys. Dr. Kashani-Sabet has directed the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania since 2006.

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Dr. Kashani-Sabet discusses Martyrdom Street (VIDEO)

Ph.D. Yale University
M.Phil. Yale University
B.A. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

  • "Freedom Springs Eternal," published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies Vol. 44 pp.156-158. Click here to read.
  • Book Review: Women in the Middle East: Past and Present by Nikki R. Keddie (Princeton 2006) published in The International Journal of Middle East Studies Vol. 43 Issue 1 pp. 164-166 Click here to read.
  • "The Haves and Have Nots: A Historical Study of Disability in Modern Iran" Iranian Studies Vol. 43 Issue 2 April 2010 (pp. 167-195)
  • Martyrdom Street: A Novel Syracuse University Press, 2010
  • "The Politics of Reproduction: Maternalism and Women's Hygiene in Iran, 1896-1941," International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), February 2006. Nominated by IJMES for the Berkshire Article Prize.
  • "Hallmarks of Humanism: Hygeine and Love of Homeland in Qajar Iran" American Historical Review (AHR) Vol. 105, No. 4 (October 2000)
  • Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation 1804-1946 Princeton University Press 1999
  • "Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran" IJMES Vol. 29 No. 2 (May 1997)
  • Frontier history of Iran & its borderlands
  • Nationalism, ethnicity, and state formation
  • Ottoman-Iranian relations; Iranian-Afghan relations
  • Social history of hygiene
  • Women's and gender history
  • Reproductive Health and history of science
  • US-Islamic relations

HIST 081: History of the Middle East since 1800

HIST 082: Islam in Global Perspective

HIST 083: Diplomacy in the Middle East

HIST 084: From Oil Fields to Soccer Fields: The Middle East in the 20th Century

HIST 106: Revolutionary Ideas, Ideas of Revolution in the Middle East

HIST 106: Women and Gender in the Middle East & North Africa

HIST 206: Middle East and the United States

HIST 206: Nationalism in the Middle East