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Standing Faculty

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet

Robert I. Williams Term Professor of History

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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Selected Academic Articles

Op-Ed Piece

  • "Iran, Syria Turn Wary Eye Toward Borders: Historic Links to Iraq Drive National Interests," Newsday, April 13, 2003.

Research Interests

  • 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
  • US-Islamic relations

Courses Taught (As Schedule Allows)

For current course listings, consult the Course Directory.

Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics  of Motherhood in Iran Martyrdom Street Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804-1946 (Persion) Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804-1946