Ciruce A. Movahedi-Lankarani

Photo of Ciruce A. Movahedi-Lankarani

Ph.D. Candidate

    I study modern Iran, focusing on the country's history during the mid- and late-twentieth century. My dissertation, The Domain of Gas: Energy Technologies and the Environment in Modern Iran, explores the entanglements of human and nonhuman factors that have shaped the development of Iranian society, particularly how the physical properties of its vast resources of fossil fuels and their attendant infrastructural assemblages have both reflected and influenced competing notions of progress, modernity, prosperity, and the environment. For many Iranians, the polluted cities of Europe and North America and the deteriorating air quality of their own urban areas threatened the fundamental validity of their country's modernizing efforts. Focusing on the effects of hydrocarbons, topography, and air pollutants, I study how Iranians valued gas energy as a savior from the environmental violence their developmental policies had wrought, ultimately interrogating how human action and expectation were combined with irreducible topographic and material realities to render environments and fuel sources as "clean" and "polluted."

    My research reflects not only my interest in the histories of Iran and the environment, but also my training and professional experience in engineering. Through those experiences I developed an interest in how people interact with technology, and on a broad level my work seeks to explore the historically contingent ways people and societies have encountered, adopted, adapted, translated, and rejected technologies in both practical and ideational terms. In emphasizing the environmental contexts in which such events were embedded, I study how imaginaries of technology and the environment in the Global South have had and will have profound implications for humanity and the natural world within which we are enmeshed.

    My work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council.

    Commitee:

    Education

    M.A., Social Sciences, University of Chicago (2012)
    B.S., Computer Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park (2005)
    B.S., Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park (2005)

    Research Interests

    History of the Modern Middle East; Modern Iranian History; Environmental History; History of Technology; Energy History; History of Development and Modernization; Social History; Cultural History

    Courses Taught

    HIST 081: The History of the Modern Middle East since 1800
    HIST 421: Europe in the World since the First World War
    HIST 431: A World at War

    CV (file)