Fakhreddin Azimi


D.Phil., Oxford

Areas of Specialty

Modern Middle East, Islam, socio-political and cultural history of modern Iran

Current Research Interests

Religion, secularity and the state in modern Iran

Modes of domination and legitimation; power, the political, and civic life


Azimi entered Tehran University having achieved the highest grade in the humanities in the country-wide university entrance exam. He received his BA in Political Science from the School of Law & Political Science. As an undergraduate he edited a student journal to which top students as well as prominent scholars contributed. He pursued his master’s degree (M.Sc. in Politics with special reference to the Middle East) at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and his D.Phil. at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. There he had the opportunity to work with scholars such as the distinguished historian Albert Hourani and take part in seminars by leading philosophers and social theorists.

Azimi is a scholar of the history and culture of modern Iran and the Middle East, and has a wider interest in the Islamicate and Persianate worlds, as well as in the epistemology of history and the history of social science disciplines.


In addition to teaching courses on both the medieval and modern Middle East, Azimi is interested in historiography and the exploration of the conceptual and theoretical contribution of the social sciences to historical investigation. He has taught a graduate seminar on history and theory.

Books in English

The Quest for Democracy in Iran: A Century of Struggle against Authoritarian Rule (Cambridge Mass. & London, Harvard University Press, 2008, paperback, 2010).

– Winner of the Mossadegh Prize for best book on Iran in any language Mossadegh Foundation, Geneva.

– Winner, Saidi-Sirjani Award, International Society for Iranian Studies.

– Finalist, Connecticut Book Award, Non-Fiction Category, Connecticut Center for the Book.

Iran: The Crisis of Democracy, from the Exile of Reza Shah to the Fall of Musaddiq (New York & London, 1989, revised paperback edition, 2009); (Persian translation revised, with a new introduction, Tehran 1994; 8th edition, 2019).

Books in Persian

The Identity of Iran. Exploring Manifestations of Nationalism: A Civic Perspective (Tehran: Agah Publishers, 2021, third edition, 2022).

Reflections on Mosaddeq’s Political Thinking: Essays on Iranian History, Politics and Political Culture (Tehran: Khojasteh Press, 2015).

National Sovereignty and its Enemies: Probing the Record of Mosaddeq’s Opponents (Tehran: Negareh-ye Aftab, 2004, fourth edition, 2022).

Selected articles and book chapters in English

“Historical Cognition and the Taxonomy of Sources”, Iranian Studies, 2021, vol. 54, nos. 1–2, pp. 297–307.

“Khomeini and the ‘White Revolution’”, in Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, ed. A Critical Introduction to Khomeini (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 19-42.

“The Overthrow of the Government of Mosaddeq Reconsidered”, Iranian Studies (the journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies), vol. 45:5 (September 2012), pp.  693-712.

“Historiography under the Pahlavis”, in Persian Historiography, ed. Charles Melville & Ehsan Yarshater (London & New York, I.B. Tauris, 2012), pp. 367-429.

“The Hidden Half: Love, Idealism and Politics in Iranian Cinema and Society”,  in Film in the Middle East and North Africa: Creative Dissidence, ed. Josef Gugler (University of Texas Press & American University in Cairo Press, 2011).

“Unseating Mosaddeq: The Configuration and Role of Domestic Forces”, in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne (eds.), Mohammad Mosaddeq and the Coup of 1953 in Iran (Syracuse University Press, 2004), pp. 27-101, 286-303.

“On Shaky Ground: Concerning the Absence or Weakness of Political Parties in Iran”, Iranian Studies, vol. 30, no. 1-2 (winter/spring 1997-98), pp. 53-75.

“Amir Agha: an Iranian worker”, in Edmund Burke III (ed.), Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East (University of California Press, 1993), pp. 290-304.

“Workers and peasants in modern Iran”, International Labor and Working-Class History, no. 36, fall 1989.

“Musaddiq: the reconciliation of ethics and politics, nationalism and democracy”, in James A. Bill and Wm. Roger Louis (eds.), Musaddiq, Iranian Nationalism and Oil (University of Texas Press, 1988).

In addition to many review articles, book review and encyclopedia entries, he has contributed a number of entries to the Encyclopaedia Iranica (ongoing), including:

“Great Britain’s Influence in Iran: 1941-”, vol. XI, Fascicle 3 (2002), pp. 234-46.

“Elections under the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchies, 1906-79”, vol. VIII (1998), pp.345-50.

 Articles and book chapters in Persian

Azimi has written more than fifty articles and book chapters on Iranian and related history, Orientalism, historiography and social scientific topics in Persian. His writings have received commendation not only for content but also for prose style, and he has been three times recipient of the Mahtab Mirzaie Memorial Prize. In 2020, he was featured in the Tehran based scholarly-intellectual quarterly Negah-e Nou (no.126, Summer 2020), with contributions from scholars from Iran and Europe discussing various aspects of his work.

Fakhreddin Azimi, professor of history, UConn
Contact Information
Mailing Address241 Glenbrook Rd, U-4103, Storrs CT 06269
Office LocationWood Hall, Rm 221
CampusCampus: Storrs
Office HoursOn Leave Spring 2024