Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel: +49 (0)203 379-5230
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: sadjed@spam


Mag. Dr. Ariane Sadjed joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. She conducted her research in Research Unit 2 “Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation” from June 2014 to January 2015.

Research Project at the Centre

Iranian Jews and Bahais in Europe: Islam, Secularization and the Formation of Religious Identity

My research explores the religious identity and community formation of Iranians in Europe in the light of global relations between the West and Islam. It is proposed that essentialist perceptions of Islam as a religion of authoritarianism and backwardness-and thus as juxtaposed to the West-reshape religious traditions and identities of Iranian immigrants. The relationship between religion and Western modernity (Asad 2003, van der Veer 2001) will be examined in relation to modes of governance (Gottschalk 2013) and by the example of three selected groups within the Iranian diaspora: Jews, Bahais, and Muslims. The core questions will be: how are these three groups shaped by policies and national discourses from "above" and "below" between Iran and the West? What are their forms of resistance to these policies and discourses?

As Ella Shohat (1999) has pointed out in regard to Middle Eastern Jews, the Eurocentric separation of the “Jewish“ and “Middle Eastern“ has flawed studies of minorities in the Muslim world. This study aims to generate new perspectives regarding this matter. In contrast to Judaism, the Baha’i faith is not acknowledged as a religious minority in the Islamic Republic and faces more severe repression in Iran. Against this backdrop it will be examined how Bahai identities are constituted and transformed in a diaspora.

Considering the sociopolitical and historical framework that shaped and currently shapes the migration from Iran to the West, this approach promises important results regarding the interaction between global politics and (private) religious subjectivities. Processes of transnational community formation reflect a homogenization of religious practices and identities while simultaneosly providing space for new hybridizations. In a context in which national, religious, cultural and economic differences increasingly gain significance, this study aims to prove that the intersection of identity concepts is often the norm rather than the exception.

Works cited:
Asad, Talal (2003): Formations of the Secular. Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press.
Gottschalk, Peter (2012): Religion, Science, and Empire. Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shohat, Ella (1999): The Invention of the Mizrahim?, Journal of Palestinian Studies, Vol. 29 (1): 5–20.
Van der Veer, Peter (2001): Colonial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Research Interests

  • Modern Middle East/Iran
  • Globalization
  • Popular Culture
  • Religious Minorities in the Middle East
  • Jewish-Muslim relations
  • History of Religion
  • Political Islam

Current Projects

  • Iranian Diaspora in Europe: Formation of New Religious Traditions and Difference
  • Secularism as a Mode of Governance
  • Migrants as Professionals in Adult Education (ESF project)
  • Iranian Lifestyle Magazines: The Cultivation of Body and Mind


Since 03/2013 University of Vienna
Department of European Ethnology
Institute for Society and Culture
06/2012-06/2013 Austrian Society for Political Science
Department of Migration
2011 Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
Institute for Cultural Studies
Title: "Shopping for Freedom in the Islamic Republic. Resistance and Conformity in the Consumption Behavior of the Iranian Middle-Class."
2008-2009 University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Institute for Near and Middle Eastern Studies
Interdisciplinary Ph.D. programme
07/2005-06/2008 MAIZ - Organization by and for Migrant Women and ICMPD International Centre for Migration Policy Development
Department of Migration and Education
Researcher, Lecturer
05/2005-08/2005 Berlin Institute for Comparative Social Sciences
Department of Migration
Research Assistant
2005 University of Vienna, Austria
Institute for Psychology and Anthropology
Master of Science
1997 Goldsmiths College, London, UK
Institute for Psychology
Master of Science

Selected Publications

Kukovetz, Brigitte/Sadjed, Ariane/Sprung, Annette (2014) (eds.): Strategies of Skilled Migrants to Promote their Careers in the Field of Continuing Education. Wien: Loecker (forthcoming).

Sadjed, Ariane (2014): Secularism as a Mode of Power: Islam and (Ir-)Rationalities of Western Governance, in: Kiesel, Doron/Lutz, Ronald (eds.): Religion and Politics. Frankfurt/New York: Campus (forthcoming).

Sadjed, Ariane (2013): Pitfalls of Secularization, in: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 24, June 2013, Bonn.

Sadjed, Ariane (2012): Shopping for Freedom in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Resistance and Conformity in the Consumption Behavior of the Iranian Middle-Class, Bielefeld: transcript.

Sadjed, Ariane (2011): Review: Hamid Dabashi: Iran, the Green Movement and the USA, Zed Books 2010, in: The Argument – Journal for Philosophy and Social Sciences Nr. 293, Berlin.

Sadjed, Ariane (2009): Review: Arzoo Osanloo: The Politics of Women’s Rights in Iran. Princeton Univ. Press, in: The Argument – Journal for Philosophy and Social Sciences Nr. 283, Berlin.

Sadjed, Ariane (2009): Islamic Modernity and Cultural Authenticity, in: H. Mitterbauer & J. Feichtinger (eds.), Annual of Cultural Studies: “Modernity”, Studienverlag Innsbruck.

Sadjed, Ariane (2007): The Miniature-Koran, in: Journal for Cultural Exchange, Institute for Foreign Relations (Zeitschrift Kulturaustausch, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen IFA) No. 1, Berlin.

Sadjed, Ariane (2005): Islamic Identity in the Diaspora, in: Swiss Journal for Religious and Cultural History (Schweizer Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte) Nr. 99, Freiburg, Switzerland.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Department of European Ethnology, University Vienna
  • Alice Salomon University for Applied Sciences, Berlin

Seminars and Conferences

  • "Consumer Culture and the Design of a Modern Self in Iran. A Discourse Analysis of Iranian Lifestyle-Magazines", Annual Meeting of the Middle Eastern Studies Association, New Orleans
  • "Consumption Patterns of the Iranian Middle Class: Mediating Demands of the State and the Market", Middle East History and Theory, University of Chicago
  • "Shopping for Freedom? Religion and Consumption in the Islamic Republic of Iran", Colloquium “Israel and the Middle East in the Modern Era”, University of Heidelberg
  • "Civic Stratification, Gender and Family Migration Policies in Europe", Conference on “Diaspora and Transnationalism: New Discourses, New Agents, New Institutions?”, European University Florence, Italy
  • "Iranian Modernity", University of Antwerpen Summer School “Religion, Culture and Society”, Antwerpen, Belgium


  • German Middle East Studies Association for Contemporary Research and Documentation (DAVO)


  • 2008: Fulbright Stipend

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Prof. Elena Pulcini

Prof. Dr Sigrid Quack

Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme

Dr Nicole Renvert

Dr Mathieu Rousselin

Dr Galya Ruffer

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

Dr Andrea Schapper

Prof. Dr Klaus Schlichte

Dr Jessica Schmidt

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Prof. Dr Ulrich Schneckener

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