Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Alumni Fellows

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

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


Shirin Saeidi joined the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. She conducted her research in Research Unit 4 “Paradoxes and Perspectives of Democratization” from May 2015 to April 2016.

Research Project at the Centre

Insurgent Citizens: Democratization and the Hizbollah Movement in Iran

Building on my research interests in state formation, Islamism, and Iranian studies, my next book project is tentatively titled Insurgent Citizens: Democratization and the Hizbollah Movement in Iran. While much has been written about Iran’s reformists and their theorizations of democracy and a neoliberal movement in the Islamic Republic (Adib-Moghaddam, 2006; Arjomand, 2002; Ashraf and Banuazizi, 2001; Farhi, 2001; Mashayekhi, 2001; Rostami Povey, 2004; Sadri, 2002), no study has offered explanations on how the radical conservatives theorize democracy (Rivetti, 2013). Increasingly, radical conservatives are pursuing a discourse of rights to regroup their social base, especially following the contested 2009 presidential election. Its members are part of a young and internet savvy generation that is influenced by both Iran’s reformist movement, as well as Western culture and cinema. Predominantly from rural regions of Iran, they seek social ‘progress’ and political inclusion in Tehran. Many enter the state’s cultural institutes genuinely dedicated to reinvigorating what they view as the original ideals of the 1979 revolution, which includes social justice, citizenry rights, state transparency and accountability.

The Hizbollah movement, however, operates performatively to construct state imaginaries and legitimize the Islamic Republic by relying on real and imagined conspiracy theories to undermine Western democracies and to internally depoliticize its members. At the same time, the regime needs this elite force to support it in the production of social knowledge, which means that Hizbollahi youth are not being paid to simply keep silent in these cultural institutes (Harris, 2013). With this conflict of interest which exists between group members and leaders regarding citizenry ideals, this study broadly asks the following: How do leaders of the movement manipulate followers to both reproduce the authoritarian state and hide the crisis of the state? What physical, performative, and discursive techniques do they use to control members? What unexpected forms of citizenship are created as leaders and members each carry out their political agendas? How do acts of citizenship performed by members influence prospects for regime change or resilience in Iran?

Research Interests

  • State Formation
  • Citizenship
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Qualitative Methodologies
  • Democracy and Democratization
  • Iranian Studies
  • Middle East Studies

Current Projects

Hero of Her Own Story: Gender and State Formation in Contemporary Iran (book manuscript)

Paper on research methodologies and fieldwork in Islamist contexts (co-authored with Paola Rivetti; text title: 'Doing Political Science Research in the Middle East and North Africa: Methodological and Ethical Challenges', edited by Janine A. Clark and Prof. Francesco Cavatorta)

Invited to write a piece for upcoming text Encyclopedia of Islam


09/2013-03/2014 University of Tehran, Iran
Visiting Professor
01/2007-05/2012 University of Cambridge, UK
PhD candidate; doctoral thesis: 'Hero of Her Own Story: Gender and State Formation in Contemporary Iran'


Saeidi, Shirin (2014): Gender, Citizenship and Religion in the Modern Iranian State, in: E.F. Isin and P. Nyers (eds.): The Routledge Handbook on Citizenship Studies, London: Routlege.

Saeidi, Shirin (2014): A Review of Women, Power and Politics in 21st Century Iran, Gender & History 26 (1): 184–91.

Saeidi, Shirin (2012): A Review of Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran, Gender & History 24 (1): 240–41.

Saeidi, Shirin (2012): Reconsidering Categories of Analysis: Possibilities for Feminist Studies of Conflict, Gender & History 24 (3) (special issue on feminist methodologies).

Saeidi, Shirin (2010): Creating the Islamic Republic of Iran: Wives and Daughters of Martyrs, and Acts of Citizenship, Citizenship Studies, 14 (2): 113–26. (selected as editor’s choice article of the edition)

Teaching Responsibilities

  • University of Tehran, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Visiting Lecturer, 2013
  • University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies, Supervisor: Social and Political Sciences Tripos/World Politics, 2008
  • George Mason University, Department of Public and International Affairs, Instructor: Government and Politics in Latin America, 2006

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • 2014-2017: Editorial Board, Citizenship Studies Journal
  • 2011: United Nation Women’s Program, technical advisor
  • Journal Referee: Citizenship Studies, Journal of Feminist Scholarship, International Feminist Journal of Politics

Seminars and Conferences

  • “A Question of Methodology: Feminist Studies of Gender and the State in Contemporary Iran”, Invited Talk, Barnard Centre for Research on Women (BCRW), New York, USA, February 23, 2012
  • Invited Talk “Islamist Women in the Iran-Iraq War” (Sponsored by the World Bank and Centre for Arab Women Training and Research), Fifth Roundtable of the Persian Gender Network, London, UK, December 9, 2011
  • “Gender and Post-Revolutionary Iran: Configuring Feminist Approaches for Examining the Warring State”, 45th Middle East Studies Association Meeting Washington, DC, USA, December 1-4, 2011
  • “Reconsidering Categories of Analysis: Possibilities for Feminist Studies of Conflict”, 110th Annual American Anthropological Association Meeting, Montreal, QC, Canada, November 16-20, 2011
  • “The Affective Turn in IR? Historicizing Labor, Feminist Knowledges and the Politics of Emotions” (Co-Authored with Heather M. Turcotte), 52nd International Studies Association International Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, March 16-19, 2011


  • 2014 Royal Irish Academy Mobility Grant (declined)
  • 2011 InterGender Research School Grant, the Swedish Research Council (declined)
  • 2010 Doctoral Fellowship on “Gendered Violence”, Centre for Gender Excellence and Department of Gender Studies Linköping University, Sweden (awarded and fully funded)
  • 2009 College Senior Scholarship for First-Class Research, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2008 College Senior Scholarship for First-Class Research, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge

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