Associated Staff


Honorary Professors
Honorary Fellows
Honorary Lecturers
Associate Fellows
Friends of the Institute

Honorary Professors


Professor Robert Hillenbrand

Professor Robert Hillenbrand was educated at the universities of Cambridge (English Literature; M.A.) and Oxford (Oriental Studies; D.Phil. 1974). He has been teaching at the Department of Fine Art in the University of Edinburgh since 1971, and was awarded a chair of Islamic art there in 1989. His travels have taken him throughout the Islamic world. He has held visiting professorships at Princeton, UCLA, Bamberg, Dartmouth College, and Groningen. From 1992 to 2004  he held a short-term visiting professorship at Leiden. In 1993 he delivered the Kevorkian Lectures at New York University, and in 2004 he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University in Cairo. His scholarly interests focus on Islamic architecture, painting and iconography, with particular reference to Iran and early Islamic Syria. He works with the following languages: German (native speaker), French (excellent), Italian (reading knowledge), Spanish (reading knowledge), Persian (colloquial) and Arabic (good knowledge for epigraphic purposes).

He has written the following books:  Imperial Images in Persian Painting; Islamic Art and Architecture (translated into German in 2005, Danish in 2008 andPersian in 2009); The Architecture of Ottoman Jerusalem: An Introduction; Studies in Medieval Islamic Architecture (2 vols.);the prize-winning Islamic Architecture: Form, Function and Meaning (translated into Persian in 1998 and 2000); The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; and Islamic Architecture in North Africa (co-author).  In addition, he has edited seven books and co-edited two more. He has also published some 150 articles on aspects of Islamic art and architecture. 

Professor Carole Hillenbrand

Prof. Carole Hillenbrand, FBA, FRSE, OBE, has joined the School of History at the University of St Andrews as Professor of Islamic History.Prof. Hillenbrand was educated at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh, the latter where she most recently held the appointment of Professor of Islamic History. Amongst her many academic distinctions, Prof. Hillenbrand is a Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 2009 was awarded an OBE for services to Higher Education.

With research interests including the Seljuqs of Iran and Turkey, the Crusades, and medieval Muslim political thought, Prof. Hillenbrand's appointment enhances the existing expertise of the School of History in medieval and Middle Eastern history. In 2005 Prof. Hillenbrand was the first non-Muslim to be awarded the highest accolade in Islamic studies in the Arab world, the King Faisal Prize for Islamic Studies. Since 1983 she has been Islamic Advisory Editor at Edinburgh University Press and from 1999 has been the editor of the series entitled Studies in Persian and Turkish History, published by Routledge.

Honorary Fellows


Dr Paul Luft

Dr Paul LuftBorn and educated in Germany, Dr Luft read Iranian History, Iranian Studies and Islamic Studies at Berlin and Göttingen Universities before undertaking a three year Visiting Fellowship at St Antony's College, Oxford. He went on to teach Middle Eastern Studies and Persian History and Literature at Manchester University and also taught at the Oriental School, Durham University. Following his retirement in 1999 he became an Honorary Fellow of the IMEIS at Durham University where he founded the Centre for Iranian Studies with Ali Ansari.

He is a member of various academic societies in Europe, among them European Society for Iranian Studies, BRISMES and BIPS which has elected him as Honorary Vice-President in 2006. Since 1993 he has been a member of the editorial board of the journals of BRISMES, IRAN and several academic journals in Iran. His main academic interests are periods of transformation in 19th and 20th century history of Iran including the political and cultural changes from a tribalised to a court society in the first half of the 19th century and further administrative reorganisation of the state in Iran in the early period of Reza Shah. (1925 – 1941).

Honorary Senior Lecturer


Sir Geoffrey Adams, KCMG

Sir Geoffrey AdamsGeoffrey Adams is a graduate of Oxford University, and joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1979. His early career took him to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Egypt and Paris, where he spent two years at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration. More recently he was Consul General in Jerusalem (responsible for the UK's relations with the Palestinian Authority) and Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary (at the time the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP). From 2006-March 2009 Geoffrey was British Ambassador to Iran. In September 2009 he will be taking up a new post as Director, Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.


Honorary Lecturer

Dr. Michael Postl

Michael Postl studied for his PhD in European, Constitutional and Public International Law at the University of Vienna. He went on to join the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs where he worked in the Asia Unit and the Office of the Legal Adviser, heading Delegations to several UN and Council of Europe Conferences. During the Austrian EU Presidency in 2006, Michael was the Head of EU Council Working Groups on RELEX/Sanctions and the International Criminal Court. From 2006 to 2009 was the Austrian Ambassador to Tehran and more recently, he has worked in the Political Section of the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From January 2010 he has been the acting Director on the Western Balkans and in 2010, was appointed as the Designated roving Austrian Ambassador for Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan. Since 2004 he has also been a lecturer at the University of Innsbruck and delivers various lectures in the field of Public International Law and International Relations across Austria.


Research Fellows


Dr. Maryam Ghorbankarimi, (School of Modern Languages)

Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Maryam Ghorbankarimi moved to Canada in 2001 to continue her education in film at Toronto's Ryerson University. She completed her PhD in film studies at the University of Edinburgh in November 2012, her dissertation was entitled “A Colourful Presence; An Analysis of the Evolution in the Representation of Women in Iranian Cinema since the 1990”. As well as a scholar Maryam is a filmmaker and have made some award winning short films in both formats of short documentary and fiction. These works have been shown in a number of international festivals, namely: Montreal International Film Festival, Beijing International Short Film Festival, and Tehran International Short Film Festival. She is also a film editor and recently edited an Iranian-Canadian feature length film entitled “The Desert Fish”. Her wider research interests include the concept of third cinema and different national cinemas and transnational cinemas and cultures. Her current research is mostly on world cinema subjects, with a focus on Middle Eastern cinema specifically.

Dr Parmis Mozafari

Dr Parmis Mozafari did her BA (Music) and MA (Art History) in Iran and received her PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Leeds for which she was granted ‘ORSAS’ and ‘Tetley and Lupton’ scholarships. She is a Santoor player and has taught art history and music in Iran and ethnomusicology, Persian music and Persian language in the UK. Her research interests include music iconography, the aesthetics and symbolism of musical instruments, music and national identity; music and female performers in Persian literature, contemporary religious art and music in Iran, and the role of religious minorities in Iran’s musical culture. She is currently finalising her monograph on female performers in Iran. She has published the following articles: ‘Carving a Space for Female Solo Singing in Post-Revolution Iran’ in Karima Laachir & Saeed Talajooy (eds.), Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema and Music, (2012, Routledge), and ‘Dance and the Borders of Public and Private Life in Post-Revolution Iran’ in Annabelle Srebreny and Massoumeh Torfeh (eds.) Cultural Revolution in Iran: Contemporary Popular Culture in the Islamic Republic (2013, I.B. Tauris).

Non-Resident Fellows

Armin Yavari, FRSA

Armin is a University of London graduate in modern European history with a passionate interest in the history, art, architecture and archaeology of the Near and Middle East. His research focus is geared towards Isfahan, both city and province, and its development between the seventeenth- and twentieth-centuries. His current projects include a photographic expedition to Iran to create a permanently accessible digital record of a series of provincially-located endangered historic sites, and collecting material on the Sadr-Esfahanis, a nineteenth century father-son team of humble origins who, between them, governed Isfahan for twenty-eight years and served Fath ‘Ali Shah as his Sadr-Azam for thirteen. In 2012, he founded Symposia Iranica, the Biennial Graduate Conference on Iranian Studies, which inaugurated at the University of St Andrews as the field’s second-largest conference organised in the UK.

Arash Zeini

Arash's main research interests broadly include the study of ancient Iran and Zoroastrianism, particularly thelate antique exegesis of the Avesta. He is also interested in digital humanities, particularly in aspects of text encoding.

For his dissertation, submitted at SOAS, he produced a critical edition of the Middle Persian (MP) version of the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti (YH), a liturgical text originally composed in the Old Iranian language of Avestan. In a broad investigation of the MP literature he argued that Zoroastrian exegesis shares the common traits of Cabezón’s decontextualized scholasticism, a cross-cultural category abstracted from the Medieval European scholasticism. He also proposed that the fire’s development in Zoroastrianism exemplifies correlative structures, which often emerge in manuscript traditions. The dissertation challenges the view that considers the study of the MP translations an auxiliary science to Avestan studies, framing the text instead within the exegetical and historical context from which it emerged.


Dr Bernd Kaussler, James Madison University

Dr Bernd KausslerDr Bernd Kaussler finished his PhD on British-Iranian relations and the Salman Rushdie affair at the Institute and School of International Relations and is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at James Madison University where he is teaching courses on Middle East Security, Political Islam and US Foreign Policy. His research interests on Iran are focusing on foreign policy, human rights and political violence and security. He is a contributor to Jane's "Iran Security Sentinel" and is currently working on a project on US-Iranian relations.

University Profile


David Patrikarakos

David Patrikarakos is an author, journalist and film producer who studied the Middle East with a particular focus on Iran at Oxford. His first book, Nuclear Iran: The Birth of an Atomic State, was the first history and analysis of Iran’s nuclear programme from its beginnings in the 1950s until the present day. He has written on Iran for a variety of publications, including the Financial Times, London Review of Books, New Statesman, Daily Telegraph, Reuters, Prospect and many more. He has produced films on Iran for various broadcasters, including Channel 4’s Dispatches and appears regularly on TV and Radio to discuss Iran and the wider Middle East.

He has briefed both British Parliament and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Iran and worked with Think Tanks in Europe and the US concerned with Iran and the Middle East. He works internationally and is a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale. His interests centre on Iran’s nuclear programme, the workings of the Iranian state, its foreign policy and Iran’s place in the modern world.


Dr Amanda Phillips

Amanda Phillips (DPhil, Oxon, 2011) is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Art. She joined the faculty there after a post-doctoral fellowship at the Berlin Museum of Islamic Art and a Marie Curie / Gerda Henkel fellowship at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham.  She publishes regularly on art and material culture from the Islamic world, with a focus on the decorative arts and most especially silk textiles. Her book, Everyday Luxuries, is now in press with the National Museums in Berlin. Her research charts the social and economic histories of fashion and technology, with a focus on the Ottoman Empire and its place in the global eighteenth century.



Friends of the Institute


Roger Cohen - New York Times

Jim Muir, BBC

Sadeq Saba, BBC

Jon Snow, Channel 4 News