Alireza Doostdar

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the Anthropology of Religion; also in the College

 

 

PhD (Harvard University)

Alireza Doostdar's research and teaching bring together anthropological approaches to the study of Islam, science, gender, embodiment, and the state. His first book, The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny (Princeton University Press, 2018), examines the rationalization of the metaphysical “unseen” in Iran since the early twentieth century. Through ethnographic and historical analysis, it considers a range of knowledges and practices usually treated as marginal to orthodox Islam: sorcery and occult sciences, séances with the souls of the dead, jinn exorcisms, the marvels of Shi‘i mystics, and various New Age-inflected therapeutic spiritualities. His second book project, tentatively titled “The Idea of an Islamic Social Science” examines Iranian attempts to “Islamize” social scientific and humanistic inquiries by placing them in conversation with Islamic philosophy, theology, ethics, and mysticism. Other interests include Iranian spiritual cinema and its engagements with Hollywood sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and the embodiment of the Islamic state through everyday practices and acts of intimacy.

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Current and Upcoming Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

AASR 52808 Sovereignty, Intimacy and the Body

AASR 42514 Witchcraft

AASR 42802 Ethnographies of the Muslim World

AASR 43005 Is Modernity Disenchanted?

AASR 54000 Ethnographic Methods

History of Judaism

HIJD 44612 The Occult in the Islamic World

History of Religions

HREL 42514 Witchcraft

HREL 44612 The Occult in the Islamic World

HREL 52808 Sovereignty, Intimacy and the Body

Islamic Studies

ISLM 42802 Ethnographies of the Muslim World

ISLM 44612 The Occult in the Islamic World