Alireza Doostdar

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



PhD (Harvard University)

Alireza Doostdar teaches courses on the anthropology of religion, contemporary Shi‘ism, and modern Iranian religious history. His first book project, tentatively titled “Taming Wonder: Science, Doubt, and the Supernatural in Iran” explores the ways in which both secular and Islamist modernists have harnessed wonder – as an emotional and cognitive state – in the service of popularizing and sustaining their visions of social and cultural change. His research has focused on discursive productions of superstition, scientific imaginations of the supernatural, and the productivity of ambivalence and doubt in middle class religious subjectivities. His other interests include Islamic “spiritual” cinema, hagiographies of contemporary Shi‘i mystics, online occultist networks, and philosophical debates over the Islamization of the sciences in Iran.

Select work: 

"Portrait of an Iranian Witch", The New Inquiry

Swift 227

Current and Upcoming Courses

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion

30501 Magic, Science, and Religion
33600 Anthropology of Religion
41004 Shi’ism and Modernity
42904 Walter Benjamin

History of Religions

42904 Walter Benjamin

Islamic Studies

41004 Shi’ism and Modernity
42904 Walter Benjamin
50900 Readings in Al-Mizan, ‘Allama Tabataba’i’s Qur’anic Exegesis