Date: Monday September 21, 2020
Time: 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET
The Fletcher Initiative on Religion, Law and Diplomacy is pleased to welcome Dr. Mohseni for a discussion on Shi’ism and geopolitics in the Middle East.
While the field of Islamic studies has a relatively strong history as a discipline in western academia, the given assumptions within the field often take as granted forms of Sunnism as orthodox mainstream Islam while Shi’ism is largely ignored or marginalized. Such assumptions create deep misunderstandings of the vast diversity and pluralism within Islam. In this talk, Prof. Mohseni will discuss some of the sociological and theological underpinnings of Shi’a Islam and how various Shi’a movements across the region have engaged with modernity and the nation-state across different periods and episodes of the modern Middle East.
Dr. Payam Mohseni is the Director of the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and manages Visions, Harvard’s premier online publication on all matters pertaining to global Shi’ism. He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University and served as a Lecturer on Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. At Harvard, he teaches on Iranian and Middle East politics as well as Islam and is a multiple recipient of the Harvard Excellence in Teaching award. Dr. Mohseni is an active term member at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York and also a Faculty Affiliate of the Program in Islamic Law at the Harvard Law School (HLS) and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Harvard University.
Dr. Mohseni’s research focuses on comparative political institutions, Iranian foreign and domestic politics, Shi’a thought and identity, Islam and sectarian conflict in the Middle East, and the politics of authoritarianism and hybrid regimes cross-regionally. In particular, his research has contributed to the field of political institutions and comparative regime studies, specifically regarding the conceptualization of hybrid regimes and tutelary institutions, and on theoretical questions of authoritarian resurgence and democracy resistance, the institutional impact of ideology and religion, and the political economy of development in non-democratic settings. His latest research also explores the evolving contemporary dynamics of interconnected Shi’a political movements in the Middle East, the role of non-state actors in the region, and Middle East security.