Nahid Siamdoust

Fellow Year: 
2017-18

Nahid Siamdoust is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Yale Program in Iranian Studies at the Council on Middle East Studies in the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. She is the inaugural Ehsan Yarshater Fellow in Iranian Studies. She is also Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Dr. Siamdoust received her doctorate from the University of Oxford, where she graduated in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St. Antony’s College. Her book, “Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Music in Iran” was published in 2017 by Stanford University Press. It is an alternative history of post-revolutionary Iran viewed through the field of music. It examines music as a potent cultural register that facilitates political expression and communication, while tracing the evolution of cultural and social policy making in the Islamic Republic itself. Drawing on over five years of research in Iran, including during the 2009 protests, the book’s examinations of musicians and their music shed light on issues at the heart of debates in Iran - about its future and identity, changing notions of religious belief, and the quest for political freedom.

“Soundtrack of the Revolution” was based on Dr. Siamdoust’s doctoral thesis, which won the prizes for best dissertation in the field of Middle Eastern studies from both the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies as well as the Middle East Studies Association of America in 2014.

Dr. Siamdoust is a cultural historian whose work concentrates primarily on the intersection between politics and various modes of cultural production and media forms (music included) in Iran and the wider Middle East, with an acute focus on questions of cultural mediation, political power and social movements.  As such, she also studies states and cultural policymaking. She is further interested in investigating the production of publics and counterpublics, the evolution of conceptions of authority and belief, and shifting notions of religiosity.

Dr. Siamdoust holds a B.A. in Political Science and Art History, and a Master of International Affairs – from Barnard College and Columbia University, respectively. Before returning to academia and concurrently with her studies, she worked as a full-time Iran and Middle East based journalist for TIME Magazine, Der Spiegel, The Los Angeles Times and Al Jazeera English TV. She has taught at Oxford University and NYU Steinhardt’s Media, Culture and Communication Department.

She will be teaching “The Politics of Culture in Iran” in Spring 2018. This course examines the intersection of politics and culture in the fields of music, cinema, and newspaper journalism.

Title: 
Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer/ Ehsan Yarshater Fellow / Iranian Studies