Mehdi Faraji is a Postdoctoral Scholar – Teaching Fellow in the Department of Middle East Studies at the University of Southern California. Mehdi studies modern Iran, focusing on the country’s history during the mid-and late twentieth century. His work explores the formation of citizenship under the Islamic Republic of Iran, moving through the transformative years before and after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Using the framework of civil religion, he examines how the postrevolutionary state invoked a set of shared beliefs and values to unify Iranian society around Islamic dogmas and narratives and to produce new model citizens. At the same time, he also contends with how the intended subjects of these efforts, particularly the urban poor, reacted to and negotiated these subject-molding political projects. It foregrounds negotiated processes between the poor and a revolutionary state, adding complexity to scholarship on postrevolutionary Iran. Drawing on archival sources collected in Iran and original ethnographic research conducted among the urban poor, Mehdi brings state aspirations and social negotiations into the same frame. Together, his institutional analysis and ethnographic research allow a more nuanced picture to emerge that affords insight into both the evolution of a revolutionary state and the creative agency of the migrant poor.


Ph.D. Middle Eastern Studies, New York University

Master of Philosophy, New York University

Ph.D. Cultural Sociology, the University of Tehran

M.A. Sociology, the University of Tehran

B.A. Social Sciences, the University of Tehran

Teaching Courses of 2023-24 Academic Year:

Politics of Film and Literature in Iran

Persian Literature

History of Modern Iran