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Dr Afshin Shahi

PositionSenior Lecturer in International Relations & Middle East Politics
DepartmentPeace Studies and International Development
Telephone0044 (0)1274 234199

Research Interests (key words only)

Middle East politics & security, political Islam and religious sectarianism

PhD Supervision

  • Victoria Araj
  • Hossain Mehrabinejad
  • Ikutaro Morita
  • Ilham Shabari 

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Framing the Middle East (MA) 
  • Political Violence and Terrorism (MA)
  • Regional Politics (Level 2)
  • Democracy and Authoritarianism (Level 3)
  • Political Systems, Theories and Ideologies (Level 1) 


Dr Afshin Shahi is a senior lecturer in Middle East politics and International Relations. He obtained both his MA and Ph.D. from School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University.

Prior to joining the Department of Peace Studies and International development in 2013, he worked at universities of Durham and Exeter and in 2018 he was a visiting research fellow at European University Institute in Florence. He is a multilingual scholar and his research interests encompass sectarianism and the politics and security of the Middle East, with a particular focus on political Islam. His articles have appeared in scholarly outlets including the Middle East Journal, the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and the Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. He is the author of the Politics of Truth Management in Saudi Arabia (Routledge,2013) and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Iran: the Shia State and the Sunni Minority.

He is a council member for the British Society for Middle East Studies as well as associate editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. He is a regular contributor to national and global media outlets including the BBC and Aljazeera. His opinion pieces have appeared in various publications including Forbes magazine, Foreign Policy magazine, and Conversation.  He also actively works with both practitioners and stakeholders in his field. In 2017, he was a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement at the University of Bradford.

Study History

  • Qualification in Higher Education Teaching, Durham University
  • PhD Politics, Durham University
  • MA International Relations, Durham University
  • BSc International Relations, University of Wales/ Aberystwyth


Professional History

  • 2016- Present Senior Lecturer in International Relations and the Middle East Politics, University of Bradford, Division of Peace Studies
  • 2013– 2016 Lecturer in International Relations and the Middle East Politics, University of Bradford, Division of Peace Studies
  • 2012– 2013 Lecturer in International Relations and the Middle East Politics, University of Exeter, Department of Politics
  • 2012-2013 Co-ordinator of International Relations: Security, Conflict, and Peace Pathway, International Summer School, University of Exeter
  • 2010 – 2012 Tutor in International Relations, Durham University, School of Government and International Affairs
  • 2009 – 2012 Residential tutor, Durham University, St. Aidan’s College



Afshin Shahi, The Politics of Truth Management in Saudi Arabia’ (Routledge, 2013)

Afshin Shahi & Ehsan Abdoh-Tabrizi, Iran, the Shia State and the Sunni Minority (Forthcoming)


Peer reviewed articles (selected)

Afshin Shahi & Amer Mohamad, ‘Talibanization of The Islamic State: The Quest for Retrospective Legitimacy’(Under review by the Middle East Journal)

Afshin Shahi & Maya Vachkova, ‘Eco-sectarianism: From Ecological Disasters to Sectarian Violence in Syria, Journal of Asian Affairs, Volume 49, Issue 3, August 2018

Afshin Shahi & Hesam Forozan, ‘The Military and the State in Post-Revolutionary Iran: The Economic Rise of the Revolutionary Guards, The Middle East Journal, Volume 71, January 2017  

Afshin Shahi & Alam Saleh, ‘Andalusiasation: Is Iran on the Trajectory of De-Islamisation?’ The British Journal of Middle East Studies, Volume 42, Issue 4, 2015

Afshin Shahi, ‘The Paradoxes of Iranian Messianic Politics’, Digest of Middle East Studies, Volume 22 (Spring 2012) 

Afshin Shahi, ‘The Islamic Cultural Revolution and the Consolidation of the Islamic Republic’,Journal of European Society for Iranian Studies (Fall 2006) N 3 year, Volume I


Book chapters

Afshin Shahi & Ehsan Abdoh-Tabrizi, Iran, Sectarian Politics and the Economic Challenges of the Sunni Minority, in Firat Oruc
(ed) Community and Pluralism in the Middle East, Hurst/ Oxford University Press, 2018


Afshin Shahi & Maya Vachkova, Water Security and the Rise of Eco-Sectarian Conflict in Yemen, In Iqbal Mujtaba, Water Management: Social and Technological Perspective (ed), The CRC Press, 2018


Commissioned reports:

Afshin Shahi, ‘The Arab Uprising, The Muslim Brotherhood and the Future of Iran-Egypt Relations’  (Al-Sharq: Centre for Strategic Studies, June 2012)

Afshin Shahi, ‘Regional Implications of the Political Change in Egypt’, (Al-Sharq: Centre for Strategic Studies, May 2012)


In the News/Media

Afshin Shahi is a  regular contributor to the local, national and global media. In 2015 alone, he had over 130 TV, radio and press interviews with many leading outlets including BBC, France 24, Sky News, ITV News, Bloomberg Business, and The Daily Telegraph. As well as commenting on breaking news in programmes such as BBC Breakfast, BBC News at Ten, BBC News at Six, BBC News at One, BBC Radio Four PM, BBC Five Live.

He has  been invited to high profile national and global panel discussions such as ‘Inside Story’ (Al Jazeera) and ‘Beyond Belief’ (BBC Radio Four). He has also contributed to ‘File on Four’ Documentaries. He has published commentaries in outlets including Forbes, Foreign Policy and the Conversation, disseminating academic perspectives to a wider audience. One of his articles which was published in Foreign Policy magazine topped the Huffington Post's chart of 'Best World Reads Of The Week'  in 2013 and was translated into many languages reaching a global audience.    

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