College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > International Studies > Faculty > Kaveh Ehsani

Kaveh Ehsani

Kaveh Ehsani’s current research is about the historical and contemporary impact of oil on society and politics; the historical sociology of warfare; the politics of property, land use, and water; the urban process and spatial change in Middle East cities; and the political economy and geopolitics of post-revolution Iran.

He has been a longstanding contributing editor to the journals Goftogu (Dialogue) in Tehran, Middle East Report (Merip), and Iranian Studies.

Leiden University. PhD Social History, Faculty of Social Sciences, 2014
University of Massachusetts-Amherst. MA Regional Planning, 1987
University of Massachusetts-Amherst. BA Economics, 1983

INT401- Critical Social Theory (Markets and States; Social Classes; Politics of Knowledge & Professional Expertise)
INT408- Nature, Society & Power (Oil, Society & Politics; Politics of Environment & Resource Extraction)
INT317- Middle East Cultures & Societies
INT318- Reading Marx’s Capital
INT301- Senior Seminar; Evolution of the Modern State
INT204- Cultural Analysis (Culture & Production of Space)
INT201- Nations & States
INT203- Social Movements


“The Urban Life of Oil: Abadan and the Making of Modernity in Iran” (book manuscript in preparation) ​


Working for Oil: Comparative Social Histories of Labor in the Oil Industry, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018) (co edited with Touraj Atabaki & Elisabetta Bini)

“Disappearing the workers: How Labor in Oil has been Made Invisible”. In Working for Oil: Comparative Social Histories of Labor in the Oil Industry, Touraj Atabaki, Elisabetta Bini, Kaveh Ehsani eds. (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2018): 11-34

“Dispatches from Trumpland: Iran and US Foreign Policy,” Middle East Report No. 283, Winter 2018

“The moral economy of Iranian protests.” Jacobin, January 2018. (co-authored with Arang Keshavarzian)
Persian translation:

“Pipeline Politics in Iran: Relations of Power and Property, Dispossession and Distribution”. South Atlantic Quarterly. 116:2 (Spring 2017): 432-439

“War and Resentment: Critical Reflections on the Legacies of the Iran-Iraq War”, Middle East Critique, 26:1 (Winter 2017): 1-20.

“Oil, state, and society in Iran in the aftermath of WWI”, in The First World War and its Aftermath: The Shaping of the Middle East”, edited by Thomas Fraser, (London & Chicago: Gingko Library Press, 2015): 191-212.

“The cultural politics of public space in Tehran’s Book Fair”, in Houchang Chehabi, Peyman Jafari, Maral Jefroudi eds. Iran in the Middle East: Transnational Encounters and Social History (London: I.B.Tauris, 2015): 213-234

“Oil and beyond: Expanding British imperial aspirations, emerging oil capitalism, and the challenge of social questions in the First World War”, in The World During the First World War, edited by Helmut Bley and Anorthe Kremers (Essen: Klarte Verlag, 2014), 261-290.
* German translation by the same publisher

“Radical democratic politics and public space”, International Journal of Middle East Studies 46:1 (February 2014): 159-162

“Politics of property in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In Said Amir-Arjomand and Nathan Brown, editors. The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013): 158-178.

“Slaps in the face of reason”, in The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future (co-authored with Arang Kehsavarzian & Norma Claire Moruzzi). Nader Hashemi & Danny Postel, Eds. (New York: Melville House, 2010): 29-36

“The urban provincial periphery in Iran: revolution and war in Ramhormoz”. In Ali Gheissari, editor. Contemporary Iran (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009): 38-76 09_

“Tehran, June 2009”. Middle East Report Online. July 2009. (Co-authored with Arang Kehsavarzian & Norma Claire Moruzzi).

“Survival through Dispossession; Privatization of Public Goods in the Islamic Republic”. Middle East Report. No.250 (Spring 2009): 26-33

“Iḏeh”. Encyclopedia Iranica (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2008)

“Rural Society and Agricultural Development in Post-Revolution Iran.” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies. 15:1 (2006):79-96

“Iran: The Populist Threat to Democracy.” Middle East Report, No.241 (Winter 2006): 4-9

“Social Engineering and the Contradictions of Modernization in Khuzestan’s Company Towns”. International Review of Social History. Vol.48 (2003): 361-399

“High Stakes for Iran”. Middle East Report. No.226 (2003): 38-41

“Do-e Khordad and the Specter of Democracy; Guest Editor Introduction to Special Issue on Iran’s Reform Movement”; Middle East Report, No.212 (Fall 1999): 10-16

“Municipal Matters: Tehran’s Political Economic Transformation”. Middle East Report No.212 (Fall 1999): 22-27

“Islam, Modernity, and National Identity”. Middle East Insight, 11:5 (1995): 48-53

Kaveh Ehsani. “Tilt but Don’t Spill: Iran’s Development and Reconstruction Dilemma”. Middle East Report. No.191 (November/December 1994): 16-21


Kaveh Ehsani. “The geography of citizenship: The politics of public space in Tehran’s International Book Fair”, Goftogu, No.64 (Summer 2014): 79-98 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Urban Life Seen through Cinema” Filmed essays. Online Film Library. Asia Pacific Films. Honolulu. 2011

Kaveh Ehsani. “Privatizing the Commons in the Islamic Republic”. Goftogu. No.56. (Fall 2010): 49-66 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Nuclear Dreams- Genealogy of Grand Development Projects in Modern Iran”. Goftogu. No.54 (Fall 2009) (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “American Politics and Iranian Interests”. Goftogu. No.50 (2007): 152-64 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Agrarian Change and Rural Community in Iran after the Revolution.” Goftogu. No.46 (2006): 77-101 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani, Azam Khatam, Arang Keshavarzian. “Editors’ Introduction: The Myth of the Bazaar”. Goftogu. No.41(2005): 3-10 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “From Political Critique to Historiography: The Development of an Industrial Bourgeoisie in Iran”. Goftogu. No.41(2005): 109-26 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Is the City Still for Sale? The Continuing Saga of Tehran’s International Exhibition”. Goftogu. No.39 (2004): 130-138 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Modernization and Social Engineering in Company Towns”. Goftogu. No.25 (1999): 9-46 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Either with us or with the Terrorists: ‘The Evil Axis’ and American Foreign Policy”. Goftogu. No.33 (2002): 112-23 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Democracy’s Strategies”. Aftab. No.16 (2002): 10-17 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “A City for Sale; Property Taxes, Real Estate Speculation, and Democratic Urban Governance in Tehran”. Goftogu. No.33 (2002): 100-105 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Editor’s Introduction: Special Issue on Political Economy”. Goftogu. No.28 (2000): 3-9 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Water Crisis, Abadan’s Crisis”. Goftogu. No.27 (2000): 162-72 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani and Mohammadreza Pourparviz. “Revolution and War in Ramhormoz: Evaluation of a Provincial Experience”. Goftogu. No.25 (1999): 95-120 (in Persian)

Mostafa Azkia, Kaveh Ehsani. “Social Aspects of River Irrigation in Khuzestan, part 2”. Ketab-e Tose’eh, No.3 (1992): 96-107 (in Persian)

Mostafa Azkia, Kaveh Ehsani. “Social Aspects of River Irrigation in Khuzestan, part 1”. Ketab-e Tose’eh, No.2 (1990): 107-12 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “What next for Iran and the P5+1?”, Viewpoints No. 67 (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, November 2014): 4-5.

Editorial Board (co-authored essay, including contribution by Kaveh Ehsani). “Handshakes in Geneva”, Middle East Report, November 2013.

Kaveh Ehsani. “US Dialogue with Tehran could also Help Curb Bloodshed in War-Torn Syria”, Global Times (Beijing), October 27, 2013.

Kaveh Ehsani. “The Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges of the New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani”, Viewpoints No.30 (Washington DC, Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, June 2013): 7

Kaveh Ehsani. “Foreseeing Transformations in the Arab World”. Andishe-ye Pouya No.2 (July/August 2012): 129-31 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Goftogu is not an Arena for a Cult of Personality” Andishe-ye Pouya No.11 (Fall 2013): 160. (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Authoritarian Rule and Development by Stages: Industrial Growth Poles, Development Planning, and their Social and Historical Footprint”, Mehrnameh, No.25 (October 2012): 193-96 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “Privatization or Accumulation by Dispossession? Privatization is not a Solution for an Ailing Economy”. Alborz.
March 2009 (in Persian)

Kaveh Ehsani. “The Politics of Public Space.” Beirut Review. August 7, 2004

Kaveh Ehsani. (2004) “Round 2 for Iran’s Reformists”. Middle East Report Online (2004)

BOOK REVIEWS (since 2009)

The Iranian Political Language, by Yadollah Shahibzadeh (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), Journal ​of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World, 2016 (forthcoming)

Dubai; The City as Corporation, by Ahmed Kanna (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and Dubai; Gilded Cage, by Syed Ali (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), Middle East Reads;

Town and Country in the Middle East, by Mohammad Chaichian (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2009), Iranian Studies (Winter 2012)

Life as Politics, by Asef Bayat (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2009), Middle East Reads; February 2011,