I am scholar of religion and history and am an accomplished educator, researcher, mentor and communicator with over a decade of experience in teaching and advising undergraduates, graduates and continuing education students. I use multi-disciplinary approaches, including digital humanities methodologies, to study and teach religion and history. I specialise in Islamic history and thought, Shiʿism, Ismaili studies and with regional expertise in the study of the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia
The thesis examines religion and history in the Middle Periods, and boundary formations through the construal by Muslims of other Muslims as the "religious other" in the era of Sunni revival at the end of the "Shiʿi Centuries”.
Thesis Advisors: John E. Woods and Franklin Lewis
The dissertation examines the development of doctrines of imamate and Islamic eschatology in early Nizari Ismaili Shiʿism and the historiography and history of the Nizari polity (1090-1256). Using multi-disciplinary approaches of historical, textual and narrative analyses as well as innovative tools of digital humanities, this research on the doctrinal, social, institutional, intellectual, political histories and thought, recovers subdued factional voices and traces of non-extant Nizari doctrinal texts which are fragmentarily embedded in Persian historical chronicles and maps not only conflicts but also the complex relations between the Nizaris and their adversaries: the Sunni ʿAbbasids, Saljuqs and Mongols.
Dissertation Committee: John E. Woods, Farhad Daftary and Paul Walker
Commenced a second multi-year research project, beginning with ethnographic work in Tajikistan, to study religion in Central Asia before, during and after the Soviet period.
Under the aegis of the US Embassy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, provided research methods training for Kyrgyzstan State Commission on Religious Affairs. Consulted with State Commission leadership on strategic planning for research. Coached Commission’s researchers to optimise work-flows, data analysis and reporting. Presented lectures at madrasas, universities and academic venues as part of US State Department outreach
Zidi Valley, Tajikistan, © Shiraz Hajiani 2020
Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ and the Emergence of Nizari Ismailism: A study of the end of the Shiʿi centuries and the beginnings of Sunni domination through the biography of Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ (Sarguẕasht-i Sayyidnā) and the history of the Nizari Ismaili polity in Iran. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (Forthcoming, 2024).
Qiyāmat-i Buzurg (The Great Resurrection): A study of Transcendence and Transformation in Nizari Ismaili Soteriology and Eschatology. (Under review, 2025)
The Account of the Ismailis from the Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh (Compendium of Chronicles) of Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍl Allāh (d. 1318): Annotated Translation from Persian (197 pages) with Analyses and Commentary. (completion target 2025)
“Divided in Death: Boundary Formations Through Control of Funerary Customs and Ritual Space in a Khoja Community,” In Rāhē Najāt (The Path of Salvation): Religious and Social Dynamics of Mercantile Communities in the Western Indian Ocean Festschrift in Honour of Françoise Mallison. Edited by Iqbal Akhtar, Michel Boivin and Chhaya Goswami. Leiden: Brill. (Forthcoming, 2024).
“Persianate Messianisms: Comparing Zoroastrian and Ismaili Eschatologies” in The One Awaited: Figuring the Messianic in World Religions. Edited by Kimberley C. Patton, Kurt A. Richardson, and Francis X. Clooney. New York: Columbia University Press. (Forthcoming, 2024).
Manifesto of the Resurrection: A critical edition and translation of the "Story of Sayyid Nāṣir-i Khusraw", a Nizari Ismaili treatise dated between 541/1147 and 559/1164. (forthcoming: IRAN: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies)
Analyses of the Ḥikāyat-i Sayyid Nāṣir-i Khusraw, a subaltern Nizari Ismaili text written before the declaration of the Qiyāmat-i Buzurg (the Great Resurrection) in 559/116. (Under review)
The Burnt Archive: Writings of the Early Nizari Ismailis at Rethinking Texts and their Contexts in Muslim Societies: Interrelations between Textual Practice, Human Agency and Technological Shifts to be held at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. October 2023
Russian Émigré, Chicago Gangster and the Assassins: Tumultuous Correspondence between Two Field-defining Twentieth Century Scholars and their contributions to Islamic Studies to be presented at Scholarly Correspondences Among Orientalists during the Early and Late Modern Period as a Historical Source: A Series of Lectures at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University. Spring 2024
Digital Humanities at the End of the World: Methodology and Workflows in the Study of Islamic History and Eschatology
Islam in Tajikistan: State Control of Religion and Identity in the Public Sphere
2022-2024 Alwaleed Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Studies at Harvard University
2022-2024 Research Associate in Transcendence and Transformation at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School
2017-2018 US State Department Fulbright Research Fellowship: Tajikistan
2010-2015 University of Chicago: University Gift Fund Tuition Remission
2012-2013 University of Chicago: Humanities Division Research Travel Grant - Archival Research at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
2011 Harvard University: Distance Learning Teaching Fellowship - Islam and Muslim Civilisations taught with Ali Asani and Diane Moore
2008-2010 University of Chicago: Academic Year FLAS Fellowship
2007-2008 University of Chicago: University Gift Fund Tuition Remission
2006-2010 Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, UK: Doctoral Scholarship
2006-2007 University of Chicago: International House Graduate Fellowship
2005-2006 Aga Khan Humanities Project for Central Asia, Dushanbe, Tajikistan: Visiting Humanities Fellowship
2005 Harvard University: Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship
2004 Harvard University: Presidential Instructional Technology Fellowship
2004 Harvard University: Freshman Seminar: Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures - Course and Website Development Fellowship
2004 Harvard University: Faculty of Arts and Sciences Teaching Fellowship: Introduction to Islam and Muslim Civilisations taught with Ali Asani
Fluent in English, Gujarati, Kutchi, Hindi-Urdu and conversant in Spanish
Primary research language: Persian: work on 12-16th century historical and doctrinal texts. Have edited and translated Nizari doctrinal tracts dated back to the 12th century. Have translated 5 chronicle accounts of the Nizari Polity in Iran. Finalising my annotated translation of the section on the Ismailis in Rashid al-Din Fadl Allah’s (d. 1318) Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh (Compendium of Chronicles) for publication
Other research languages: Arabic, French and Russian