Texas Tech University

Jamsheed Choksy 

Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington

Brought to Texas Tech University by The Phi Beta Kappa Society Visiting Scholar Program.

"State and Faith in Iran: Recent History as a Key to Understanding the Present"

Shahs, ayatollahs, and protestors come to mind as stereotypical images of Iran in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Yet contemporary Iran has been shaped not just by kings, clergy, and uprisings. This topic will discuss how the country's geography, natural resources, international relations, and domestic changes combined with foreign influences and interventions to produce a political system in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government—not dissimilar to those of the US—become subordinate to a theocratic establishment.

Dr. Jamsheed Choksy's writings and lectures explore why human existence is viewed as a struggle between good and evil, and how beliefs and practices shape people's lives and actions. He is a leading authority on the Arab conquest of Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and Central Asia, the spread of Islam, and the impact of faith on politics, international relations, and security. He is a member of the National Council on the Humanities, and has held fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), National Endowment for the Humanities (Washington, DC), Guggenheim Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Religion. His many publications include Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society.