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Dr. Ahmad Moradi


Freie Universität Berlin

Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology

Guest Researcher (Externally funded)

Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow (Prof. Dr. Kai Kresse)

Landoltweg 9-11
Raum E 013
14195 Berlin

My current research project focuses on Hazara Afghan refugees in Iran. Specifically, I study those who have suffered injuries, whether in the workplace or on the battlefield. My work explores the history of colonial medicine in the Middle East, the spread of global biomedical standards, and the Shi’a principles related to injury compensation. The research asks: how multiple local and international regularity forces conjoin to extract value from the mobile and injured bodies of Afghans?

 My research with disabled Afghans draws on my previous project, and the forthcoming monograph Persuading Iran: The Basij Militias and Local Revolutionary Politics (2024, Edinburgh University Press). In this book, I explore the intersection of violence, care, and statecraft. I also illustrate how local relations of care in Iran’s poor neighbourhoods undergo transformation when enacted and delivered by paramilitary state actors. I earned my PhD in Anthropology from the University of Manchester, and have previously undertaken a postdoc at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

University of Manchester: teaching duties involved moderating small-group discussions, evaluating short tasks, Providing oral and written feedback, marking final essays and exams, running seminars, occasional lectures, Consulting the design of outline with course conveners.

Key Ideas in Social Anthropology (First year undergraduate)       September–December 2019
Regional Studies of Culture 1 (First year undergraduate)               September–December 2019
Regional Studies of Culture 2 (First year undergraduate)               February–May 2019
Anthropology of Ethics (Final year Undergraduate and Postgraduate) September–December 2018
Regional Studies of Culture 1                                                     September–December 2018
Sex, Gender and Kinship (Second year undergraduate)             February–May 2018
Key Ideas in Social Anthropology (First year undergraduate)     February–May 2017
Engaging with Social Research (First year undergraduate)         September–December 2017
Engaging with Social Research(First year undergraduate)          September–December 2016
Regional Studies of Culture 2 (First year undergraduate)            March–May 2015




Persuading Iran: The Basij Militias and Local Revolutionary Politics. Edinburgh University Press; Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies series (in press).

Manuscript is based on the PhD thesis which was shortlisted for the Bayly Prize 2019.

The panel of adjudicators for the Bayly Prize was composed of Professor Taylor Sherman (London School of Economics), Professor Naoko Shimazu (Yale-National University of Singapore), Professor Sunil Amrith (Harvard), Professor James Laidlaw (Cambridge) and Professor Rebecca Empson (UCL).

The judges said, “An exceptionally nuanced work based on complex ethnographic fieldwork, this thesis provides fresh insight into the workings of the Basij. The judges were impressed by the way this work also develops theoretical concepts which will be of use to scholars not directly concerned with Iranian politics.”


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • (Dis)abling Sacrifice: Hierarchies of loss and Veterans Classification in Iran. Sociologus — Journal for Social Anthropology. Volume 71, Issue 2. pp. 129 – 152.
  •  The contentious life of Basij’s revolutionary politics in poor neighbourhoods of Iran. Oxford Middle East Review. 2021. Volume. 5. No. 1, 82—88.
  •  Role of image in Narrating Social Issues of Iran: Report of an Experience. Quarterly of Analysing Social Issues in Iran [in Farsi], Fall 2010. Volume. 1 (No. 3), 21—41.

Book Chapters

  • “The Basij of Neighbourhood: Techniques of Government and Local Sociality.” In Urban Neighbourhood Formations: Boundaries, Narrations and Intimacies. Hilal Alkan & Nazan Maksudyan (eds). Routledge, Urban Studies series. March 2020.
    This book chapter was awarded Young Scholar Prize 2021 from International Society for Ethnology and Folklore

Public Engagement

  •  Moradi, Ahmad (ed.), X-ist. 2022. Ostrakon, volume.1. Universität Duisburg-Essen: Essen.
    This art book is a creative collective reflection on securitisation of European external borders and border-crossings of Afghans. It features commentaries by Professor Claudia Tazreiter (University of Linköping ), Professor Stef Jansen (University of Sarajevo), Professor Madeline Reeves (University of Oxford) and Dr. Juli Perczel (University of Manchester).
  • Moradi, Ahmad. 2021. La milice révolutionnaire Bassidj dans les quartiers défavorisés Un paradoxe politique. Multitudes. 2021. No. 83, 86—93.


Selected Scholarly Conferences

  • “Injuries of State Intimacy in Iran,” International Workshop on the Iranian Revolution and its Aftermath, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France. 25.03.2022 – 30.03. 2022.
  • “Care and Suspicion: The dark Side of Political Beloning in Iran,” Berlin Anthropology Seminar, Winter Lecture Series, 08.12.2021.
  • “The Basij of Neighborhood: Techniques of Government and Sociality in Bandar Abbas,” Prize Ceremony of SIEF Young Scholar Prize, University of Helsinki, Finland. 22.06.2021
  • “Iran: Protests and Future Prespecives,” Arabischer Frühling 10 Jahre danach, University of Hamburg, 03.06.2021.
  • “Vigilantism and government of poor neighbourhoods in Iran,” Vigilantism Resurrected. Anthropological Explorations of Violent Transfigurations of State, Crime & Politics across Contexts. Workshop organised in collaboration with the EASA network, Anthropology of Crime & Criminalisation (ANTHROCRIME). Berlin. 20.05.2021 - 22.05.2021
  • “Violence of Care: Disabled Afghan Ex-combatants in Iran,” The Social Life of Care, Center For Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRRASH), University of Cambridge, 30.04.2021.
  • “Extremely Far & Incredibly Close: Doing Ethnography with Militants amid Rising Pandemic and Authoritarianism,” « Off-site »: penser des pratiques ethnographiques sans présence sur le terrain, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 01.04.2021.
  • “Compromised Anthropology: Negative Empathy, Weight of Complicity, and Ethnographic Betrayal,” The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK, ASA2021: Responsibility. University of Saint Andrews. 30.03 2021.
  • “X-ist: A Visual Experiment,” The Living, Caring, and Networking of Diaspora in the Age of Uncertainty. The Center for Global Diaspora Studies of Chonnam National University. South Korea. 20. 01. 2021.
  • “Transnational Jihad and (Un)doing of Kinship in Iran”, Anthropology of State Performance, Kinship and Relatedness. Riga Stradiņš University. 5-6 July 2020.
  • “The Value of Life in Iran,” New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe. 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). 21-24 July 2020, Lisbon.
  • “After Jihad: Hierarchies of Loss and Degrees of Belonging,”Mobilities and Care. Transformations of belonging and inequalities. 5th Vienna Ethnography Lab. Organised by Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna. 2 – 4 July 2020.
  •  “(Un)compromised Methodology: Negative Empathy, the Weight of Complicity and Ethnographic Betrayal,”Endangered Fieldwork. A joint seminar with the Association of Social Anthropologists and the Royal Anthropological Institute. March 2020.
  • “Politics of Persuasion,” Joining The Dots: Interdisciplinarity in Middle East Studies, Brismess Conference, University of Leeds, 24—26 June 2019.
  •  “The Basij of Neighbourhood,”Neighbourhoods at Times of Change and Crisis, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, May 2018
  • Crosscurrents of Commensuration. Centre For Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. Cambridge. 16-17 April, 2018.
  •  “Bodies of Veterans,”Bodies in Transition: Power, Knowledge and Medical Anthropology, EASA Medical Anthropology Network, Biannual Conference Network Meeting, Lisbon, 2017
  • “Citizenship Claims in Iran,”The Making of Peace, Conflict and Security:Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion, PACSA Meeting, Amsterdam, August 2017
SFB 1171 Affective Societies
Berlin Southern Theory Lecture