Nazanin Shahrokni

Associate Professor

International Studies

Nazanin Shahrokni

Associate Professor

International Studies

Areas of interest

• Feminist Geography
• Ethnographies of the State
• Gender, Development, and Globalization
• Politics of the Middle East


Nazanin Shahrokni has a Ph.D in Sociology from UC Berkeley. She is a feminist scholar who uses the ethnographic moment as an entry into global processes, linking the local and the personal to the global, and discerning the global in the vernacular and the personal. Her scholarly work is located at the intersection of feminist geography, gender and globalization, gender politics, and ethnographies of the state in Iran, the Middle East, and beyond. Her research to date has engaged with two main broad themes: 

Gendered Geographies of Urban Segregation

This body of work explores the spatial expressions of various forms of social inequalities, and examines how and why city spaces become stratified along multiple and intersecting axes of difference. Within this theme, her award-winning book, Women in Place: The Politics of Gender Segregation in Iran (University of California Press 2020) explores the intersection of the politics of space and gender with the pragmatics of statehood in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Drawing on ethnographic research, and carefully selected case studies, Women in Place retells the past four decades of state policy regulating gender boundaries in Iran and pushes us to contemplate the changing place of women in a social order shaped by state-sanctioned Islamism, capitalism, and global debates about women’s rights. 

Gendered Bodies and Global Politics

This case-study-grounded work interrogates how gendered bodies are “placed,” mobilized, and represented in transnational politics, and develops and adapts concepts that can best tease out the gendered aspect of transnational politics and their localized expressions/impacts. Work in this strand has appeared in the Humanity Journal, Globalizations, and Feminist Studies. It brings women to the foreground of sanctions studies and introduces novel ways of linking households with major international geopolitical upheavals, and gendered responses to these; it explores the implication of suffering gendered bodies in diasporic activism and transnational politics of pity and interrogates the ways in which affective claims to victimhood impact on preserving traditions of claim-making; and differentiates between different forms of empathy and transnational solidarities that emerge out of the disciplining of women’s bodies. 


Women in Place: The Politics of Gender Segregation in Iran. Oakland: University of California Press. [Winner of the 2020 Latifeh Yarshater Book Award]

Selected Articles

“Depleted Households: Domesticating Economic Sanctions” Humanity Journal (2023).

“Mobilizing Pity: The Dialectics of Narrative Production and Erasure in the Case of Iran’s #BlueGirl,” Globalizations (2022) (with Spyros Sofos)

“Patriarchal Accommodations: Women’s Mobility and the Policies of Gender Difference from Urban Tehran to Migrant Mexico,” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Special edition on Transnational and Global Ethnography and Transnationalism vol. 43, #2 (2014) 148-175 (with Abigail Andrews). 

“The Mothers’ Paradise: Women-only Parks and the Dynamics of State Power in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies vol. 10, #3 (2014): 87-108. [Association for Middle East Women’s Studies Best Graduate Student Paper Prize]

“The Politics of Polling: Polling and the Constitution of Counter-Publics during “Reform” in Iran,” Current Sociologyvol. 60, #2 (2012) 202-221. 

Selected Book Chapters

“Facing the State: Mapping the Transformations of The Iranian Women’s Movements Over Four Decades” in The Handbook of Global Feminisms and Gender Studies: Convergences, Divergences and Pluralities, edited by Analia Torres et al., NY: Routledge (2023).

“(At) Home in Crisis” in Global Feminist Autoethnographies During COVID-19: Displacements and Disruptions, edited by Melanie Heath et al., NY: Routledge (2022).

“Manufacturing Consent: From Moral Subject to (Un)Healthy Citizens” in Governance and Gender in Muslim Contexts, edited by Deniz Kandiyoti, Nadje al-Ali, and Kathryn Spellman, UK: Edinburgh University Press (2019).

“Protecting Men and the State: The Politics of Gender Segregation in Iranian Universities,” in Women, Islam, and Education in Iran, edited by Goli Rezaei-Rashti and Golnar Mehran, NY: Routledge (2019). 

Selected Professional Service

Executive Committee Member, International Sociological Association (2018-) 

  • Chair of the Statutes Committee
  • Member of the Research Coordination Committee
  • Member of the Junior Sociologists & PhD Labs Committee 

Visiting Appointments

Lund University, Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Visiting Researcher 

Harvard University, Academy for International and Area Studies, Post-Doctoral Fellow 

American University of Beirut, Department of Sociology, Mary Fox Whittlesey Chair of Gender Studies and Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology 

Editorial and Advisory Board Member 

  • Middle East Law and Governance Journal (2020-)
  • Jadaliyya, Iran Page Editorial Team (2019-2022)
  • Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (2016-2020)
  • Middle East Report (2016-2020)