Important Notice:

The ongoing events in Iran in response to the tragic death of Mahsa Amini have had a deep impact on the SFU student population, particularly Iranian students, and on the Iranian diaspora, including the community here in the Lower Mainland. In recognition of the gravity of current events, the organizing committee of the Mirhady Lecture Series in Iranian Studies has decided to postpone the November 3rd event until the spring of 2023.

If you are a self-identified Iranian student at SFU and need support, SFU Health & Counselling is offering a weekly Iranian Student Support Group facilitated by registered clinical counsellors. The next support group is meeting on Monday, October 24. Details can be found at this link:

Additionally, if you know of or are contacted by any people who may be Scholars at Risk, they may be eligible for support through or .

The Drs. Fereidoun and Katharine Mirhady Endowed Lecture in Iranian Studies is an Annual Lecture series featuring research and scholars with a particular focus on Iran and its role in the wider Middle East.

The Mirhady Lecture in Iranian Studies returns with an exploration of the fading histories of inter-Asian exchanges at the edges of the Mughal World.


Please check back soon for updated information.

As Mughal sovereignty waned under British colonial rule, Indo-Persian travelers and intermediaries linked to the East India Company explored and surveyed the Burmese Empire, inscribing it as a forest landscape and Buddhist kingdom at the crossroads of South and Southeast Asia. Based on colonial Persian travel books and narratives in which Indo-Persian knowledge and perceptions of the wondrous edges of the Indian Ocean merged with Orientalist pursuits, Arash Khazeni will uncover the fading histories of inter-Asian crossings and exchanges at the ends of the Mughal world.

Arash Khazeni earned a Ph.D. in history from Yale University in 2006 and joined Pomona College in 2010 following fellowships at the Huntington Library and UCLA. Trained as a historian of the Islamic Middle East, primarily Iran and Afghanistan, during the 16th through 19th centuries, Khazeni’s research veers to the margins and the places in between empires, world regions and nations. This emphasis on the margins and borderland spaces began in a Marxist vein, as a context for exploring the histories of societies “from below” in the path of E.P. Thompson, and a way of retracing the pasts of “people without history.” This method has also found kinship in aspects of the field of environmental history and become associated with certain forms of interconnected global history, in particular a wave of new studies of the Indo-Persian world and inter-Asian contacts and exchanges.

Khazeni's previous books include Tribes and Empire on the Margins of Nineteenth-Century Iran (University of Washington Press, 2010), Sky Blue Stone: The Turquoise Trade in World History (University of California Press, 2014), and The City and the Wilderness: Indo-Persian Encounters in Southeast Asia (University of California Press, 2020).

At Pomona College, Khazeni teaches courses on the Middle East, South Asia, and the Indian Ocean in the Department of History and serves as the coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies.

High Praise for The City and the Wilderness: Indo-Persian Encounters in Southeast Asia:

“Recent years have seen a revival in the history of the early modern Indo-Persian world, largely focused on the Mughal Empire and the Deccan. Arash Khazeni’s The City and the Wilderness is a novel and innovative contribution to this literature, but one which largely focuses on the eastern fringes of this world, especially mainland Southeast Asia. Through a close and masterful reading of texts and their accompanying images, Khazeni demonstrates his unique capacity for bringing together cultural, social, and environmental histories.”—Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Distinguished Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Europe’s India: Words, People, Empires, 1500–1800

“Khazeni brilliantly captures his travelers’ enchanted encounters with the world of the Indo-Persian Burmese frontier. Unique and riveting. An exceptionally rare display of comprehensive scholarship that never loses the voices, the flavor, the magic, and the astonishment of the discovery of an uncharted new world of cultures and nature. Rich with both illustrations and historical implications for contemporary Burma.”—James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and author of Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States