Ali FerdowsiAli Ferdowsi, Ph.D.

Professor, History and Political Science

After receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, Ali Ferdowsi studied as a post-doctoral fellow in the Graduate Program in Demography at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught for three years as a visiting professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Tokyo University for Foreign Studies in Japan.

After working for five years as an International Specialist for NHK (Japan Broadcast Corporation), he returned to the United States in 1997 and began teaching in the Department of History and Political Science at Notre Dame de Namur University.


  • Post-Doctoral Training in Demography. University of California, Berkeley, 1985-1987.
  • Ph.D., Sociology. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1985.
  • MA, Demography. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1978.
  • MA, Sociology. University of Florida, Gainesville, 1976.
  • MS, National Development. Pahlavi University, Shiraz, 1975.
  • BA, Sociology. Pahlavi University, Shiraz, 1974.


  • Faculty Development Research Grant, Notre Dame de Namur University, 2007
  • Faculty Development Research Grant, Notre dame de Namur University, 2005
  • MIT Workshop on World History (MIT, June 2-3), 2003
  • Faculty Development Research Grant, Notre Dame de Namur University, 2003
  • NEH Summer Institute on Eurasian History (Harvard University, July 1 – August 7), 2002
  • Faculty Development Research Grant, Notre Dame de Namur University, 2001
  • NIH Grant for Population Studies, 1985-1987
  • Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, 1978-1979


  • Forthcoming—“The Crisis of Iran’s 1906 Constitutional Revolution and the Rise of the Nationalist Cult of Persian Poetry,” in Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet and Pardis Minuchehr (Eds.) State-Building and Global Response to Iranian Constitutionalism
  • Forthcoming—“Sang-e Sabour (The Patient Stone) by Sadeq Chubak,” in Encyclopedia Iranica  Forthcomin —“Bamdad-e Khomar (The Morning After) by Fattaneh Hajseyedjavadi” in Encyclopedia Iranica
  • In press—“From Peasant to Farmer: Morio Ono and the History of Modernization of Kheyarabd,” Iran Nameh (Special Edition on Iranian Rural Society after the Islamic Revolution)
  • In press—“On Globalization,” Review essay on Globalization: a Short History by Jurgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Petersson, in Peace Review
  • “Comments Delivered at Democracy and Global Islam,” Center on Institutions and Governance Working Paper No. 15, Institute of Government Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2005.
  • Rev. Essay on Creating an Islamic State: Khomeini and Making of a New Iran, by Vanessa Martin, and Who Rules Iran? The Struggle for Power in the Islamic Republic, by Wilfried Buchta,  in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 31:2, 2004.
  • Rev. of For God, Mammon, and Country: a Nineteenth Century Persian Merchant Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb (1834-1898), by Shireen Mahdavi, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, (30:2), 2003.
  • “Hajj Sayyah,” Encyclopedia Iranica, 2002.
  • Rev. of Iran, Islam and Democracy: The Politics of Managing Change, by Ali M. Ansari, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, (29:2), 2002.
  • “Haj Sayyah and the Encumbrance of Attachment,” Iran Nameh,  (XIX: 3) 293-334. (USA), 2001
  • “In Memory of the Japanese Scholar, Professor Morio Ono and His Contributions to the Field of Iranian Studies,” Iran Nameh, (XIX:1-2) 229-236, 2001.
  • “Life over Death: A Requiem for Chubak,” The Persian Book Review (30) 200-210. (USA), 1991.
  • “Raw Desire: The Litany of Revolutionary Hangover in Iran,” Iran Nameh, (XVI: 4) 641-678, 1998.
  • “Eating Corpse: The Deplorable Asylum of Haji Sayyah at the U.S. Legation in Tehran,” JAMES (11) 251-286. (Japan), 1996.
  • “Perpetual Return to a Vanishing Homeland” Literary Review (40:1) 14-41. (USA), 1996.
  • “Criminality and Righteousness in the Stories of Chubak” Daftar-e Honar (2:3) 234-240. (USA).
  • Reprinted: Ali Dehbashi, Ed., In Memory of Sadeq Chubak, Tehran: Nashr-e Sales, 2001, pp. 175-193.
  • “The Necessity and the Failure of Power in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh,” The Persian Book Review (17) 1852- 1860. (USA), 1994.
  • “Perpetual Return and the New National Consciousness,” The Persian Book Review (14) 1467- 1486. (USA), 1993.
  • “We the Clever Righteous Criminals: Sociology of Good and Evil in the Stories of Sadeq Chubak,” Kabud: Quarterly Journal of Literature  (6-7) 148-168. (Germany), 1993.
  • “What Should We Do with Our Afflicted Music,” Adineh (57-58) 20-21. (Iran), 1991. Reprinted several times.
  • “Bastards of Samangan: The Tragedy of Sohrab and Collective Amnesia,” Par (7:10) 8-11. (USA), 1990.
  • Reprinted: Adineh (53, Dec.1990) 61-63. (Iran)1990- “On Zemestan-e 62,The Persian Book Review (Third Series 1:1) 5-30. (USA). Reprinted: Kelk 76, Iran, Summer 1996.
  • “Nesting in Turbulence: A Phenomenological Reading of E. Fasih’s Zemestan-e 62,” Adineh (Nos. 43-44) 90-93. (Iran), 1990.
  • “Music Rejects the Yoke of Poetry,” Adineh (34) 20-23. (Iran), 1989.
  • Reprinted: Negah (1, Sept.1990) 13-17. (USA).

Professional Programs Discussant and Presenter

  • “Inside Iran: Understanding the Internal Dynamics of the US’s Next Target. A conversation with Dr. Ali Ferdowsi” Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, April 3, 2007.
  • “The Female of the Body and the Male of Religious Reason in the Poetry of Rumi,” College of Arts and Humanities, Fresno State University, Fresno, CA, September 24, 2006.
  • “Oedipus/Shah Shoja/ Joseph: Princely Villainy and Legitimacy in 14th Century Shiraz, Sixth Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK, August 3-5, 2006.
  • “Poet as the King-maker: Poetry and Legitimacy in Modern National Consciousness in Iran,” In Celebration of Life and Poetry of Simin Behbahani, University of California at Berkeley, May 14, 2006.
  • “’Brilliance of the Iranian Spirit’: Hafez and National Self-fashioning in Early-Twentieth Century Iran,” Commemorating the Constitution, 1906-2006: State-Building and Global Response to Iranian Constitutionalism, University of Pennsylvania and University of Oxford, Philadelphia, March 24-25, 2006.
  • “Poetry and Princely Villainy in 14th Century Shiraz,” Berkeley Lecture Series, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, February 27, 2006.
  •  “Symbolic Racism and US Policy in the Middle East,” Black History Speaker Series, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA, February 23, 2006.
  • Panelist on “Conference on Democracy and Global Islam,” The Center for Institutions and Governance, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, April 22, 2005.
  • “Bush Doctrine and US-Iran Relations,” Talk given at a panel titled “Is Iran America’s New Whipping Boy?” organized by the Bay Area Iranian-American Democrats. Santa Clara, August 29, 2004.
  • “From Peasant to Entrepreneur: the 25 Year Drama of Kheyrabad,” 5th Biannual Conference of International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS), Washington, DC, May 28-30, 2004.
  • Moderator and organizer for “Same-Sex Marriage: Religion, History and the Constitution,” A Panel Discussion, Center for Science and Society, Notre Dame de Namur University, March 23, 2004.
  • “The People Speak: America Debates Its Role in the World,” A Debate Sponsoredby United Nations Foundation. Notre Dame de Namur University, October 24, 2003 (I debated Victorino Matus, Assistant Managing Editor, The Weekly Standard.)
  • “The Middle East: Crisis & Opportunity,” Smart Lunch Program, NDNU Alumni Association, Notre Dame de Namur University, September 16, 2003.
  • “Hajj Sayyah: The First Iranian American and the Question of National Identity,” Center for Dialogue, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, December 8, 2002.
  • “Citizen or Mullah: The Deplorable Asylum of Haji Seyyah, the First Iranian-American, in 1882,” School of Sciences Symposia, Notre Dame de Namur University,November 27, 2001.
  • “Iranian Contributions to World Civilization,” Speech delivered to the Third Annual Dinner of Celebrating Culture and Community, El Cerrito, CA, November 12, 2000.
  • “Of Lust, Love and Revolution: Social Phenomenology of Bamdad-e Khomar,” Paper presented at the meeting of Dialogue Forum, University of California, Berkeley, March 14,1998.
  • “Teaching in Japan: An Outsider’s Perspective,” Paper presented at the 50th annual conference of NAFSA (Association of International Educators), Clark Kerr Campus, University of California Berkeley, April 3, 1998.
  • “Love and Remembrance: Apotheosis of Love in Ruzbehan’s Jasmine of Lovers,” Paper presented at the 42nd International Conference of Eastern Studies (Toho Gakkai), Tokyo, May 30, 1997.
  • “Dialectics of Complicity and Resistance in the Success of Iranian Cinema,” Speech given at the Institute of Developing Economies (Ajiken), Tokyo, November 22, 1996.
  • “Nativism and Extraterritoriality in Iranian Diaspora Literature,” Paper presented at the Society for Iranian Studies, Berlin, Germany, August 11, 1996.