Teaching — Hamid Dabashi's Official Website
Hamid Dabashi


Hamid Dabashi’s teaching career began at the age of 15 when he was in high school in his hometown Ahvaz in southern Iran, where he taught summer courses to his fellow students and those in lower grades. The income from this early teaching career helped pay for his college education in Tehran.

He began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadephia) soon after he arrived in the United States in 1976 and started his graduate work in the Department of Sociology, and has continued uninterrupted ever since.

His teaching career extends from his Alma Mater to University of Texas (Austin), University of Utah (Salt Lake City), and then Harvard, New York University, and finally Columbia. His adaptation of the Socratic teaching method has taken him from the auditoriums of Ivy League universities to street corners of Manhattan, the Times Square, and in demonstrations and rallies in front of the United Nations.

Generations of his students have now become prominent scholars in their own rights in major universities from North America to Europe to the Arab and Muslim world. Doctoral dissertations written under his supervision and guidance are now classics in their respective fields.

Professor Dabashi has received awards and recognitions for his teaching at Columbia University and elsewhere, including a Certificate of Appreciation from Columbia College Students, ranked a Golden Nugget by student-initiated evaluations, as well as repeatedly nominated for both the Van Doren and the Presidential Teaching Award.

He is the founding Executive Committee member and the Director of Graduate Studies (2001-2005) of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, where he has taught theories of comparative literature for over a decade, and where he is chiefly responsible for opening up the study of Persian literature and Iranian culture at Columbia University to students of comparative literature and society, breaking away from the confinements of European Orientalism and American Area Studies.

Currently he teaches the social and intellectual history of Iran and the Muslim world, both modern and medieval, as well as comparative literature, literary theory, and world cinema.

His courses and seminars in the Department for Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia include:
Spring 2012: Postcolonial Theory, co-taught with Professor Mamadou Diouf


Hamid Dabashi has chaired the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) and is a founding member of the Executive Committee of the Center for Comparative Literature and Society. He has been the Associate Director of the Center for Comparative Literature and Society (CCLS), the Director of Graduate Studies at MEALAC and CCLS, and the Chair of the Core Curriculum Committee of Columbia College. He has also been the Executive Secretary for the Society of Iranian Studies, convening its first Biennial Conference in 1994 in Washington, DC.

Copyright ©2009-2023 Hamid Dabashi. All rights reserved.
Array ( [2] => Array ( [title] => [text] => "A leading cultural observer." Washington Post "Our most prominent intellectual." Shirin Neshat "Renowned Columbia University scholar on Iranian culture." Boston Globe "Spectacular, important, and incisive. Dabashi's work is crucial for our times." Zillah Eisenstein
Ithaca College, NY
"Hamid Dabashi lovingly writes about the history of Iran that teaches us how to understand a people overshadowed by the grand narratives of political (mis)representation." Gayatri Spivak
Columbia University
"You are with a humanist who deeply loves his country, and invites you to feel very much at home." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Superb authority... Dabashi provides a tour de force on Iranian art, politics and culture." Shirin Neshat "Great erudition and imagination... bringing out rich aspects of Iranian culture that are little known or not recognized." Vanessa Martin, Royal Holloway
University of London
"Hamid Dabashi, is one of the most significant intellectual voices outside of Iran since the Islamic revolution." Shirin Neshat "A leading light in Iranian studies." The Chronicle of Higher Education "Cuts through the myths, past and present, that Americans have been told about Iran... presenting Iran's history through the lens of its literary cosmopolitanism." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Magisterial." Houchang Chehabi
Boston University
"An important man in New York." Sir Ridley Scott "Much-needed in our troubled times." Gayatri Spivak
Columbia University
"Exemplary of a new Leftist discourse that is undogmatic and non-sectarian... open and intimate." Susan Buck-Morss
Cornell University
"Hamid Dabashi beautifully lays out the alluring dynamic between Iranian art and politics." Shirin Neshat "A rare cultural critic." Mohsen Makhmalbaf "Dabashi's passion and extraordinary vision, gives us the knowledge and commitment to stand against war and build the possibilities for peace and global justice." Zillah Eisenstein
Ithaca College, NY
"Hamid Dabashi's piercing revelations have been as instrumental in fashioning my own films as have Scorsese, Rossellini and Bresson." Ramin Bahrani "Superb and brilliant." Bruce Lawrence
Duke University
"Fresh, provocative and iconoclastic." Ian Richard Netton
University of Leeds, UK
"Learned... sparkles with verve and a sometimes punishing wit. Hamid Dabashi is the perfect guide." Edward W. Said "There are few better places to begin than with Dabashi's subtle and vividly presented wealth on Iran." Said Amir Arjomand
SUNY, New York
"Objective and empathetic... unlike many others on contemporary Iran." Ervand Abrahamian
Baruch College, New York
"Enthusiastic... clear and accurate... impressive." Oliver Leaman
Liverpool John Moores University, UK
"Original, creative and insightful." John L. Esposito
Georgetown University
"Extraordinary." Daniel Brumberg
Georgetown University
"Dabashi has an astonishing ability to range over some of the most complex issues of modern intellectual life." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"If anyone can lay claim to Nima Yushij's statement that this world is his home, it is Hamid Dabashi. I want a very broad readership to know the quality of his writing and thinking, of his immense epistemic and historical scholarship." Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Columbia University
"Dabashi is learned, poetic, ranging from philosophy to film, every word written with a commitment to the possibility of a just world. I have worked with him in the past and will work with him again in the future." Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi is one of the foremost exponent today of postcolonial critical theory, whose work deserves to be called post-colonial with all the multivalence of this description." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi's writings on Iranian culture and politics brilliantly re-imagine the rich heritage of a shared past and a conflicted present. His reflections on revolution and nationhood, poetry and cinema, philosophy and the sacred, are urgent, provocative, complex, and highly original." Timothy Mitchell
Columbia University
"Equally fluent in philosophical reasoning, literary interpretation, visual hermeneutics and writing with a rare combination of penetration and lyricism, Dabashi's work continues values of both modern critical theory and the highly sophisticated and subtle intellectual traditions of Iranian... reflection -- for both of which he is an wonderfully sympathetic reader." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
"Hamid Dabashi belongs to a marvelous tradition of poetic thinkers, whose deep insights are crafted in magnificent poetic prose." Gilbert Achcar
University of London
"Dabashi provides his readers with the wine of literary pleasure along with rich food for thought." Gilbert Achcar
University of London
"In Dabashi's work, post-coloniality does not mean a denial or denunciation of the modern European tradition of philosophy and social theory, but their effortless absorption into a larger, more complex reflection." Sudipta Kaviraj
Columbia University
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