Kamrava, Mehran 1964-
Kamrava, Mehran 1964-
Born February 1, 1964, in Karadj, Iran; immigrated with family to the United States, 1978; son of Hooshang and Efat Kamrava. Education: California State University, Northridge, B.A., 1984; University of Cambridge, Ph.D., 1989.
Office—Political Science Department, 210 Sierra Hall, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8254. E-mail—[email protected].
Political scientist, educator, and writer. Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA, resident consultant, 1987-88; Institute of International Studies, Los Angeles, CA, research director, 1989-91; Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, assistant professor, 1991-95, associate professor, beginning 1995; California State University, Northridge, professor of political science. Georgetown University, Center for International and Regional Studies, School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Doha, Qatar, director.
J.S. Seidman Research fellow, Seieman Foundation, 1993-96.
The Political History of Modern Iran: From Tribalism to Theocracy, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1992.
Revolutionary Politics, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1992.
Understanding Comparative Politics: A Framework for Analysis, Routledge (New York, NY), 1996, 2nd edition, 2008.
Democracy in the Balance: Culture and Society in the Middle East, Chatham House Publishers/Seven Bridges Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Cultural Politics in the Third World, UCL Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Politics and Society in the Developing World, 2nd edition, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor) The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity: A Reader, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2006.
(Editor, with Manochehr Dorraj) Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic, Greenwood (Westport, CT), 2008.
Contributor to journals.
Mehran Kamrava, who was born in Iran and immigrated with his family to the United States, is a political scientist whose interests include political development, comparative politics, and Middle Eastern studies. He is the author or editor of several books primarily focusing on the Middle East and Iran and also on Third World countries. In The Political History of Modern Iran: From Tribalism to Theocracy, Kamrava examines Iran's political history from the establishment of the Qajar dynasty in 1785 up until the early 1990s. The author focuses on both the historical evolution of Iranian political institutions as well as on the processes and phenomena to which these institutions have been exposed. Writing in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Lois Beck noted that "the book serves as a useful overview of two centuries of state-building in Iran."
In his 1999 book Cultural Politics in the Third World, Kamrava writes about the intricate relationship between culture and politics in developing countries. He argues against political reductionist examinations of culture as well as culturally reductionist examinations of politics. In the process, the author provides his view of culture placed within its proper political perspective, maintaining that civilizations are not clashing nor are they going to clash in the future. Referring to the book as "eclectic," in a review in the Journal of Development Studies, Jan Kees van Donge wrote that "the major theme of this book is best formulated about half way through: economic and political differences no longer clearly differentiate the three worlds into which the global community used to be classified."
The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War, published in 2005, provides a history of the making of the modern Middle East following the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Focusing primarily on events after 1921, Kamrava discusses the region's historical and political evolutions and examines factors that influenced the making of the modern Middle East, including religion, culture, and economics. "This is an ambitious and stimulating treatment of the modern Middle East, in line with other works on the subject but with the orientation of issue analysis adding to the historical narrative characteristic of the standard works on the subject," wrote Caesar E. Farah in the Historian.
As editor of The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity: A Reader, Kamrava presents writings focusing on the Muslim reformist trend in Muslim countries. Featuring the writings of numerous Muslim thinkers, the book features a call for reforms in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and for reinterpretations of popular notions of Islam consistent with the tenets of modern life. "The essays and the subjects they deal with are diverse," wrote Peter B. White in the Middle East Journal.
Kamrava told CA: "As a young student who was trying to make sense of the cause and the consequences of the Iranian revolution of 1978-79, I decided that the only way to fully and objectively grasp that historic event was to analyze it, and doing so meant writing about it. The fact that English is my second language, and that I felt the need to go the extra mile to learn it, was also instrumental in instilling in me a passion for writing.
"Peter Avery, my primary Ph.D. supervisor at Cambridge University, was particularly influential in my writing. I still tremble when I remember the days when we would both sit with a copy of one of the chapters of my dissertation and he read it out loud, word for word, line by line.
"I write in spurts, write often, and do not proofread until after I have the whole thing finished. I am happiest when I write, miserable when I don't.
"I learned long ago, in the form of a rude awakening, that there is no such thing as perfection.
"I hope that my books will contribute something to our collective body of knowledge that did not exist previously."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1994, Mark Gasiorowski, review of The Political History of Modern Iran: From Tribalism to Theocracy, p. 194.
Asian Affairs, November, 2005, Glen Rangwala, review of The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War, p. 377.
Choice, May, 1993, C.J. Luna, review of Revolutionary Politics, p. 1540; May, 1993, J.D. Stempel, review of The Political History of Modern Iran, p. 1541; December, 1993, C.W. Arnade, review of Politics and Society in the Third World, p. 665.
Historian, fall, 2006, Caesar E. Farah, review of The Modern Middle East, p. 566.
International Affairs, October, 1990, Stephen Vickers, review of Revolution in Iran: The Roots of Turmoil, p. 839; January, 1994, Heleh Afshar, review of The Political History of Modern Iran, p. 181.
International Journal of Middle East Studies, May, 1994, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, review of The Political History of Modern Iran, p. 315.
Journal of Contemporary Asia, August, 1995, Paul Mathews, review of Politics and Society in the Third World, p. 455.
Journal of Development Studies, June, 2000, Jan Kees van Donge, review of Cultural Politics in the Third World, p. 173.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, winter, 1995, Lois Beck, review of The Political History of Modern Iran, p. 567.
Journal of Politics, February, 2000, Frank Tachau, review of Democracy in the Balance: Culture and Society in the Middle East, p. 302.
Journal of Third World Studies, spring, 1995, Santosh C. Saha, review of Politics and Society in the Third World, p. 464; fall, 2006, Santosh C. Saha, review of The Modern Middle East, p. 239.
Middle East Journal, summer, 1991, review of Revolution in Iran, p. 531; summer, 1993, review of The Political History of Modern Iran, p. 537; winter, 2000, Abdalla M. Battah, review of Democracy in the Balance, p. 144; spring, 2007, Peter B. White, review of The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity: A Reader, p. 372.
Political Science Quarterly, summer, 1992, Nikki R. Keddie, review of Revolution in Iran, p. 381.
Prairie Schooner, summer, 1992, review of Revolution in Iran, p. 381.
California State University Northridge,http://www.csun.edu/ (May 3, 2008), faculty profile of author.