Nasr, Vali 1960- (Seyyed Vali Resa Nasr, Vali R. Nasr)

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Nasr, Vali 1960- (Seyyed Vali Resa Nasr, Vali R. Nasr)


Born December 20, 1960, in Tehran, Iran; immigrated to the United States, 1979; son of Seyyed Hossein and Soussan Nasr; married Darya Ahyaie, January 20, 1987; children: Amir-Ali. Education: Tufts University, B.A., 1983; Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, M.A.L.D., 1984; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., 1991.


Office—National Security Affairs Department, Naval Postgraduate School, 1411 Cunningham Rd., Monterey, CA 93943. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected].


Educator, writer. Foundation for Iranian Studies, Bethesda, MD, 1987-91; Tufts University, Medford, MA, visiting assistant professor, 1991; University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, assistant professor, 1992-96, associate professor, 1996-2002; Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, professor, 2003—, associate chair of research in the Department of National Security Affairs; Council on Foreign Relations, current adjunct senior fellow for Middle East Studies; Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, visiting professor, 2006; senior fellow, The Dubai Initiative, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2006.


Received numerous research grants, including James Irvine Foundation grant, 1993; Rockefeller Resident Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 1992-93; Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, 1996; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grant, 2000-01; Carnegie Scholar, Carnegie Corporation, 2006.


(Editor, with others) Shi'ism: Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1988.

(Editor, with others) Expectation of the Millennium: Shi'ism in History, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1989.

(Editor, with Gholam Reza Afkhami) The Oral History Collection of the Foundation for Iranian Studies, Foundation for Iranian Studies (Washington, DC), 1991.

Islamization of Knowledge: A Critical Overview, International Institute of Islamic Thought (Islamabad, Pakistan), 1992.

The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jama'at-i Islami of Pakistan, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1994.

Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor, with others) Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Ali Gheissari) Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of academic articles to numerous professional journals, including Comparative Politics, Asian Survey, Middle East Journal, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Middle East Policy, Political Science Quarterly, Survival, Journal of Democracy, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, SAIS Review, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Modern Asian Studies, Studies in Contemporary Islam, and Harvard International Review. Contributor to Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam and Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.


Vali Nasr is an Iranian-born academic who trained and teaches in the United States. He specializes in the politics of South Asia and the Middle East, in the political aspects of Islam, and in the democratization of countries in the Muslim world. In his 1996 title, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, Nasr examines the life and thought of this early-twentieth-century Muslim who helped revitalize Islam. He was the first to develop a modern political Islamic ideology as well as a plan for social action to realize this vision, and his Jama'at-i Islami party, founded in India and also influential in Pakistan, helped to spread his ideas. Nasr "provides much material which is not available elsewhere in English about the family background of Mawdudi," according to Review of Politics contributor Sheila McDonough, who further observed, "Nasr argues that Mawdudi did not advocate violence but rather preached conquest by means of ideas." McDonough went on to note that Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism is "likely to become the classic source for information and analysis with reference to the life of Mawlana Mawdudi."

Nasr focuses on his country of origin in the 2006 title Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty, written with fellow scholar Ali Gheissari. The book shows that Iranian attempts at democracy began in 1906 with a constitution that intended to give more power to the people and to hold leaders accountable for their actions. Democracy in Iran traces the struggles for such freedom through the last century, with the first half of the book dealing with the period of 1906 to 1979 and the creation of the Islamic Republic, and the second half dealing with the situation since 1979. Nader Entessar, writing in Library Journal, found this book "sophisticated yet accessible," while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt it "offers a revealing glimpse into the paths that democratic ideas have traveled [in Iran] both before and after the 1979 revolution."

In another work from 2006, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, Nasr looks at the minority Muslim sect, the Shia, and its impact on the Islamic world. Shiites account for only about fifteen percent of Muslims, yet in a few countries, such as Iran and Iraq, they form a majority of the population. Long repressed if not oppressed by the Sunni majority in Islam, Shiites demonstrated their emerging power with the Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1979. However, according to Nasr, the use of terror is typically a Sunni rather than a Shia tactic. With the fall of Sunni power in Iraq, Nasr contends that a new block of Shia nations in the Middle East may be forming. For Booklist contributor Ray Olson, The Shia Revival is "so enlightening and perspective altering that no one concerned about the Middle East should miss reading it." Similar praise came from a Publishers Weekly reviewer who found it "worthwhile reading for those seeking a primer on the second-largest Muslim sect." Likewise, a Kirkus Reviews critic called The Shia Revival "a helpful footnote to the headlines." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Irshad Manji also termed it "a fast-moving, engaging and ultimately unnerving book."



Booklist, July 1, 2006, Ray Olson, review of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future, p. 12.

Economist, September 9, 2006, "A Fiery Crucible," review of The Shia Revival, p. 80.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2006, review of The Shia Revival, p. 509.

Library Journal, June 15, 2006, Nader Entessar, review of Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty, p. 87.

New York Times Book Review, August 13, 2006, Irshad Manji, "Muslim against Muslim," review of The Shia Revival.

Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2006, review of The Shia Revival, p. 173; May 1, 2006, review of Democracy in Iran, p. 54.

Review of Politics, summer, 1997, Sheila McDonough, review of Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, p. 637.


Naval Postgraduate School Web site, (January 28, 2007), "Dr. Vali R. Nasr."

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Nasr, Vali 1960- (Seyyed Vali Resa Nasr, Vali R. Nasr)

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