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Seema Golestaneh

Assistant Professor

White Hall

Educational Background

  • 2014 Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology. Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology
  • 2007 Columbia University. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology. MA in Socio-Cultural Anthropology
  • 2006 Barnard College. Department of Comparative Literature, Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature (Persian and French); Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.


Courses Taught

  • Anthropology of Iran
  • Shi'ism: Debates & Discourses


  • Near Eastern Studies


  • Religious Studies Program


  • Anthropology of Islam
  • Islam and Governance
  • Contemporary Sufi Thought and Practice in Iran
  • Contemporary Shi’i Thought and Practice in Iran
  • Literary Cultures
  • Aesthetics and Mediation



  • “Unremarkable Evidence: Investigating the Private and Digital Archives of Sufis in Post-Revolutionary Iran” for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; accepted for Special Edition on “Islam and Regimes of Evidence,” forthcoming 2018.
  • “Text and Contest: Theories of Secrecy and Dissimulation in the Archives of Sufi Iran” in Sufism and Shi’ism in the Early Modern and Modern Eras, IB Tauris with the Institute for Ismaili Studies, forthcoming February 2018.
  • “Listening, Non-Knowledge, and the Auditory Body: Understanding Sufi Zikr Ritual as Sites of Aesthetic Experience” in Saints and their Pilgrims in Iran and Neighboring Countries, Vantage, Sean Kingston Press, June 2012.
  • “Haunted Sound: Nothingness, Movement, and the Minimalist Imagination” (with Jason Mohaghegh as first author) in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, February 2011.

Under Review

  • “Open Sounds, Hidden Spaces: Listening, Wandering, and Spatial Formation in Sufi Iran,” for Cultural Anthropology.

In Preparation

  • Unknowing and the Everyday: Sufism and Knowledge Production in Post-Revolutionary Iran (Manuscript)
  • “Women's Religious and Social Activism in Iran” in Oxford University Press's Handbook of Islam and Women; accepted, forthcoming 2019.