Abbas Amanat received his B.A. from Tehran University in 1971 and D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1981. His principal publications include Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi’ism (2009), Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896 (1997) and Resurrection and Renewal: the Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850 (1989). He is the editor of Cities and Trade: Consul Abbott on the Economy and Society of Iran (1983), Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity (1995) and co-editor of Iran Facing Others: Identity Boundaries in a Historical Perspective (2012), Is There a Middle East?: The Evolution of a Geopolitical Concept (2011), Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from Ancient Middle East to Modern America (2002); Shari’a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context (2007); and U.S.-Middle East Historical Encounters: A Critical Survey (2007). He also edited The United States and the Middle East: Diplomatic and Economic Relations in Historical Perspective (2000) and co-edited The United States and the Middle East: Cultural Encounters (2002) and Apocalypse and Violence (2004).
Currently he is writing In Search of Modern Iran: Authority, Nationhood and Culture (1501-2001), a survey of Iranian history (Yale, 2008); a study of toleration and nonconformity in the Persianate world, a biography of the Babi leader and poet Fatima Baraghani Qurrat al-‘Ayn (Tahirah) and a documentary history of Qajar Iran (in Persian).
Abbas Amanat was a Carnegie Scholar of Islamic Studies (2005-2007). He also was the recipient of the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Grant for comparative study of Millennialism (1998-2001). He is a Consulting Editor and longtime contributor to Encyclopedia Iranica where his major entries include “Constitutional Revolution” (1994); “Great Britain in Qajar Persia” (2002); “Hajji Baba of Ispahan” (2003) “Historiography of Qajar Iran” (2004), “Historiography of Pahlavi Iran” (2004) and “Islam in Iran: Messianism” (2007). He is the General Editor of Persia Observed series (Mage Publishers) which includes extensive introductions to new editions of E.G. Browne’s Persian Revolution (1995) and C.J. Wills The Land of the Lion and the Sun (2004). He was the Editor-in-Chief of Iranian Studies, the journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies (1991-98) ) and served as the chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale (1993-2004). He is currently Director of the Iranian Studies Initiative at Yale MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.
His courses at Yale include “Middle East and the West: A Cultural Encounter,” “State and Society in the Modern Middle East,” and “Making of Modern Iran.” Among his graduate course are “Becoming the Middle East,” “Historiography and Methodology of the Modern Middle East,” “Political Theory and Practice in the Persian Historical Texts and Contexts,” “Apocalyptic Imagination,” and “Orientalism and Its Critics.”