Assef Ashraf is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History and specializes in the history of the Middle East. His dissertation, tentatively titled “From Khan to Shah: The Formation of the Qajar State in Iran, 1785-1848,” examines governance practices in the context of the consolidation of power and the creation of a state by the Qajars. More broadly, his interests include the history of Iran from the early modern to the present, comparative early modern Muslim empires, travel literature, and the culture and economy of gift-exchange. During the 2014-15 academic year, his research will be supported by the Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies.
Assef’s orals examination fields were: Iran 1501-Present and Nationalism in the Modern Middle East, with Abbas Amanat; the Ottoman Empire, with Alan Mikhail; and Russia to 1825, with Paul Bushkovitch. His dissertation advisor is Abbas Amanat.
Assef received his B.A. from New York University in 2005, where he was a recipient of the Rumi-Biruni prize for excellence in Persian Studies. He is fluent in Persian and Arabic, and his research languages include French, Russian, and Portuguese.