Abbas Amanat, newly appointed as the William Graham Sumner Professor of History, is a historian of the modern Middle East, early modern and modern Iran, and Shi’ism and the Persianate world.
Amanat has been a prolific author and editor for more than three decades. His principal publications include “Iran: A Modern History,” “Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896,” and “Resurrection and Renewal: the Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850.” He is the editor of “Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity” and “Cities and Trade: Consul Abbott on the Economy and Society of Iran,” among other books. His new volume, “ ‘Ahd-e Qajar va Sawda-ye Farang,” will be published later this year. Amanat’s works in progress include a biography of Fatima Qurrat al-‘Ayn, “Tipu Sultan and the Persianate world of Mysore,” and “Ouseley Brothers’ Persian Manuscript Collection and Transfer of Knowledge to Georgian England.”
A graduate of Tehran University, Amanat earned his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He began his academic career in the Program of Religious Studies at State University of New York-Stony Brook before joining the Yale faculty in 1983 as an assistant professor of history. Prior to his new appointment, he served as professor of history and international studies.
Amanat is a consulting editor and longtime contributor to “Encyclopedia Iranica” and serves as a member of its board of directors. He was a Carnegie Scholar of Islamic studies and the recipient of the Mellon-Sawyer Grant for comparative study of millennialism. He was the editor-in-chief of Iranian Studies, the journal of the Association for Iranian Studies, and chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale. Amanat is the 2018 recipient of the Bahari Fellowship at the Bodleian Libraries of Oxford University. He is currently director of the Yale Program in Iranian Studies at the Yale MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.