MESA Banner
Hajar Ghorbani
University of Alberta
Graduate Student (Doctoral)
Primary Phone: (1)780-298-6585
I am a Ph.D. student in the field of sociocultural anthropology at the University of Alberta, where I am honored to hold the prestigious Killam Scholar designation. My academic journey has led me to specialize in the nuanced realm of death studies within the context of Iran. Over the course of six years, I conducted extensive fieldwork in Iran. My research is bifurcated into two primary areas of inquiry: The Modernization of Death and The Politicization of Death in Iran. My editorial endeavors have seen me collaborate with a diverse group of twenty-five experts spanning disciplines such as Sociology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Law, Art and Literature, Religion, and Architecture. Together, we published a seminal edited volume titled Social Studies of Death in Iran which notably marked the first book dedicated to the subject of death and dying in Iran. In my role as Iran's ambassador at the Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS), I've endeavored to elevate the discourse surrounding the topic of death in Iran onto the global stage, particularly within Western academic circles. Furthermore, I've had the privilege of delivering keynote speeches, including a presentation on 'The Politicization of Death in Iran,' at the prestigious Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, UK. Currently, as I diligently work towards the completion of my Ph.D., I am passionately exploring the agency of deceased bodies. While traditional anthropological perspectives have often viewed the dead solely as symbols or political markers, I am pioneering a fresh perspective that attributes agency and voice to the departed, emphasizing their inherent ungovernability. My research centers on elucidating the significance of the agency and authority of dead bodies, thereby contributing novel insights to the contemporary understanding of Iran as a compelling case study.
Sub Areas
Iranian Studies
Islamic Studies
Geographic Areas of Interest
Death Studies
Ethnographic Fieldwork
Violence And Jihad
Persian (native)
English (fluent)
Arabic (elementary)
MA | 2017 | Art History | Art University of Tehran
BA | 2009 | Islamic Art | Art University of Isfahan
Governing the Dead's Territories: Tehran’s Beheshte-e Zahra Cemetery