Areas of Expertise

Sociocultural anthropology; gender; law; religion; Iran; Middle East; South Asia

View Professor Haeri’s CV


A former director of the Women’s Studies Program at Boston University, Shahla Haeri is one of the pioneers of Iranian Anthropology, and has produced cutting-edge ethnographies of Iran, Pakistan and the Muslim world. Her landmark books include her classic ethnography, Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage, Mut’a, in Iran (1989/2014) translated into Arabic and reprinted frequently, highlighting the tenacious but secretive custom of temporary marriage in Iran; No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani Women (2002/2004), widens the ethnographic scope to make visible lives of educated and professional Muslim women. Her most recent book, The Unforgettable Queens of Islam: Succession, Authority, Gender (Cambridge University Press) is a groundbreaking book on the extraordinary lives and legacies of a few remarkable Muslim women sovereigns from across cultures and Islamic history. Dr. Haeri’s academic and creative oeuvre include directing a video documentary, Mrs. President: Women and Political Leadership in Iran (2002, 46 min.) focusing on six women presidential contenders during the Iranian presidential election of 2001. She is the recipient of many fellowships, grants, and postdoctoral fellowships.

Selected Publications

  • 2019 The Unforgettable Queens of Islam: Succession, Patriarchy, Gender. Cambridge University Press
  • 2015 “In the Garden of the Sexes: of Men, Women, Gaze, and Hair.” A Companion to The Anthropology of the Middle East. Pp. 151-171. Edited by Soraya Altorki. WileyBlackwell
  • 2013 “No End in Sight: Politics, Paradox and Gender Policies in Iran.” Boston University Law Review. Vol. 93. No. 3 (May), 1049-1062


  • CAS AN 397/797 Anthropology of Film: Ways of Seeing
  • CAS AN 320/720 Women in the Muslim World
  • CAS AN 355/755 Religious Fundamentalism