Ghoncheh Tazmini is a political scientist, educated in Canada and the UK. She obtained her degree in international relations at the University of British Columbia in Canada, and a Masters in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the London School of Economics. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury. Author of Khatami’s Iran: the Islamic Republic and the Turbulent Path to Reform (I. B. Tauris, 2009, 2013) and Revolution and Reform in Russia and Iran (I. B. Tauris, 2012), Dr. Tazmini has written numerous scientific articles and opinion pieces, and has presented her work at numerous conferences. Ghoncheh Tazmini is an Associate Member of the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute at SOAS, University of London, and Associate Researcher at the Center for International Studies- ISCTE, University of Lisbon.
In disciplinary terms, her research is positioned at the nexus of modern Iranian history, comparative politics and Global History. In her previous research she has focused on the processes of modernisation in Iran, both in terms of the post-revolutionary trajectory of the Iranian state and historical processes of modernisation from “below”. In her second book, she has investigated the latter aspect through a comparison with Russia. Iran and Russia, she argues, share a very comparable dialectic with western modernity, which has revolved around forms of adaptation and rejection with recurrent bouts of conflict and revolution. This strand of her research continues to inspire her comparative approach which is meant to position studying in Iran within global history and global thought. In this spirit, she is currently writing papers about Iranian and Russian political thinkers and their attitudes towards the “west”, their trials and tribulations to adapt to historical periods affected, if not determined, by western expressions of modernity.
The second strand of her research focuses more specifically on Iran’s domestic politics and the history of state-society relations. In that vein, she interviewed the former President Mohammad Khatami to find out about his concepts of reform and pluralism. In her first book, she contextualised this primary material with historical expressions of democracy in Iran. Along these lines, she is currently co-authoring preparing a history of the Islamic revolution for Cambridge University Press. Tazmini is trying to position this caesura in contemporary Iranian history within the wider context of global history. The Iranian revolution, she argues, was typically modern, comparable to the revolutions in Russia, Cuba and/or China.
Finally, Tazmini's research negotiates the tension between Iran and the west further back in history through emphasis on relations between Iran and Europe in general and Iran and Portugal in particular. The Iranian-Portuguese dialectic is emblematic of a post-Saidian approach that Tazmini has adopted, which rejects narrow notions of “Orientalism” in the field and which puts forward an integrative approach to Iranian history which appreciates the intense linkages and exposures of the country to global historical trends. The idea is to open the parenthesis behind the meaning of Iran and to show that notions of national identity are entirely dependent on historical context and that they are, in the final analysis, manufactured.