The Soudavar Memorial Foundation’s scholarships are highly competitive and awarded on merit to students who possess outstanding academic credentials and demonstrate exceptional leadership potential. We take great pride in their achievements past and present as they continue to enrich our understanding and knowledge of the Iranian World at prestigious institutions across the globe.
Nadia Bargneyssi was awarded a scholarship for a PhD at the University of Göttingen in 2004. Her thesis, Abbasid Administrative Terminology in Iran, aims to produce a Lexicon of Abbasid Chancellery and administrative terminology with particular reference to Iran and with comprehensive references to the sources, supervised by Professor Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Professor and Director of Iranian Studies.
Shervin Farridnejad was awarded a scholarship for a PhD at the University of Göttingen from 2008-13. His thesis, The Language of Images: A Study on Iconographic Exegesis of the Anthropomorphic Divine Images in Zoroastrianism (Eine ikonographisch/ikonologische Studie zu zoroastrischen Aspekten der sasanidischen Kunst) was supervised by Professor Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Professor and Director of Iranian Studies.
In 2014, Dr Farridnejad was appointed as a Lecturer of Iranian Studies at the University of Göttingen, Germany.
Saloumeh Gholami was awarded a scholarship for a PhD in Iranian Studies at the Goethe-Universitaet in Frankfurt from 2010-12 for a thesis on the position of Bactrian among Indo-Iranian languages; entitled Selected Features of Bactrian Grammar, It was published in 2014 by Harassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, within the series Göttinger Orientforschungen IRANICA.
In 2013, Dr Gholami was appointed a Lecturer at the Institute of Comparative Linguistics, Goethe University, Germany.
She is currently organising jointly with Prof. Pollet Samvelian an international conference on “Endangered Iranian Languages” as follows:
The International Symposium on Endangered Iranian Languages (ISEIL) proudly announces the second symposium to be held at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle, France, from 8 to 9 July 2016, as part of a cooperation between the Empirical Linguistics, at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany and UMR “Mondes iranien et indien” (CNRS, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, INALCO, EPHE).
The Symposium is the most significant gathering of scholars from all the regions of the world and across different disciplinary interests in the field “Endangered Iranian Languages”. It serves as a platform for presenting new knowledge and insights.
The theme of the Symposium allows for rich and concentrated dialogues to take place among scholars coming from different disciplinary backgrounds. Authors of abstracts are encouraged to develop their own specific entry points into addressing the theme of the symposium.
As a broad, but non-exhaustive guide, some of the sub-themes that will be covered by the symposium include:
-Developing of an Atlas for endangered Iranian languages or dialect Maps
-New methods, conflicts and solutions concerning documenting endangered Iranian languages
-Philology, Morphology, Phonology, Syntax of endangered Iranian languages
-Dialectology of endangered Iranian languages
Shahrokh Raei was awarded a scholarship for a PhD at the University of Göttingen from 2003-07. His thesis, The End of Time and the Apocalypse in Zoroastrian Texts together with a translation of the Jamaspnamag, has considerably improved understanding of Zoroastrian and comparative eschatology.
In 2009, Dr Raei was appointed Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of Göttingen, Germany.
A scholarship awarded to Esther Ravalde enabled her to complete her Master’s thesis, Shams al-Din Juvayni in the Light of New Evidence from the ‘Safinia-ye Tabriz: Patronage and the Role of the Vizier in the Ilkhanate’, at SOAS, which is due to be published in a forthcoming volume by Brill entitled ‘The Mongols and the Transformation of the Middle East’, edited by Charles Melville and Bruno De Nicola.
Yusef Saadat was awarded a scholarship for a PhD in Ancient Iranian Culture and Languages at Freie Universität Berlin. His thesis, A Semantic Scrutiny of Selected Middle Persian Words Compared with their Usage in New Persian Texts explored semantic aspects of Middle Persian words and was supervised by Professor Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst, now Honorary Professor of the Institute of Iranian Studies at Berlin.
Zahra Talaee was awarded a scholarship for a PhD. For her thesis, The Religious Function of the Endowment Institute of Astan-e Quds Razawi in the Safavid period (1501 – 1736 AD), based on Job Documents, she is perusing sixty thousand unrevealed manuscripts in the Astan-e Quds to understand why the Shrine of Mashhad was chosen by the shah as the place for the promulgation of Shi’ism and the political methods used to achieve this.
Alireza Zahedi-Moghadam was awarded a scholarship for a PhD in Iranian Studies at the University of Göttingen in 2009. His thesis, Idols, Images of God’s World: Polytheism and Monotheism in the Ancient World (Die Eschatologie der Ahl-e Haqq: eine Analyse der Quellen), is supervised by Professor Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Professor and Director of Iranian Studies.
A partial scholarship was awarded to Bahram Assadian, for work on his PhD in the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. His thesis, entitled Displacing Numbers: On the Metaphysics of Mathematical Structuralism, investigates the nature and identity of numbers and other mathematical objects while also resuscitating Persian and especially Avicenna’s ‘discoveries on the logic of necessity’.
Thus the central aim of Bahram Assadian’s doctoral thesis is “to scrutinise some of the most philosophically interesting challenges that emerge out of this conception of natural numbers.”
“Is mathematics about distinctively mathematical entities such as the natural numbers, or is it about the ‘structures’ or ‘forms’ of such entities? This project has been centred on what is known as mathematical structuralism – the thesis that argues for the latter claim.”
By dealing with the philosophical challenges of numbers, this research also resuscitates Persian and especially Avicenna’s ‘discoveries on the logic of necessity’. Through its contribution to the philosophy of mathematics as understood by Ibn-e Sina (Avicenna), it sheds light on unduly neglected aspects of the Avicennian conception of the subject matter of mathematics and explains his account of mathematical objects and theories in structuralist settings.
These issues are discussed in six chapters which conclude “by outlining some of the applications of this alternative view to arithmetical platonism.”
Zahir Bhaloo was awarded a scholarship in the final year of his doctorate at the University of Oxford to complete his thesis, The Qajar Jurist and his Ruling: A Study of Judicial Practice in Nineteenth-Century Iran under the supervision of Professor Edmund Herzig, the Masoumeh and Fereydoon Soudavar Professor of Persian Studies.
A one-year scholarship was awarded to Bahram Assadian, who is undertaking a PhD in the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London. His thesis, entitled Commitment in Mathematics, investigates the nature and identity of numbers and other mathematical objects with special emphasis on resuscitating Persian and especially Avicenna’s ‘discoveries on the logic of necessity’.
Jaimee Comstock-Skipp was awarded a partial scholarship towards her Masters degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, starting autumn 2014. She completed a second MA program in spring 2015 in a special program on Mongol through Safavid Persian book arts under Sussan Babaie. She received highest marks, obtaining a ‘Distinction’ on her MA dissertation entitled, Heroes of Legend, Heroes of History: Militant Manuscripts of the Shaybanid Uzbeks in Transoxiana. This June, with funds from the British Institute of Persian Studies, she spent the entire month in Iran touring the region and its museums and monuments.
In August, Jaimee departed for Tajikistan to carry out research funded by the Fulbright Program. This will be her fifth sojourn in Tajikistan where she will reside for a year in Dushanbe and Panjikent,. Intrigued by the cultural, artistic, and literary connections across the Persian eocumene with regards to the Shahnama epic, a text that straddles Iran and Turan, along with history and legend, her project will investigate Tajik heritage and cultural identity in relation to the Shahnama and other poetic works, hoping to uncover how Tajiks make sense of their heritage through their own interpretations of the tales and material culture in their museums.
Mehrbod Khanizadeh was awarded a contribution towards his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His thesis, The Avesta and Pahlavi Versions of the Hōm Yašt, is supervised by Professor Almut Hintze, the Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism.
Pedram Khosronejad completed his PhD in 2007. He was awarded a scholarship for the final year of this doctorate at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) to complete his thesis, Les Lions en Pierre Sculptés chez les Bakhtiâri: Description et Significations de Sculptures Zoomorphes dans une Société Tribale du Sud-ouest de l’Iran (Stone Lion Sculptures among the Bakhtiari: Descriptions and Meanings of Zoomorphoric Sculptures in a Tribal Society of South-western Iran), supervised by Professor Thierry Zarcone, Research Director of CNRS.
He was appointed the Iran Heritage Foundation Goli Rais Larizadeh Fellow for the Anthropology of Iran at the University of St Andrews in 2009 – the only such post dedicated to the anthropology of Iran in Europe – and published his thesis in 2013.
Moujan Matin is completing a PhD on the Origins of Tin Glazed Pottery at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professors Oliver Watson, Michael Tite, and Mark Pollard, and is co-sponsored by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation.
The Origins of Tin Glazed Pottery
A Technological Examination of 8th to 10th Century Ceramics from Islamic Lands
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford
Tin-opacified glazed wares mark the first chapter in the history of Islamic ceramics- one of the most long-lasting and wide-spreading technological innovations, in general, and ceramic traditions, in particular. The technology is known to have spread throughout the Islamic lands during 9th-10th centuries AD, eastwards to Samarqand and westwards to Cordoba.
The aim of this project has been to explore the origins of tin glazed ceramics, as part of the history of science and technology in Iran. Sherds from various sites such as Rayy, Susa, Istakhr, Siraf, Sirjan, Nishapur and Samarqand as well as Samarra, Al-Mina and Raqqa have been examined using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The prime focus has been given to the examination of the microstructure and composition of the sherds to better understand the chemical and physical mechanisms involved in their production and the regional differences in their manufacture. These characteristics act as proxies to understand technological transfers and their mutual influence on and from the social and economic situation in Iran. Replication of glazes as well as ethnographic studies of contemporary traditional tin-opacified glaze workshops in Iran have been also conducted as part of this study.
Mahsa Mohajer is undertaking a PhD in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, supervised by Dr Ross Cameron, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Management, Ecology and Design. Her research aims to develop new approaches for designed urban plant communities to meet ecological and sustainability needs, which will significantly improve the efficiency of water use in Iran’s urban landscape.
Narges Nematollahi was awarded a scholarship for her PhD started at SOAS under the supervision of Almut Hintze, Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism. Her research project, entitled ‘The Avesta and Pahlavi Versions of the Hymns to Sraosha’ is aimed at creating a critical text edition based on the manuscripts of the Avesta and Pahlavi versions of Yasna 56, 57 and Yasht 11, with commentary, translation and dictionary. Narges is now at the University of Indiana Bloomington, where she was invited to continue her PhD.
A one year grant was awarded to Adeela Qureishi for the completion of her thesis on the Mughal Qamaragah (hunting enclosures) as represented in Iran.
Shahrokh Razmjou was awarded a scholarship for two years of his PhD from 2007-08, which he had begun at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and completed at Birkbeck College, University of London supervised by Dr John Curtis, Director of the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum. Dr Razmjou’s thesis, Ritual Practices at Persepolis, was awarded the Foundation of Iranian Studies’ Dissertation Prize in 2008.
Razmjou was previously Director of the Centre for Achaemenid Studies at the National Museum of Iran, a Clore Leadership Fellow in 2007, appointed curator of Ancient Iran in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum (2009-2012), and is currently teaching at the Department of Archaeology, University of Tehran.
Arash Zeini was awarded a scholarship for his first year at SOAS as a PhD student in 2008-09. His thesis, entitled The Pahlavi Version of the Yasna Haptanghāiti, was completed in 2013 and supervised by Professor Almut Hintze, the Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism.
In August 2015 the Soudavar Memorial Foundation approved a partial grant to Amir Ardalan Emami to work on his research proposal for PhD degree in the History of Zoroastrianism, at Leiden University’s Center for the Study of Religion. His thesis entitled “Transformations in ancient Iranian religion: the Achaemenids as agents of long-term change” will be carried out under the supervision of Professor Albert de Jong.