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Saïd Arjomand


Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. 1980, University of Chicago

Areas of Interest

Comparative; historical; political; law; religion; global studies


Saïd Amir Arjomand (Ph.D, University of Chicago, 1980) has been at Stony Brook since 1978, and is currently the Editor of the Journal of Persianate Studies. Arjomand is the author of The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Organization and Societal Change in Shi'ite Iran from the Beginning to l890, the University of Chicago Press, l984; The Turban for the Crown. The Islamic revolution in Iran, Oxford University Press, 1988; and After Khomeini, Iran under his Successors, Oxford University Press, 2009. His article, "Constitutions and the Struggle for Political Order: A Study in the Modernization of Political Traditions," European Journal of Sociology/Archives européennes de sociologie,, 33.4 (1992), won the Section’s Award for the Best Essay in Comparative and Historical Sociology in 1993. This was followed by "The Law, Agency and Policy in Medieval Islamic Society: Development of the Institutions of Learning from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 41.2 (1999). He had recently edited two books on comparative constitutionalism: Constitutionalism and Political Reconstruction, Brill, 2007, and Constitutional Politics in the Middle East, Hart Publishing, 2008. Professor Arjomand was the Crane Inaugural Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, and a Carnegie Scholar (2006 - 2008). Arjomand is concurrently Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies, guiding its project on the integration of social theory and regional studies. The studies so far edited by him and published in the Institute Pangaea II: Global/Local Studies SUNY Press Series are The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran (edited with Nathan J. Brown, 2013), Social Theory and Regional Studies in the Global Age(2014), and The Arab Revolution of 2011:A Comparative Perspective (forthcoming). He also helped organized the Thematic Plenaries at the World Congress of Sociology in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July 2010, and is the co-editor (with Elisa Reis) of a volume of their selected papers, Worlds of Difference (Sage, 2013).

Graduate Courses

“Theory and method in Historical Sociology” 
“Sociology of Max Weber” 
“Comparative Cultural Sociology” 
“Development and Modernization”

Selected Publications

Messianism and Sociopolitical Revolution in Medieval Islam.  University of California Press, 2022.

Revolutions of the End of Time:  Apocalypse, Revolution and Reaction in the Persianate World.  Brill, 2022.

Revolution: Structure and Meaning in World History.
The University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Arjomand, Said.  “The Rise of Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities and the Challenge of Comparative Sociology,” European Journal of Social Theory, 20.2 (2017). (published online May 4, 2016 and accessible at

Arjomand, Said. Sociology of Shiʿite Islam, Collected Essays,
 Brill, 2016

Arjomand, Said. “Developmental Path (Entwicklungsform): A Neglected Weberian Concept and its Usefulness in Civilizational Analysis of Islam,” in R. Robertson and J. Simpson, The Art and Science of Sociology: Essays in Honour of Edward Tiryakian, Anthem Press, 2016, pp. 43-78.

Arjomand, Said. “Unity of the Persianate World under Turko-Mongolian Domination and Divergent Development of Imperial Autocracies in the Sixteenth Century,”Journal of Persianate Studies, 9.1 (2016), pp. 1-18.

Arjomand, Said. “State Formation in Early Modern Muslim Empires: Common Origin and Divergent Paths,” Social Imaginaries, 2.2 (2016), pp. 35-51.

The Rule of Law, Islam and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran, edited with Nathan J. Brown, State University of New York Press, 2013.

“Axial civilizations, multiple modernities, and Islam,” Journal of Classical Sociology, 11.3 ( 2011) pp. 327 - 335.

“Islamic Resurgence and Its Aftermaths,” being Ch. 4 of The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 6 (R. Heffner, ed.; M. Cook, ed.-in-chief), 2010, pp. 173-197.

“Legitimacy and Political Organisation: Caliphs, Kings and Regimes,” being Ch. 7 of The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 4 (R. Irwin, ed.; M. Cook, ed.-in-chief), 2010, pp. 225-73.

“Developmental Patterns and Processes in Islamicate Civilization and the Impact of Modernization,” in Hans Joas & Barbro Klein, eds., The Benefit Of Broad Horizons: Intellectual And Institutional Preconditions For A Global Social Science,Leiden: Brill, 2010, pp. 205-26.

“Three Generations of Comparative Sociologies,” Archives européennes de sociologie/European Journal of Sociology, 51.3 (2010), pp. 363-99.

After Khomeini, Iran under his Successors, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Constitutional Politics in the Middle East, edited with an introduction, London: Hart Publishers, 2008.

Constitutionalism and Political Reconstruction, edited with an introduction, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2007 .

Rethinking Civilizational Analysis, edited with Edward A. Tiryakian, London: Sage Publishers, 2004.

"Rationalization, the Constitution of Meaning and Institutional Development," in C. Camic & H. Joas, eds., The Dialogical Turn. New Roles for Sociology in the Post-Disciplinary Age, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004, pp. 247-74.

“The Constitution of Medina: A Socio-legal Interpretation of Muhammad’s Acts of Foundation of the Umma,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 41.4 (2009), pp. 555-75.

“The Salience of Political Ethic in the Spread of Persianate Islam,” Journal of Persianate Studies, 1.1 (2008), pp. 5-29.

“Has Iran’s Islamic Revolution ended?” Radical History Review, 105.10 (2009), pp. 132-38. (Turkish translation in press)

“Islamic Constitutionalism,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 3 (2007), pp. 115-40.

"Islam, Political Change and Globalization," Thesis Eleven, 76 (2004), pp. 5-24.

"Coffeehouses, Guilds & Oriental Despotism: Government & Civil Society in late-17th-early 18th Century Istanbul and Isfahan, and as seen from Paris & London," Archives européennes de sociologie/European Journal of Sociology, 45.1 (2004), pp. 23-42.

"Social Theory and the Changing World: Mass Democracy, Development, Modernization and Globalization," International Sociology, 19.3 (2004), pp. 321-53.

"Modernita, tradizione e la riforma schi`ita nell 'Iran contemporanea", Sociologia del diritto, XXVIII.2 (2001-2), pp. 99-114.

"The Reform Movement and the Debate on Modernity and Tradition in Contemporary Iran," International Journal of Middle East Studies (forthcoming). 

"Perso-Indian Statecraft, Greek Political Science and the Muslim Idea of Government," International Sociology, 16.3 (2001), pp. 461-480.

"Authority in Shi`ism and Constitutional Developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran," in W. Ende & R. Brunner, eds., The Twelver Shia in Modern Times: Religious Culture & Political History, Leiden: Brill, 2000, pp. 301-332.

"Civil Society and the Rule of Law in the Constitutional Politics of Iran under Khatami," Social Research, 76.2 (2000), pp. 283-301.

"The Law, Agency and Policy in Medieval Islamic Society: Development of the Institutions of Learning from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 41.2 (1999), pp 263-293.

"Islamic Apocalypticism in the Classical Period," in B. McGinn, ed., The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, New York: Continuum, vol. 2, 1998, pp. 238-283.

"Crisis of the Imamate and the Institution of Occultation in Twelver Shi`ism: a Sociohistorical Perspective," International Journal of Middle East Studies 28.4 (1996): pp. 491-515.