Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh

Senior Lecturer

Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh

Areas of expertise: Middle East Politics; political Islam; state-religion relations; secularism; Iranian politics; Islamic political thought

Phone: +61 3 9953 3842

Email: Naser.Ghobadzadeh@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4632-5391

Naser Ghobadzadeh is a senior lecture at the National School of Arts and Humanities, ACU. Researching at the intersection of religion and politics, Naser's interests lie in the study of Islamic political theology, secularism, and Middle East politics. His current book project involves conceptualising the political practices of the traditional Shīʿī orthodoxy through an investigation of its theological foundations and history prior to the emergence of political Islam. Naser holds a Ph.D. (University of Sydney, 2012) and an M.A. in Political Science (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran 2001). He has also worked as communication officer with the UNDP and head of the Information Resource Centre, UNICEF office in Tehran.

Naser has authored three books including Religious secularity: a theological challenge to the Islamic state (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), Caspian Sea: legal regime, neighbouring countries and US policies (Tehran: Farhang-e Gofteman, 2005 - in Farsi) and A study of people's divergence from ruling system (Tehran: Farhang-e Gofteman, 2002-in Farsi). He is also co-editor of a recently published collection of essays, i.e., The Politics of Islamism: Diverging Visions and Trajectories (New York: Palgrave 2018). Naser is the author of numerous articles in journals such Third World Quarterly, Democratization, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Middle East Policy, Middle Eastern Studies, Contemporary Politics, and chapters in edited collections including the Oxford Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation (OUP, 2019), Muslim Secular Democracy (Palgrave Macmillan 2013).

Select publications


  • Ghobadzadeh, N. Religious Secularity: A Theological Challenge to the Islamic State, New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. (Paperback printed in 2017)
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. Caspian Sea: Legal regime, neighbor countries positions and American role, Tehran: Farhang-e Gofteman, 2005 (In Persian).
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. A Study of people’s divergence from ruling system in the second decade of the Islamic revolution, Tehran: Farhang-e Gofteman, 2002 (In Persian).

Co-edited book

  • John Esposito, Lily Rahim & Naser Ghobadzadeh (ed.), The Politics of Islamism: Diverging Visions and Trajectories', (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Book chapters

  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Re-Thinking Shīʿī Political Theology." Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics. Ed. Sadiki, Larbi. New York: Routledge, 2020. Chapter 19.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Islamist Transformations: From Utopian Vision to Dystopian Reality", in Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation, Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, Hans-Jürgen Wagener, (ed.), (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019): 321-333.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Democratization of Islamic political theology", in The Politics of Islamism: Divergent Trajectories and Contested Visions. John Esposito, Lily Rahim & Naser Ghobadzadeh (ed.), (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018): 47-86.
  • John Esposito, Rahim. L, Ghobadzadeh. N. "Introduction: theological contestation and political coalition-building”, in The Politics of Islamism: Divergent Trajectories and Contested Visions. John Esposito, Lily Rahim & Naser Ghobadzadeh (ed.), (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018): 1-23.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. & Lily Rahim. "Islamic Reformation Discourses: Popular Sovereignty and Religious Secularisation in Iran", in Religion and Political Change in the Modern World (Democratization Special Issues), Jeffrey Haynes (ed.), (London: Routledge, 2014): 334-351.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Implications of Leadership Change in Middle East", in Middle Eastern Future Security Environment, Tehran: Pajoheshkade Motaleate Rahbordi, 2005, [Translation from English to Persian]

Journal Articles

  • Ghobadzadeh, N. & Shahram Akbarzadeh. “Religionization of politics in Iran: Shi’i seminaries as the bastion of resistance.” Middle Eastern Studies, 56:4 (2020): 570-584.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Nested Game of Elections in Iran." Middle East policy 3 (2019): 92-106.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. ‘Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran: A source of democratic learning and moderation’, Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 11, no.2 (2018): 157–77.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N, & Lily Z. Rahim. "Electoral Theocracy and Hybrid Sovereignty in Iran." Contemporary Politics. 22, no.4 (2016): 450-468.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. & Shahram Akbarzadeh. "Sectarianism and the prevalence of ‘othering’ in Islamic thought", Third World Quarterly, 36, no.4 (2015): 691-704.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Religious Secularity: A Vision for Revisionist Political Islam", Philosophy and Social Criticism, 39, no.10 (2013): 1002-1024.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. & Lily Rahim. "Islamic Reformation Discourses: Popular Sovereignty and Religious Secularisation in Iran", Democratization, 19, no.2 (2012): 334-351.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "A multiculturalism–feminism dispute: Muslim women and the Sharia debate in Canada and Australia", Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 48, no.3 (2010):301-319.
  • Ghobadzadeh, N. "Value Changes in Iran: Second decade of the Islamic Revolution", Discourse, 6, no.2 (2004): 77-108.


  • Theocratic Secularism: Traditional-Shī’i Rationale for Separation
  • Electoral Theocracy: A study of an Islamic Hybrid Regime
  • Transitions of Islam and Democracy

Editorial roles

  • Editorial member of Journal of the American Academy of Religion
  • A member of advisory board for ‘Journal of Sociology of Islam’ and ‘Journal of Islamic Research’

International journal review panel

  • Manuscript is reviewed for Cambridge University Press
  • Articles also reviewed for: Religious and Political Practice; Terrorism and Political Violence; British Journal of Political Science; British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; Critical Research on Religion; Democratization; ‌Thesis Eleven and Third world Quarterly

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