Zohreh BayatRizi, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Sociology Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Sociology Dept
(780) 492-4301
6-11 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4


Area of Study / Keywords

Sociology of death and grief; history of sociological concepts; sociology of Iran


I received my MA and PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada, and my BA from the University of Tehran, Iran. Before coming to the University of Alberta, I worked at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. I also worked as a journalist in Iran during my undergraduate studies. When I'm not working or spending time with my family, I listen to audio-book and follow developments in Iranian politics and society.

In addition to my Twitter account linked above, I also maintain an Instagram account in Farsi @dr_bayatrizi


My research interests include sociology of death and grief, sociology of Iran, history of sociology, law and society, and medical sociology.

A critical sociology of death and grief

My aim here is to introduce a critical, transnational perspective on death and grief as a way to address and remedy a long standing bias in death and grief studies. Countries in the Global North have banished death to the Global South but have maintained a monopoly on the concept of 'grief'. Mortality rates are highest in economically disadvantaged countries but the existing literature on grief and loss has a one-sided focus on the economically most advantageous countries. There is more published about how people in the Global North deal with the loss of their pets than on how parents deal with the loss of their children in the Global South. My recent work focuses on reversing this trend by focusing on a critical, transnational conception of grief as exemplified in my work on grief among Iranian diaspora in Canada and grief caused by COVID-19 in Iran.

A genealogy of sociological 'problems'

I have long been interested in how things become ‘problems’. Sociologists study social ‘problems’, such as class, power, labour, gender, death, suicide, inequality, from empirical or theoretical points of view. I study how these things have become ‘problems’ to begin with. My research is primarily historical and focuses on the pre-classical period of sociology: mid-17th to mid-19th centuries, especially the statistical tradition in the UK. My research interests were shaped by my first major project, which examined how death became a problem for early modern scientists, especially statisticians and demographers. This problematization transformed death from a divine ‘fate’ into a calculable ‘risk’. This project focused on how the invention of statistics in Western Europe and its application to the topic of mortality enabled a new cultural approach to death characterized by a desire to make death more quantifiable and therefore more ‘orderly’, predictable and preventable. 

Currently, I am collaborating with Dr. M. Maroto in a new SSHRC-funded project (2020-) on class and inequality in Canada. My role in this research project is to investigate 'Class' as a problem in sociology: what constitutes class, how did it become a 'problem' in sociology, and what is the future of the concept of class in sociology.

Sociology of Iran

The above interests extend to my native Iran. My early interest in the sociology of death has continued today with a series of smaller, self-contained projects on death and dying in contemporary Iran. I am also interested in the history of sociology in Iran as a case of the global expansion of the social sciences in the post-WWII period. In particular, I have examined the political role of sociology and social thought in Iran in several of my recent writings. 


I primarily teach courses in social theory and introductory sociology. My guiding principle in teaching is that theoretical and applied teaching are inseparable. A rich theoretical education will help student develop critical thinking, information gathering, synthesizing, and writing skills. I prefer to teach primary texts rather than secondary sources.

On a given day, we might watch movie clips, write short fiction to illustrate theoretical points, or have class discussions. I use PowerPoint begrudgingly. I have yet to see its educational value but some students seem to love it. Writing is a big part of my courses and I tend to allocate a lot of time trying to teach students how to properly form a position and develop and argument on a topic. 

My favourite course is social theories of death and dying.


For graduate applicants: Please note that the Department of Sociology makes all of the admission decisions. The professors are not able to admit students to the program. In order to be considered for admission you must meet all the requirements as specified here and submit all your documentation online as specified here. If you are interested in the areas of death, history of sociological concepts, history of sociology, or sociology in Iran, and would like to contact me before submitting your official application, please email me and include a C.V., a sample of your writing, your transcripts, IELTS scores (if available), and a brief description of your research and scholarly interests. I can review these informally but I am not in a position to advise you to formally apply or not or access your chances of being admitted.

قابل توجه علاقه‌مندان به اپلای: دانشکده جامعه‌شناسی مرجع اصلی برای پذیرش دانشجویان فوق لیسانس و دکترا است. اساتید دانشکده قدرت پذیرش دانشجو را ندارند. در صورت علاقه به اپلای لطفا این لینک و این لینک را چک کنید. چنانچه اسم من را به عنوان استاد راهنمای احتمالی خود در فایل اپلای ذکر کنید، دانشکده جامعه‌شناسی پس از تکمیل تمام مدارک شما، با من تماس خواهد گرفت و خواهد پرسید که آیا علاقه‌مند به فایل شما هستم یا نه. در نتیجه لزومی ندارد که قبل از اپلای با من تماس بگیرید. برای آماده کردن فایل اپلای حتما به صفحات اینترنتی مجانی که برای کمک به دانشجویان ایرانی برای اپلای درست شده‌اند مراجعه کنید (مثل این) و (مثل این). مشکل اغلب دانشجویان ایرانی برای پذیرش این است که نمی‌دانند چطور یک شرح علایق تحقیقی را بنویسند.

اگه از درجات عملی بالا برخوردارید و تمام ملاک‌های پذیرش را که در لینک‌‌ها ذکر‌شده ‌اند دارید، و باز هم علاقه‌مند هستید که قبل از اپلای با من تماس بگیرید، لطفا رزومه کامل، نمرات درسی، معدل ۲۰ واحد آخر لیسانس و معدل کل فوق لیسانس، یک نمونه مقاله علمی، و یک شرح علایق تحقیقاتی شامل گرایش‌های نظری و روش‌شناختی خود را ضمیمه ایمیل کنید. اما توجه کنید که من هیچ گونه نفوذی در تصمیمات پذیرش ندارم و حتا نمیتوانم دقیقا به شما بگویم که شانس پذیرش شما چیست. موفق باشید.


SOC 100 - Introductory Sociology

An examination of the theory, methods, and substance of Sociology. The study of how societies are shaped including economy, culture, socialization, deviance, stratification, and groups. The process of social change through social movements, industrialization, etc. Note: Not to be taken by students with credit in SOC 300.

SOC 212 - Classical Social Theory

The foundational contributions and relevance of the works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim and others to sociology and social theory. Course emphasizes close reading of primary texts to cultivate reading, writing and reasoning skills. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of the instructor.

SOC 473 - Sociology of Death and Dying

Comparative examination of death and dying in socio-cultural contexts, including theoretical and methodological issues. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of instructor.

Browse more courses taught by Zohreh BayatRizi

Featured Publications

Zohréh Bayatrizi

2023 March;

R. Taslimi Tehran, Z. Bayatrizi, A. Dadgar

Mortality. 2023 January; 10.1080/13576275.2022.2162868

BayatRizi, Zohreh Ghorbani, Hajar Taslimi-Tehran, Reza

Current Sociology. 2021 June; 69 (4):512-528

مرگ و مدرنیته ایرانی: تخصصی شدن مناسک مرگ در بهشت‌زهرای تهران (Death and Iranian Modernity: Professionalization of Death Rituals in Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery)

Zohreh BayatRizi, Hajar Ghorbani

مطالعات اجتماعی مرگ: جستارهایی در باب مرگ در فرهنگ و جامعه ایرانیSocial Studies of Death: Research on Death in Iranian Culture and Society. 2021 June;

مدیریت مخاطرات، مدیریت مرگ: کرونا در بهشت ‌زهرای تهران (Death Management, Risk Management: COVID Deaths in Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery)

Zohreh BayatRizi, Hajar Ghorbani

مطالعات اجتماعی مرگ: جستاریهایی در باب مرگ در فرهنگ و جامعه ایرانی (Social Studies of Death: Research on Death in Iranian Culture and Society). 2021 June;

BayatRizi, Ghorbani

Death Across Cultures, edited by H. Selin and R. Rakoff. Springer Publishers.. 2019 January;


Majjaleh-ye Motale’at-e Ejtemayi (Iran). 2018 January; 10 (2-3):36-56

Bayatrizi, Taslimi-Tehrani

Mortality. 2017 January; 22 (1):15-32

Bayatrizi, Zohreh

European Journal of Social Theory. 2016 January; 19 (3/4):1-17

Bayatrizi, Zohreh

The History of the Human Sciences. 2014 January; 24 (2):28-47

Bayatrizi, Zohreh

International Sociology. 2014 January; 28 (3):467-483


The British Journal of Sociology. 2009 January; 60 (3):604-622


Theory, Culture and Society. 2008 January; 25 (1):121-143