Mojtaba Mahdavi-Ardekani, PhD

Professor, ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies , Faculty of Arts - Political Science Dept


Professor, ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies , Faculty of Arts - Political Science Dept
(780) 492-0736
10-25 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4


Area of Study / Keywords

Middle East and North Africa Islamic Political Thought Social Movements Democratization Post-colonialism State-Society Relations Political Economy Religion & Politics Contemporary Islamic Studies Iranian Studies


Mojtaba Mahdavi is Professor of Political Science and the ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta. He is the author and editor of numerous works on post-Islamism, contemporary social movements and democratization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), postrevolutionary Iran, and modern Islamic political thought. He is the co-editor of Towards the Dignity of Difference: Neither ‘End of History’ nor ‘Clash of Civilizations’ (2012); the guest editor of Contemporary Social Movements in the Middle East and BeyondSociology of Islam (2014); and the guest editor of The Many Faces of Contemporary Post-IslamismReligions (2020). Dr. Mahdavi is currently working on four book projects: The Myth of ‘Middle East Exceptionalism’: The Unfinished Project of MENA Social Movements; Towards a Progressive Post-Islamism: Neo-Shariati Discourse in Postrevolutionary Iran; Rethinking China-Middle East Relations in the Age of Neoliberalism; and Imagining Ethical Democratic Socialism in Muslim Contexts.

He is a recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Connection Grant, and the SSHRC Conference Fund, IDRC Canada Partnership Grant, Killam Research Operating Grant, Visiting Fellow Grant at the Liu Institute and Green College at the University of British Columbia, among others.

Dr. Mahdavi’s research lies at the intersection of critical Middle East Studies, Political Economy, Contemporary Islamic Studies, and Decolonial/Postcolonial Studies. It is primarily driven by his interest in socio-structural changes in the life of ordinary people and discursive/intellectual transformations in the MENA/Muslim contexts. He is interested in supervising graduate students working on the critical study of social movements, state-society relations, religion & politics, and the political economy of MENA; alternative modernities and democracies in the Muslim majority polities; critical post-colonial studies; and contemporary Islamic studies.


Selected Publications:  

Mahdavi, Mojtaba.From Nakhshab to Neo-Shariati: Three Generations of Iran’s Modern Muslim Left.In R. Jahanbegloo. Ed. Mapping the Role of Intellectuals in Iranian Modern and Contemporary History. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books; Rowman & Littlefield, 2020, pp. 275-294.

Mahdavi, Mojtaba.“Charismatic Authority in a Hybrid State: Reading Max Webber and Beyond in Postrevolutionary Iran.” In Mehran Kamrava. Ed. Routledge Handbook of Persian Gulf Politics. London: Routledge, 2020, pp. 292-307.  

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. "Whither Post-Islamism: Revisiting the Discourse/Movement After the Arab Spring." In E. Mohamed and D. Fahmi, eds. Arab Spring and the Quest for New Metaphors: Modernity, Identity and Change. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, pp. 15-38. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “The Muslim Left in Iran in Three Episodes: From Nakhshab to Neo-Shariatis.” Azadiye Andisheh Journal. Vol. 6. June 2018, pp. 202-228.  

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. "Iran: Multiple Sources of a Grassroots Social Democracy?" In P. Vahabzadeh, ed. Iran's Struggles for Social Justice: Economics, Agency, Justice, Activism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp. 271-288.  

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. "Ali Shariati’s Legacy and our Future.” In M. Jami, Ed. The Legacy of Shariati and the Future of Iran. London: H& S Media Ltd. 2017, pp. 244-256. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. "Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Muslims and a Multidimensional Emancipatory Discourse." In M. Masaeli and R. Sneller, eds. The Root Causes of Terrorism: A Religious Studies Perspective. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017, pp.198-218. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “The Challenge of Democratization in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Beyond the Democratic Peace Theory.” In Y. Halabi, ed. Democratic Peace Across the Middle East: Islam and Political Modernization. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2016, pp. 95-137. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “A Postcolonial Critique of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the Middle East." Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs - Centre for Strategic Research, Vol. XX, No. 1, Spring 2015, pp. 7-36. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. Guest Editor. “Contemporary Social Movements in the Middle East and Beyond.” Sociology of Islam. Vol. 2, Issue 3-4, (2014). 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba."Introduction: East Meets West? The Unfinished Project of Contemporary Social Movements in the Middle East and Beyond." Sociology of Islam. Vol. 2, Issue 3-4 (2014), 103-110. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “One Bed and Two Dreams? Contentious Public Religion in the Discourses of Ayatollah Khomeini and Ali Shariati.” Studies in Religion, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2014, pp. 25-52. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Postrevolutionary Iran: Resisting global and regional hegemony.” In T. Ismael and G. Perry, eds. International Relations of the Middle East Today: Subordination and After. Routledge, 2014, pp. 141-173. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “The Rise of Khomeinism: Problematizing the Politics of Resistance in Pre-revolutionary Iran.” In A. Adib-Moghaddam, ed. A Critical Introduction to Ayatollah Khomeini. Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 43-68. 

Mojtaba Mahdavi. "Iran, Islamic Republic of." In Emad El-Din Shahin, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics. Oxford University Press, 2014. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Muslims and Modernities: from Islamism to Post-Islamism?Religious Studies and Theology, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2013, 31-56. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Ayatollah Khomeini” In John L. Esposito and Emad El-Din Shahin, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics. Oxford University Press, 2013. pp.180-201.

Mahdavi, Mojtaba and Andy Knight. Eds. Towards ‘The Dignity of Difference’? Neither ‘End of History’ nor ‘Clash of Civilizations.’ Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd/Routledge, 2012. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba and Andy Knight. “Introduction: Towards ‘The Dignity of Difference? Neither ‘The End of History’ nor ‘The Clash of Civilizations.’” In Mojtaba Mahdavi and Andy Knight, eds. Towards ‘The Dignity of Difference’? Neither ‘End of History’ nor ‘Clash of Civilizations.’ Ashgate Publishing Ltd/Routledge, 2012, pp. 1-23. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Civil Society Approach to Democratization in Iran: The Case for Bring it Back in Carefully.” In R. Jahanbegloo, ed. Civil Society and Democracy in Iran. Lexington Books, 2012, pp. 79-93. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “R2P in the Middle East and North Africa” In A. Knight and F. Egerton, eds. Routledge Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect. Routledge, 2012, pp. 257-275. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Post-Islamist Trends in Post-Revolutionary Iran.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 31:1 2011, 94-109. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Islam/Muslims and Political Leadership.” In J. Masciulli, M. A. Molchanov, and A. Knight, eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Leadership. Ashgate Publishing Ltd/Routledge, 2009, 287-306. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Universalism from Below: Muslims and Democracy in Context.” International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, Vol. 2, No. 2, December 2009, 276-291. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “Rethinking Structure and Agency in Democratization: Iranian Lessons.” International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, Vol. 1, No.2, December 2008, 142-160. 

Mahdavi, Mojtaba. “The West and the Rest.” In Janine Brodie and Sandra Rein. Eds. Critical Concepts: An Introduction to Politics. 4th edition. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2008, pp. 265-275. 



Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta 


POL S 380 - Politics in the Middle East

Evolution, future, and global significance of Middle Eastern regional politics. Prerequisite: One of POL S 235 (or 240) or Department consent.

Winter Term 2022
POL S 477 - Islam, Modernity, and Democracy

Political ideas and practice in Islamic countries, including historical and contemporary constructions of Islam. Prerequisite: Any 200-level course in POL S or Department consent.

Winter Term 2022
POL S 571 - Topics in Comparative Politics: Comparative Development

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Mojtaba Mahdavi-Ardekani

Scholarly Activities

Research - Chair in Islamic Studies

Started: January 2015

The Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities (ECMC) Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta

Research - Symposium Chair and Organizer

International Symposium: Imagining Indigenous and Glocal Democratic Socialism: Can Freedom, Social Justice, and Civil Spirituality Coexist in Muslim Societies?

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

April 27-28, 2019

Research - Conference Chair and Co-Organizer

International Conference: The Unfinished Project of the Arab Spring: Why “Middle East Exceptionalism” is Still Wrong

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

September 25-27, 2015

Research - Conference Chair and Organizer

International Conference: The Challenge of Democratization from Within: Rethinking Iran’s Green Movement and the Arab Spring

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. Canada 

March 01, 2013

Research - Conference Co-Chair and Co-Organizer

International Conference: Towards 'the Dignity of Difference': Neither 'the Clash of Civilizations' nor 'the End of History'

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

October 2-4, 2009


Links to selected publications
Author(s): Mojtaba Mahdavi
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