4 Dr Rowena Abdul Razak
Dr Rowena Abdul Razak

Dr Rowena Abdul Razak

Guest Teacher

Department of International History

Room No
SAR G.03
Office Hours
Wednesday, 2pm to 3pm
Key Expertise
Iran, Britain, Twentieth Century History

About me

Rowena Abdul Razak holds a BA (Hons) in History from the School of Oriental & African Studies, an MA in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King’s College London and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. Her thesis was on the British-Soviet occupation of Iran, from 1941 to 1946. Her main academic interests include the modern history of Iran, the politics and history of the Persian Gulf, and Twentieth Century British relations with the Middle East.


Expertise Details

Twentieth Century History of Iran and the Persian Gulf; British policy towards the Middle East; Labour in Iran




  • “Resource imperialism and resistance: Labour, security and social reproduction after Iranian oil nationalization.” Co-written with Mattin Biglari. Journal of Energy History Special Issue, “Hydrocarbons and societies: histories of labour, social relations, and industrial culture in the oil and gas industry.” Article accepted and currently in production.
  • “Oil heritage in Iran and Malaysia: The Future Energy Legacy in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.” Co-written with Asma Mehan. New Metropolitan Perspectives. May 2022.  
  • “Activism in Isolation : The Tudeh Party in British Left Discourse during the Long 1980s.” International Labour & Working-Class HistoryArticle accepted and currently in production. 
  • “Oil, Labour and Empire: Abadan in WWII Occupied Iran.” Co-written with Rasmus Elling. British Journal of Middle Eastern StudiesJuly 2021.  
  •  “Escape from Isolation: Iranian–Malaysian Relations during the Mahathir Years, 1981–2003.” Association of Iranian Studies Newsletter. Spring 2019. 
  • “The British, the Tudeh party and the 1947 World Federation of Trade Unions’ Visit: battle for labor reform in Iran.” Labor History. April 2019. 
  • “When Guns are not Enough: Britain’s Response to Nationalism in Bahrain, 1958–1963.” Journal of Arabian Studies. July 2017.  
  • ““But what would they think of us?” Propaganda and the Manipulation of the Anglo–Soviet Occupation, 1941–1946”. Iranian Studies. September 2016.  

Chapters in books: 

  • “Convenient Comrades: Reassessing the Early Relationship between the Hizb-i Tudeh and the Soviet Union during the British-Soviet Occupation of Iran, 1941–1945.” ‘Russians in Iran: Diplomacy and Power in the Qajar Era and Beyond’. Edited book. January 2018.

Conference Papers


  • Seaker at Association for Iranian Studies Conference on the topic of Iran and the United Nations. University of Salamanca. September 2022.
  • Seaker at 80th Anniversary of the Tudeh Party of Iran. University of St Andrews. March 2021.
  • Speaker at WOCMES on the topic, “Between Strategic Purposes and Imperial Vision: The Impact of the British-Soviet Occupation of Iran, 1941-1946”, University of Seville. July 2018.
  • Speaker at History of War Conference on Iran and the early Cold War, King’s College London, April 2018.
  • Speaker at BRISMES Postgraduate Conference on the topic, Escape from Isolation: Iran-Malaysia Relations during the Mahathir Years, 1981-2003,University of Edinburgh. July 2017.
  • Speaker at Association for Iranian Studies Biennial Conference on Soviet policy and the Tudeh Party, 1941­–1946. University of Vienna, August 2016.
  • Speaker at Institute of Historical Research on the topic of British policy during the Iranian oil strikes of 1946, IHR, April 2016.

Awards and scholarships

  • 2022: Highly Commended, LSE Class Teacher Awards
  • 2018/19: Received an LSE Teaching award 
  • 2015/16: Hadid Scholarship, Middle East Centre, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.