Zeinab Azarbadegan completed her Ph.D. at Columbia University in June 2021. Her doctoral thesis, "Bloodless Battles: Contested Sovereignty between the Ottomans, the Qajars, and the British in Ottoman Iraq (1831-1908)," studied how the production of scientific knowledge about the space of Ottoman Iraq was utilized in the inter-imperial rivalries between the Ottomans, the Qajars in Iran and the British. Her thesis has won the Howard and Natalie Shawn Prize for the best dissertation in modern political history in the Department of History at Columbia University. Before joining LSE as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in 2022, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Vienna School of International Studies.
Zeinab's current project, "Citizenship Beyond Borders: Extraterritoriality in Nineteenth Century Ottoman Iraq," examines the assertion of multiple sovereignties over the population of Ottoman Iraq. It does this by examining the significance of the evolution of the concept of "tabiiyyet" – originally an Arabic word variously translated as subjecthood, citizenship, and nationality among other words – and comparative close reading of the administrative and diplomatic archives of the Ottoman, Qajar, and British empires. The case of Ottoman Iraq is distinctive, in that it provides an opportunity to compare how the Qajars, a non-European empire, utilized the same extraterritorial rights granted to European empires to redefine their relationship with their subjects outside their territory. Yet, it further provides an opportunity to compare the Qajar case with the British protection of their subjects in the same space.