3 Dr Zeinab Azarbadegan
Dr Zeinab Azarbadegan

Dr Zeinab Azarbadegan

BA Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of International History

Room No
Office Hours
Tuesday, 1pm - 2pm
English, Farsi, Turkish
Key Expertise
Modern Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Iraq, Iran

About me

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.

Zeinab is a long-time producer at the Ottoman History Podcast. She has been a contributor and cataloguer at the Manuscripts of the Muslim World Project (MWM), funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and a researcher and translator at the Leverhulme Balkh Art and Cultural Heritage Project at the Orient Institute in the University of Oxford. 


Expertise Details

History of Science; Technology; and Medicine; Comparative History of Empire; Ottoman Empire; Iraq; Iran


Peer-reviewed Papers

  • Zeinab Azarbadegan, "The World-Revealing Goblet: Reading Farhād Mīrzā’s Geographical Treatise Jām-i Jam as a Lithograph," Philological Encounters. 5:3-4 (2020): 409-449.
  • Zeynep Çelik and Zeinab Azarbadegan, "Late Ottoman Visions of Palestine: Railroads, Maps, and Aerial Photography", Jerusalem Quarterly 82 (2020): 87-109. 
  • Zeinab Azarbadegan, "Imagined Geographies, Re-invented Histories: Ottoman Iraq as Part of Iran," Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association. 5 (2018): 115-141.


  • Zeinab Azarbadegan, "Eurasian Worlds Interrupted: Shi’i Religious Networks after Russia’s Conquest of the South Caucasus," in Eileen Kane, Masha Kirasirova, and Margaret Litvin (eds.), Russian-Arab Worlds: A Documentary History [tentative title], (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022) [contracted and under review].

Editor of Special Issue


  • Zeinab Azarbadegan, "Ottoman Arcadia: The Hamidian Expedition to the Land of Tribal Roots (1886): ANAMED, May 10, 2018-September 30,2018 (Extended to May 5, 2019),” International Journal of Islamic Architecture. 9.1 (2020): 209-222


  • Zeinab Azarbadegan, “Ottomans and Iranians at Ctesiphon,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 8:1 (2021): 377-386.


Dr Zeinab Azarbadegan teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level

HY247: The History of Modern Turkey, 1789 to the Present

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