Robert Steele is a historian of modern Iran whose work focuses on cultural policy and Iran’s global interactions during the late Pahlavi period (c.1960-1979). He completed his PhD at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies in 2018, and from 2019 until 2021 was the inaugural Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Iranian History in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. His first book, titled The Shah’s Imperial Celebrations of 1971: Nationalism, Culture and Politics in Late Pahlavi Iran was published by I.B. Tauris in 2020. The paperback edition will be published in October 2021.
His current research project explores Iran’s political and cultural connections with Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1960s and 70s, with a particular focus on how the two major global events of the period – the Cold War and decolonisation – and Iran’s experience of both, shaped these interactions. The research will result in a monograph, which will be the first book-length scholarly treatment on the subject, and will thus form an important contribution to the historiography of late Pahlavi Iran. The study incorporates a wide range of primary source materials from libraries and archives in Africa, Europe, North America and Iran.