Prof. dr. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab

Islam and Arabic
Religious Studies

Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (1968) came to the Netherlands in 1986 during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). He started his university education at the Vrije Universiteit and completed two degrees: in English Language and Literature (at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam 1995), and in Persian Language and Culture and Islamic mysticism (at Leiden University 1995). In 2001 he completed his PhD. He was awarded two major research grants from the Dutch Research Council (NWO): an individual VENI grant and a VIDI grant which allowed him to lead a research team with several PhD students. In 2021 the European Research Council awarded him a prestigious ERC-Advanced Grant entitled Beyond Sharia: The Role of Sufism in Shaping Islam. In this project Seyed-Gohrab leads a research team consisting of four PhD students and three postdocs.
From 1997 to 2020, he worked at Leiden University where he was the chairman of the Persian Studies programs from 2004 to 2020. He chaired the Department of Middle Eastern Studies between 2011 and 2013. From 2014 he has been affiliated to SOAS (University of London as Research Fellow). From 2007 to 2012 he was a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He acted as its vice-chair between 2009 and 2011. From 2011 to 2019, he was member of the national Council for Humanities (Raad voor Geesteswetenschappen) at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2023 he became an elected fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
As editor in chief of the Iranian Studies Series (Leiden University Press) from 2010, he has published 30 monographs. He is a member of editorial boards of journals including Iranian Studies, Journal of Persianate Studies, and International Journal of Persian Literature, and editor of the journal Persica
He has published extensively on Persian literature, mysticism and religion. He is passionate about knowledge dissemination, teaching university courses, but also regularly giving talks for the general public.
Student Supervision
From 2005 to 2021, he has supervised 7 Research MA, 27 MA, and 43 BA dissertations.

PhD Supervision

  1. Alsulami, Mohammad, Iranian Orientalism: Notions of the Other in Modern Iranian Thoughts (defended on 5 February 2014)
  2. Farhosh-van Loon, Diede, Ayatollah Khomeini’s integration of mysticism and poetry in his politics (defended on 18 October 2016)
  3. Ghodratzadeh, Amin, Wise Fools and the Interrogation of God
  4. Holtzapffel, Maarten, Of Love and Wisdom: Rumi’s Transgressive Ideas and the Rise of Humanism
  5. Karoubi, Behrouz, An Evaluator-centered Approach towards Translation Quality Assessment: A Case Study (defended on 15 June 2016)
  6. Naghshvarian, Fatemeh, Qalandars in the ‘Divine Religion’ in India
  7. Nematollahi Mahani, Mahnia, ‘Do Not Say They Are Dead’: The Political Use of Mystical and Religious Concepts in the Poetry of the Iran-Iraq War (defended 15 May 2014)
  8. Nieweg, Alexandra, Literary Qalandars
  9. Noorian, Zhinia, Voicing Controversies: Persian Debate Poetry in a Socio-Political Context
  10. Shahnahpour, Saeedeh, Wail and Word: The Emergence of War Fiction in Persian Post-Revolutionary Literature, (defended on 13 September 2016)