Current and founding director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at California State University Northridge (CSUN), Nayereh Tohidi is an esteemed Professor and former Chair at the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at CSUN. Tohidi is also a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, where she has been coordinating the Bilingual Lecture Series on Iran since 2003. She was the Director and founding member of the International Committee for Women’s Rights in Iran in the early 1980s, and has taught at many colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area over the years. She has served as a board member for International Society for Azerbaijani Studies, Institute of Gender, Globalization and Democracy at CSUN, and Nairobi’s Forward-Looking Strategies at California State Polytechnic University. Tohidi’s professional and research interests include sociology of gender, religion (Islam in particular), ethnicity and democracy in the Middle East and post-Soviet Central Eurasia, especially Iran and Azerbaijan Republic.
Born and raised in Iran, Dr. Nayereh Tohidi earned her BS from the University of Tehran in Psychology and Sociology, her MA in Educational Psychology (Human Development) in 1979, and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Socio-Cultural Perspectives) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1983. She has been honored with several grants, fellowships and research awards, “including a year of Fulbright lectureship and research at the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University, the Hoover Institute of Stanford University, the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Keddie-Balzan Fellowship at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA.” Her scholarly pursuit has brought her visiting positions at University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Harvard, UCLA, and USC.
Due to her expertise, Dr. Tohidi has served as a consultant for the United Nations (UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, and WIDER) on projects concerning “gender and development, and women and civil society building in the Middle East and post-Soviet Eurasia. She represented women NGOs at both the third and fourth World Conferences on Women in Nairobi (NGO Forum 1985) and Beijing (NGO Forum 1995) on gender issues in Iran and the post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia.”
Tohidi’s publications include: Globalization, Gender and Religion: The Politics of Women’s Rights in Catholic and Muslim Contexts; Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity; and Feminism, Democracy and Islamism in Iran. “Much of her work has been translated and/or reprinted in several other languages and in different countries, including Iran, Russia, France, Austria, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Britain, Spain, India, Japan, Lebanon, and Brazil.”
Dr. Nayereh Tohidi will be a panelist at the Celebrating Los Angeles' Women's Social Movements on February 24, 2014 at UCLA.
Radhika Mehlotra is a Public Policy Graduate student at the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a Graduate Student Researcher at the CSW.