Skip to main content

Dr Katayoun Shafiee

Office Hours:

H023, ground floor of the Humanities Building
024 76150932, internal extension 50932
Wednesday 11:00-12:00; Thursday 1:00-2:00, during term or by appointment


Academic Profile

  • 2017 onwards: Assistant Professor in the History of the Islamic World, University of Warwick
  • 2016-2017: Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London
  • 2014-2016: Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore
  • 2010: PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History, New York University
  • 2003: MA in Near Eastern Studies, New York University
  • 2000: BA in Biology, Brown University



I am broadly interested in the history and material politics of large-scale infrastructures in the modern Middle East and the kinds of expert knowledge (economic, scientific, and technical) generated about them, particularly concerning energy networks. My research and writing draws on tools from science and technology studies (STS) and post-colonial theory to rethink historical and political analysis with specific regard to non-human actors. I completed my PhD in the joint program in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. I was previously a post-doctoral research fellow at the National University of Singapore and a visiting research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College London. My first book, Machineries of Oil: An Infrastructural History of BP in Iran (MIT Press, 2018) brings together histories of the Middle East with interdisciplinary thinking in STS to reconfigure the politics of the Middle East through a study of the British-controlled oil industry in Iran. I have published articles on the politics of petroleum formulas and labour in the history of Iran’s oil industry and the transformative role of Anglo-Iranian oil in international law. I have a forthcoming article on the unusual role that cost-benefit analysis played in the politics of water resource development in Iran. My new book project is to write an infrastructural history of risk in the building of a large-scale dam in southwest Iran, along the Persian Gulf, while continuing to consider the centrality of technologies of energy development in shaping political transformations in the twentieth century.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications


  • 2018 Machineries of Oil: An Infrastructural History of BP in Iran, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).


  • 2018 'Techno-Politics of a Concession Contract: How International Law was Transformed by its Encounter with Anglo-Iranian Oil,' International Journal of Middle East Studies 50(4): 1-22.

  • 2012 'A petro-formula and its world: calculating production, labor and profits in the assembling of Anglo-Iranian oil, 1901-54,' Economy and Society 41(4): 585­-614.

  • 2011 'Oil worker dissent and the assembling of an oil labor regime in Iran, 1922-35,' 900. Per Una storia del tempo presente, 4(1): 17-39. Issue devoted to “The End of Oil: Energy Resources and Democracy in Contemporary History.”

Other Publications

  • 2018 Review of Britain's Quest for Oil: The First World War and the Peace Conferences, by Martin Gibson, The Economic History Review 71(4): 1421-22.
  • 2015 'The impact of the Iranian nuclear deal on domestic developments in Iran: various key trends,' Singapore Middle East Papers, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore, no. 17, October 12.
  • 2014 'Mobilizing US National Security in the Reassembling of Anglo-Iranian Oil in an International Oil Consortium, 1951-53,' Middle East Insights, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore, no. 116, September 2.