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Pardis Mahdavi

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School Director and Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 6403
Biography

Pardis Mahdavi is director of Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation. Mahdavi has focused her academic career on diversity, inclusion, human trafficking, migration, sexuality, human rights, feminism and public health.

Mahdavi's approach to higher education has been informed by her personal journey as an Iranian-American woman growing up in the U.S., as well as her training as an anthropologist where she learned to be reflexive about complex power dynamics. 

Mahdavi comes to ASU from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where she served as acting dean. Before coming to Denver, she was at Pomona College from 2006-2017 where she most recently served as professor and chair of anthropology, director of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, as well as Dean of Women. Her research interests include academic freedom, diversity and inclusion in higher education, gendered labor, human trafficking, migration, sexuality, human rights, youth culture, transnational feminism and public health in the context of changing global and political structures. She has published five single-authored books and one edited volume in addition to numerous journal and news articles. She has been a fellow at the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Council on Learned Societies, Google Ideas, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has consulted for a wide array of organizations including the U.S. government, Google Inc., and the United Nations. In 2012, she won the Wig Award for teaching at Pomona College.

Education
  • Ph.D. Sociomedical Sciences and Anthropology, Columbia University 2006
  • M.Phil. Anthropology, Columbia University 2003
  • Master's degree. International Affairs, Columbia University 2002
  • B.A. Diplomacy and World Affairs, Occidental College 2000
Research Interests

Mahdavi's research interests include gendered labor, migration, sexuality, human rights, youth culture, transnational feminism and public health in the context of changing global and political structures. She is the author of four books: her first book, "Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution" was published with Stanford University Press in 2008, and her second book, "Gridlock: Labor, Migration and ‘Human Trafficking’ in Dubai," also Stanford University Press, was published in 2011. Mahdavi’s third book, entitled "From Trafficking to Terror: Constructing a Global Social Problem" was published by Routledge on October 1, 2013, and her fourth book, "Crossing the Gulf: Love and Family in Migrant Lives" also Stanford University Press was published in April 2016.

Research Activity
  • Social Science Research Council Abe Fellowship 2014-2015 Fellowship to conduct research in Asia about migrant families
  • Asia Research Institute Fellowship 2014 Writing fellowship National University of Singapore
  • Google Ideas Fellowship 2012 Fellowship to conduct research and assist Google in the realm of illicit networks
  • National Science Foundation 2011 Workshop Grant to support Rockefeller Bellagio Center Conference
  • Wennergren Foundation 2011 Workshop Grant to support Rockefeller Bellagio Center Conference
  • American Council of Learned Societies 2010. Grant for research for upcoming book on “trafficking” in Dubai.
  • Mellon Faculty Grant 2008. Funding for edited volume on youth in Iran
  • Pomona College Faculty Research Grant 200.8 Funding for travel to Dubai and Beirut for next project
  • Pomona College Hahn “Teaching with Technology” Grant 2007 Funding for purchase of qualitative research technology in the amount of $2,400
  • Pomona College Research Grant 2007 Funding to travel to the Islamic Republic of Iran for five weeks to conduct fieldwork. Funding also for two research assistants in the field. Total funding received: $7,539.15
  • Behavioral Science Training Fellowship, National Development and Research Institute 2004-2006 Stipend and tuition received as well as research training and networking
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Women’s Health 2005-2006 Grant received for conducting research in Iran
  • Institute for Social and Economic Research Policy Fellowship 2005-2006 Fellowship and office received for data analysis and write-up of dissertation 
Honors / Awards
  • Social Science Research Council Abe Fellowship 2014-2015 Fellowship to conduct research in Asia about migrant families
  • Asia Research Institute Fellowship 2014 Writing fellowship National University of Singapore
  • Google Ideas Fellowship 2012 Fellowship to conduct research and assist Google in the realm of illicit networks
  • Wig Distinguished Award for Teaching 2012 Fellowship and award for excellence in teaching at Pomona College
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship 2009-2010 A residential fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Balzan Fellowship for 2010 Award to a scholar working on sexuality and the Middle East
  • Asia Society Fellowship 2009 Awarded an Asia 21 fellowship for outstanding global leadership
  • Society for Applied Anthropology and Society for Medical Anthropology, Del Jones Award 2006 Honored for conducting original research amongst under-served populations
  • American Public Health Association Outstanding Student Award 2005 Award in recognition of innovative and outstanding new scholarship in the field of public health
Editorships
  • Editor, Wiley Encyclopedia of Sexuality 08/13-present
  • Editorial Board Member, Culture, Health and Sexuality 04/08-present
  • Advisory Board Member; Millennium Time Capsule Project 1/08-present
  • Consultant/Reviewer, International Women’s Health Coalition 7/07-present
  • Editor, Rahavard Iranian Journal 9/06-present
  • Ad-hoc reviewer, International Journal of Women’s Middle East Studies 7/07-present Consultant, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 11/02-present
Work History
  • President and director, Pacific Basin Institute, Pomona College August 2015-2019
  • Chair, Department of Anthropology, Pomona College January 2012 - 2019
  • Associate professor of Anthropology, Pomona College July 2011-2019
  • Assistant professor of Anthropology, Pomona College July 2006 – July 2010
  • Visiting assistant professor of public health, New York University June 2007 – July 2007
  • Teaching assistant, Columbia University School of Public Health August 2005 – May 2006
  • Teaching assistant, Barnard College August 2005 – December 2005
  • Research assistant, Columbia University School of Public Health August 2005 – December 2005
  • Instructor, School of International Affairs, Columbia University August 2003 – December 2003
  • Practicum Coordinator, Columbia University School of Public Health August 2002 – December 2002 
Service
  • Member, Committee on Academic Freedom, Middle East Studies Assoc 09/14-present 
  • Secretary, Association for Middle East Anthropology 08/13-present 
  • Board Member, Political Research Associates 10/08-present 
  • Director, Pacific Basin Institute 2015 - present
  • Chair, Anthropology Department 2012 – present
  • Member, Faculty Personnel Committee 2016-present
  • Member, Work-Family Committee 2012-present
  • Chair, Women’s Commission 2012
  • Member, Academic Committee on Computing 9/08-05/09
  • Member, Research Committee 7/07-05/09
  • Member, Gender and Women’s Studies Steering Committee 9/06-present
  • Mentor, Farsi Table, Oldenborg Language Center 9/06-present
  • Member, Graduate Student Advisory Committee, Columbia University 9/02-5/06
  • Member, Diversity Committee, Columbia University 9/02-5/06
  • Medical Anthropology Student Committee, Columbia University 9/02-5/06