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Faculty Bios

Dr. Mehrzad Boroujerdi


Dr. Mehrzad Boroujerdi is Associate Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where he also serves as the Founding Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program and Co-Director of the Religion, Media and International Relations Program. Professor Boroujerdi received his BA in Political Science and Sociology from Boston University, and his Ph.D. in International Relations from the American University in Washington, D.C. His doctoral dissertation won the Foundation for Iranian Studies’ 1990 award for best Dissertation in the Field of Iranian Studies. From 1990 to 1992 he was respectively a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. He was the 1997-98 recipient of the Maxwell School's Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for outstanding teaching, research, and service by a junior faculty member. His research work has been supported by the Henry R. Luce Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Institute of Peace.

Dr. Boroujerdi is the author of Iranian Intellectuals and the West: The Tormented Triumph of Nativism (Syracuse University Press, 1996) which has been translated into Arabic, Persian and Turkish. His articles have appeared in Bulletin of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Critique: Journal for Critical Studies of the Middle East; Foreign Service Journal, Iranian Journal of International Affairs, International Third World Studies Journal and Review, Journal of Peace Research, Middle East Economic Survey, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, Syracuse Law Review and more than a dozen edited books and Persian-language journals. He is the general editor of the Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East series published by Syracuse University Press and served for seven years (2000 to 2007) as the book review editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies. Professor Boroujerdi is currently working on a book manuscript about the political elite of post-revolutionary Iran.

More information on Dr. Boroujerdi.

Download .PDF version of Dr. Boroujerdi’s full Curriculum Vitae.

Gustav Niebuhr


Gustav Niebuhr is associate professor of religion and the media at Syracuse University, with a joint appointment in the College of Arts & Sciences and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In the Religion Department, he teaches courses in American religions and the way in which the news media portray religion. At Newhouse, he teaches courses in news reporting.

At SU, he is director of the Religion & Society Program, an undergraduate major and minor in the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Carnegie Religion and Media Program, an undergraduate minor that focuses on academic courses in religion that are particularly relevant to understanding contemporary events and issues. He is also a co-director of the Luce Project in Religion, Media and International Relations, a graduate program based at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Prior to coming to Syracuse in January 2004, he spent two years as a visiting fellow and scholar-in-residence at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion. From 1980 to 2001, he worked as a newspaper journalist, most recently at The New York Times and, prior to that, at The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. He writes, mainly about religion, for magazines and web-based publications. His book, Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America, was published in August 2008 by Viking Press.

He is married to Margaret L. Usdansky, an assistant professor of sociology at Syracuse. They have two sons.

Professor Tazim r. Kassam


Professor Tazim R. Kassam is Associate Professor of Islam in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. She is trained as a Historian of Religions and specializes on Islamic cultures and South Asian religions. For her doctorate from McGill University, Kassam spent five years in India studying Indian devotional poetry and vocal classical music.

Kassam’s research focuses on Indo-Muslim folk religious poetry and performance traditions in South Asia. Her book Songs of Wisdom and Circles of Dance: Hymns of the Satpanth Ismaili Muslim Saint, Pir Shams offers the most extensive scholarly translation of Ismaili devotional songs called ginans. Kassam is also general editor of Spotlight on Teaching which is included in Religious Studies News, an international publication by the American Academy of Religion for its members.

Kassam has held several senior administrative appointments. She is former Chair of the Department of Religion and Director of its Graduate Program in Religion. She is also the founding Director of a new interdisciplinary Muslim Cultures program offered at Syracuse University’s Study Abroad center in London.
Kassam has received many fellowships and awards from prestigious foundations including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council of Canada, and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. She is currently co-Principal investigator for a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.


Dr. Nancy Snow


Dr. Nancy Snow is Associate Professor of Public Diplomacy at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications where she teaches in the dual degree Masters in Public Diplomacy program. She also serves as Co-Director of the Maxwell School’s Religion, Media and International Relations Program. Professor Snow received her B.A. in Political Science from Clemson University in South Carolina, and her Ph.D. in International Relations from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C. Her 1992 doctoral dissertation, “Fulbright Scholars as Cultural Mediators,” earned a fourth best honor from the Speech Communication Association Division of Intercultural and International Communication.

Dr. Snow served as a Fulbright scholar to the Federal Republic of Germany and has become a leading authority in public diplomacy and international political communications. She serves as Senior Fellow of the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California and as a member of the Public Diplomacy Council of George Washington University. Dr. Snow has received honors for her visibility in the media and for teaching as a member of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Dr. Snow is widely published with over 100 online and print media articles, 15 book chapters and six books. She is the recent author of Persuader-in-Chief: Global Opinion and Public Diplomacy in the Age of Obama (2009) and lead editor of the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (2008). In addition, Dr. Snow was co-editor of War, Media and Propaganda: A Global Perspective (2004) with Yahya Kamalipour and author of Information War and Propaganda, Inc., both of which have been translated into several languages, including Farsi, Portuguese, and Japanese. In 2006 Dr. Snow published The Arrogance of American Power, a personal and professional analysis of the growth of anti-Americanism since her days as a Fulbright scholar in Germany. The book was written in memory of her father, Victor Snow, who had served as a naval ensign aboard the USS Missouri, and in tribute to Senator J. William Fulbright’s classic, The Arrogance of Power. Dr. Snow is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, the leading online blogging site in the United States.

Her professional experience includes serving as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) during the Clinton Administration. She was a cultural affairs and educational exchange specialist at the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and liaison on refugee and migration relations at the U.S. State Department. She also headed Common Cause in New Hampshire and was Associate Director of the UCLA Center on Communications and Community.

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Download a PDF version of Dr. Snow’s full Curriculum Vitae.



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