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How do new institutions emerge after revolutions? This is the central question in my research on revolutions and state building. ​To find the answer, I turn to personal narratives of state builders and the volunteers who carried out their decisions. I look for deliberate and non-deliberate patterns of understanding and action, i.e.  practices, that give rise to informal institutions. In my current research project I rely on novel data gathered in Iran in 2016-17: in-depth interviews with various ranks of state and military builders in Iran, archival documents related to early post-revolutionary days and the early years of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), and hundreds of published and archived personal narratives of activists, incumbent or oppositional state and military officials, foot soldiers, and volunteer members of revolutionary militias. My book manuscript tells the story of the most prominent of such militias, i.e. the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps: a grassroots revolutionary militia that has since grown into a controversial regional power in contemporary Middle East.


Alemzadeh, Maryam. 2024. “Revolutionary Politics of the Normal.” International Journal of Middle East Studies, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp. 724 – 728.


Alemzadeh, Maryam. 2023. “Iran Protests and Patterns of State Repression.” Iranian Studies, Volume 56, Issue 3 , July 2023 , pp. 557 - 561.

Alemzadeh, Maryam. 2023 (ahead of print 2021). “The Attraction of Direct Action: The Making of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Iranian Kurdish Conflict.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 50:3, 589-608.

Alemzadeh, Maryam. 2021. “Revolutionaries for Life: The IRGC and the Global Guerrilla Movement.” in Arang Keshavarzian and Ali Mirsepassi (eds.), Global 1979: Geographies and Histories of the Iranian Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Alemzadeh, Maryam. 2019. “An Unconventional Military’s Survival: The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Iran-Iraq War.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 46:4, 622-639.

Honorable Mention, the American Sociological Association’s Section on Peace, War and Social Conflict, Elise Boulding Student Paper Award (2018).


Azadarmaki, Taghi and Maryam Alemzadeh. 2010. “Immaterialism and Minimal Religiousness in Iran.” OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2 (1): 17-26.

Alemzadeh, Maryam, and Samina Rastegari. 2015. “Dindari-ye javanan, ide’al-ha va vaqe’iyyat-ha [Youth Religiosity, Ideals and Realities].” Motale’at-e jame’ehshenakhti [Sociological Studies], 1393, 21 (2): 159-188.


Alemzadeh, Maryam. 2010. “Olgu-ye ide’al-e dindari dar gofteman-e sonnatgrayi-e mo’aser [Ideal Pattern of Religiosity in Contemporary Traditionalism].” Nameh-ye farhang va ertebatat [Journal of Culture and Communication], 1389 (2): 55-82. 




Alemzadeh, Maryam Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: A History (under contract with Princeton University Press).


Alemzadeh, Maryam. “Boundaries of Expertise: Revolutionary Guards' Selective Professionalism in the Iran-Iraq War” (Article in Progress).

Alemzadeh, Maryam. “Routines of a Revolution: State Building and Everyday Practice in 1979 Iran” (Article in Progress).

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