Nacim Pak


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Personal profile


Professor Nacim Pak-Shiraz is Personal Chair of Cinema and Iran at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh. After a B.A. in Tehran, she completed a graduate programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, followed by an M.A. in the Anthropology of Media, and a PhD in Film and Media at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Professor Pak-Shiraz's research focuses on cinema and visual culture in the Middle East, particularly Iran. She has also curated a number of film festivals in Edinburgh, and has been as a jury member and speaker at several international film festivals in the Czech Republic, Turkey and Iran.

Professor Pak-Shiraz is a governor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), a governor at the Institute of Ismaili Studies,  a National Committee member of the Aga Khan Foundation (UK), and board member of the Academic Council of the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Research Interests

Professor Pak-Shiraz is interested in arts and cultures of the Middle East and Muslim societies, particularly visual arts.

She is particularly interested in film’s engagement with religion and spirituality, representations of gender in visual culture, constructions of masculintiy,  censorship and film’s negotiation of red lines, the Iranian performing arts and religion, contemporary expressions of Islam in art and material culture, and Persian literature.

Current research activities

Dr Pak-Shiraz is currently working on religious epics, masculinity, and comedy in Iranian Cinema.

Summary of research interests

Visual Culture

Middle Eastern Cinema

Film, religion and spirituality

Iranian performing arts and religion

Politics and cinema

Gender and visual culture 

Masculinity in Iranian cinema

Religious epics

M.E. literature

Research students

PhD Supervision - Principle Advisor:      

  1. Erden Goktepe, 'Transformation of marginalised masculinity into protest masculinity in Turkish Cinema', Film Studies PhD.
  2. Eleanor Lucy DeaconIMES PhD.
  3. Ameerah Alshehri, IMES PhD.
  4. Farah Taleb, IMES PhD.
  5. Bahar Faeghi, IMES PhD.
  6. Erin Robbins, IMES PhD.

Past PhD students supervised

 Principle Advisor:

  1. Lovisa Berg,  'Creating a Man, a Mouse or a Monster?: Masculinity as Formulated by Syrian Female Novelists through the Second Half of the 20th Century', IMES PhD.  Completed 2017
  2. Alessandro Coloumbu, 'Modernity and Gender Representation in the Short Stories of Zakariyyā Tāmir: Collapse of the Totalising Discourse of Modernity and the Evolution of Gender roles', IMES PhD.  Completed 2017
  3. Zeynep Merve Uygun, 'Unveiling through Documentary: The Making and Imagining of Space Among Veiled Women in Contemporary Turkey',   Transdisciplinary Documentary Film PhDCompleted 2019
  4. Farshid Kazemi, '(Un)veiling Desire and Sexuality in Iranian Cinema, IMES PhD. Completed 2019

Second Supervision:

  1. Michael Munnik, 'Points of Contact: A Qualitative Fieldwork Study of the Relationship between Journalists and Muslim Sources in Glasgow', IMES PhD. Completed 2015.
  2. Peter Cherry, 'British Muslim Masculinities in Transcultural Fiction and Film (1985 – 2012)', Comparative Literature PhD.  Completed 2017.



Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching

The History and Culture of Iran

Cinema and Society in the Middle East

Islam through the Arts

Modern Persian Literature and Modern Iran

Of Wine, Love and Loss: Reading Iran through Classical Persian Literature

Research Methods and Problems in IMES

Modern Persian Literature

Classical Persian Literature


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Shi'i Islam in Iranian Cinema: Religion and Spirituality in Film, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2009

College Research Themes

  • Cultural Heritage
  • Identities and Inequalities


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