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Kevan Harris

  • Near Eastern Studies
Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Near Eastern Studies and Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.
Office: 2-S-11 Green Hall
Phone: 609-258-2505

Kevan Harris earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at the Johns Hopkins University in 2012.  He was awarded the Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship in 2009–10 to conduct fieldwork in Iran, and was a US Institute of Peace Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar in 2011–12.  His dissertation, "The Martyrs Welfare State: Politics of Social Policy in the Islamic Republic of Iran," analyzes the post-revolutionary trajectories of Iranian state and society through the lens of welfare policy.  The study utilizes archival research, interviews with government officials, fieldwork in three provinces, and ethnographic observation to argue that the Islamic Republic's state-building project intertwined with and depended upon a welfare-building project.  By transforming the country's social structure, Iran's welfare system provided durable institutions upon which the political elite aspired to craft a developmental state.  Yet these structural changes, Harris argues, also generated new social and political challenges to the post-revolutionary order which continue to the present.
At Princeton, Harris will convert his thesis study into a monograph.  In addition, he is working on two major articles for publication: a critique of the theory of the "rentier state" as used in Middle Eastern studies, and an analysis of welfare policy as class politics in Middle Eastern states over the past six decades. 
Areas of interest:
·          Comparative-historical sociology with a focus on the modern Middle East
·          Labor and social movements
·          Sociology of the welfare state in the global South
·          Sociology of intellectuals in the Middle East
Selected publications:
“Recognize the Structural Crisis of the World-System: Immanuel Wallerstein in Conversation with Kevan Harris.” Pp. 169-85 in 22 Ideas to Fix the World: Conversations with the World’s Foremost Thinkers, edited by Piotr Dutkiewicz and Richard Sakwa. New York: NYU Press, 2013.
"The Rise of the Subcontractor State: Politics of Pseudo-privatization in the Islamic Republic of Iran," International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2013): 45-70. (Abstract)
“The Brokered Exuberance of the Middle Class: An Ethnographic Analysis of Iran’s 2009 Green Movement.” Mobilization: An International Journal, Vol. 17, No. 4 (2012): 435-55.
“A Martyrs’ Welfare State and Its Contradictions: Regime Resilience and Limits through the Lens of Social Policy in Iran.” Pp. 61-80 in Middle East Authoritarianisms: Governance, Contestation, and Regime Resilience in Syria and Iran, edited by Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.
“A Fistful of Tomans.” London Review of Books, Vol. 35, No. 2 (2013): 28-29.