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Mohsen Kadivar, Research Professor

Mohsen Kadivar

Mohsen Kadivar is a research professor of Islamic studies at the department of Religious Studies, Duke University since 2009. He is a leading public intellectual and a theologian trained in Islamic seminaries in Iran, having earned the certificate of Ijtihad (the highest degree of Islamic studies) from the theologian seminary of Qom and received a PhD of Islamic Philosophy and theology from Tarbiate Modarress University in Tehran. His criticism of the Iranian regime led to his imprisonment (1999--2000), the banning of his publications, and finally to his exile from Iran in 2008. His interests span both classical and modern Islamic thought with a special focus on Islamic philosophy, theology, law, ethics, Qur'anic studies, Shi'i political thought, Islam and modernity (specially democracy and human rights), religion and science, religion and politics, comparative medieval philosophy and comparative religious studies. Author of dozens of books in Persian and Arabic, his forthcoming books in 2021 are /Human Rights and Reformist Islam/ and /Blasphemy and Apostasy in Islam: Debates in Shi’a Jurisprudence/ (both Edinburgh U. Press), and /Islamic Theocracy in the Secular Age: Revisiting Shiʿite Political Thought of Islamic Republic of Iran/ (UNC Press). You can find more information about Kaivar’s recent works on his website:


Contact Info: 
Office Location:  Room 216 Gray Building, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-3521
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2022):

  • RELIGION 160.01, ISLAM Synopsis
    Gray 319, MW 05:15 PM-06:30 PM
    (also cross-listed as AMES 160.01, ICS 160.01)
    Class Bldg 103, TuTh 03:30 PM-04:45 PM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 402.01, ETHICS 402.01)
Office Hours:

By appointment

Ph.D.Tarbiat Modares University (Iran)1999
M.A.University of Qom (Iran)1993
B.A.University of Qom (Iran)1989

Research Interests: Modern Qur’anic Studies, Classical Islamic Philosophy, Islamic Legal & Ethical Theories, Islamic Political Thought, Human Rights and Democracy in Islam, Classical and Modern Shi’a Theology


Ethics • History • Islam • Law • Philosophy • Political science • Religion

Curriculum Vitae
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Kadivar, M, Governance by Guardianship: Rule and Government in the Islamic Republic of Iran, edited by Sadri, M (2022), Cambridge University Press (translated by Mottahedeh, R; Moussavi, AK; Madaninejad, B.)
  2. Kadivar, M, Blasphemy and Apostasy in Islam: Debates in Shi'a Jurisprudence (February, 2021), Edinburgh University Press (UK), ISBN 9781474457576 (translated by Mavani, H.)
  3. Kadivar, M, Human Rights and Reformist Islam (February, 2021), pp. 480 pages, Edinburgh University Press (UK), ISBN 9781474449304 (translated by Akhavan, N.)
  4. Kadviar, M, Toward Removing the Punishment of Apostasy in Islam, in Freedom of Expression in Islam: Challenging Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws, edited by Masud, MK; Vogt, K; Larsen, L; Moe, C (February, 2021), pp. 207-236, London: I.B. Tauris
  5. Kadviar, M, Genealogies of Pluralism in Islamic Thought: Shi'a Perspective, in Pluralism in Islamic Contexts: Ethics, Politics and Modern Challenges, edited by Hashas, M, vol. 16 (February, 2021), pp. 75-97, Basel: Springer [doi]  [abs]

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