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Media, faith and security

Protecting Freedom of Expression in Religious Context

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Roxane Farmanfarmaian


Dr Roxane Farmanfarmaian is the PI of the ESRC grant she received in 2014, titled "Media, Faith and Security project"  and is an affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Cambridge. She obtained her BSc from Princeton University in Near East Studies, and her MPhil and DPhil from the Centre of International Studies (now part of POLIS) at the University of Cambridge. In 2013, she was awarded a £150K 1-year research grant from Al-Jazeera Media Corp. to investigate the role of a liberated media in developing political narrative in transitional Tunisia. She teaches international politics and energy security on both the MPhil and MStudies programmes in the area of the modern Middle East and North Africa. She is a founding member of the POLIS- affiliated Centre for the International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa (CIRMENA), From 2002-2005 she was editor of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (CRIA).

Roxane Farmanfarmaian’s research focuses on the inter-relationship between local Middle East interests and global (Western) power, using a range of theoretical and multi-disciplinary approaches. Drawing from her years as a professional journalist, she is particularly interested in the use of language and communication as they relate to narrative, political identity, security, and conflict. She has published extensively in academic journals such as the Cambridge Review of International Studies, the Journal of North African Studies and the Journal of Qajar Studies. She is the author of Blood and Oil: A Prince's Memoir of Iran, from the Shah to the Ayatollah (Random House 2005) and editor of War and Peace in Qajar Persia: Implications Past and Present (Routledge 2008).

Roxane Farmanfarmaian is Lead Researcher and Recipient of the ESRC Impact Grant on ‘Media, faith and security: Protecting freedom of expression in religious context’, awarded to the Department of Political and International Studies (POLIS) in 2014. As a member of the Department, she teaches on the Masters of International Studies programmes, focusing on the International Relations of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, media and energy security. She is the Principal Investigator and Director of the University of Cambridge-Al-Jazeera Media Project, which is researching ‘Media in Political Transition’ in Tunisia, Turkey and Morocco. She likewise served as the Inaugural Visiting Fellow at the Al-Jazeera Centre of Studies in Doha in 2012. Dr. Farmanfarmaian is a specialist on Iranian geo-strategic and security issues within the wider context of Middle East and North Africa oil affairs, Political Islam and policy relations with the US and EU. She is the author of Blood and Oil: Inside the Shah’s Iran and numerous scholarly articles on regional security and the Arab Spring. Dr. Farmanfarmaian obtained her BA at Princeton University, and her MPhil and PhD from Cambridge University as a Donner Scholar of Atlantic Studies. 

This project is designed to open up debate on a difficult subject: A debate about freedom of expression and freedom of belief and how to balance freedoms with protections, rights with limits?

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