Sima Shakhsari

Sima Shakhsari is an associate professor in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexualities Studies. They are interested in transnational feminist theory, transnational sexuality studies, non-Eurocentric queer and transgender studies, Middle East studies, empire, militarism, neoliberal governmentality, biopolitics, digital media, refugees, diasporas, and political anthropology. They earned their PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University and have held postdoctoral positions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wolf Humanities Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Houston. Shakhsari was an assistant professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Wellesley College before joining GWSS at UMN in 2016, and has a long history of activism at queer and women’s organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their book, titled Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan (Duke University Press, 2020), provides an analysis of Weblogistan as a site of cybergovernmentality where simultaneously national and neoliberal gendered subjectivities are produced through online and offline heteronormative disciplining and normalizing techniques, and where loaned life is subjected to a pending death in the name of rights. Shakhsari is currently working on their second book manuscript, tentatively titled “Moving Queers & Queer Moves: Deterritorialization and Loaned Life.” The project combines ethnographic research among Iranian queer and transgender refugees and refugee rights organizations with the analyses of queer diasporic literature, films, theater, and activist organizations to extend the concept of loaned life and explore the way that Iranian transgender refugees are nationalized/denationalized, sexed, gendered, and raced in multiple re-territorializations as they shuttle between rightfulness and rightlessness, and as they transition from the naturalized domains of sexuality and citizenship to zones of indeterminacy. Shakhsari is the anthropology, sociology, and gender studies book review editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, an editorial collective member of AGITATE!, an editorial team member of MERIP. and a co-convener of the Imagining Transnational Solidarities Research Circle.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Cultural and social Anthropology, Stanford University.
  • MA: Anthropology, Stanford University.
  • M.A.: Women's Studies, San Francisco State University.
  • B.S.: Physiology, San Francisco State University.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Transnational Feminist Theory and Practice, Transnational Queer Theory and Sexuality Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Social Media, Diasporas, Refugee Studies, Political Anthropology, Cultural and Social Anthropology, Studies of Governmentality, Neoliberalism, Civil Society
Courses Taught
  • GWSS 8490: Empire of Insecurity
  • GWSS 8250: Immigration and Sexuality
  • GWSS 4103/5104: Transnational Feminist Theories
  • GWSS 1002: Politics of Sex
  • GWSS 1007: Introduction to GLBT Studies
  • GWSS 3404: Sexualities in the Muslim and Arab Worlds
  • GWSS 4490- Revolutions
  • GWSS 4403/5503--Queering Theory
  • GWSS 8490- Queer Geopolitics
  • GWSS 1914--Queer and Feminist White Savior Complex
  • Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan. Shakhsari, Sima, Duke University Press, Author, 2020. Link Image
  • “The Queer Time of Death: Temporality, Geopolitics, and Refugee Rights” : Shakhsari, Sima, Sexualities, 17.8 998-1015, 2014.
  • “Killing Me Softly with Your Rights: Queer Death and the Politics of Rightful Killing” : Shakhsari, Sima, Routledge, Queer Necropolitics, 93-110, 2014.
  • “Transnational Governmentality and the Politics of Life and Death” : Shakhsari, Sima, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 45.2 , 2013.
  • "Shuttling Between Bodies and Borders: Transmigration and the Politics of Rightful Killing": Shakhsari, Sima, Routledge, Transgender Studies Reader II, 2013.
  • “From Homoerotics of Exile to Homopolitics of Diaspora: Cyberspace, the War on Terror, and the Hypervisible Iranian Queer” . Shakhsari, Sima, Author, 2012.
  • “Weblogistan Goes to War: Representational Practices, Gendered Soldiers and Neoliberal Entrepreneurship in Diaspora” . Shakhsari, Sima, Author, 2011.
  • “Displacing Queer Refugee Epistemologies: Dreams of Trespass, Queer Kinship, and Politics of Miseration" : Shakhsari, Sima, Arab Studies Journal, 28.2 108-133.
  • “The Parahumanity of the YouTube Shooter: Nasim Aghdam and the Paradox of Freedom” : Shakhsari, Sima, edited by L. Ayu Saraswati, Barbara Shaw, and Heather Rellihan, Oxford UP, Second Edition of Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Approaches, 2020. Link Image
  • “Economic Refugees, Sanctions, and the Hermeneutics of Miseration: The violence of humanitarian LGBTI torture claims” : Shakhsari, Sima, Edited by Lila Abu-Lughod and Rema Hammami, Governing the Intimate: Islam and the Global Framing of Gender Violence, Forthcoming.
  • “Toward a New Queer Anthropology of State": Shakhsari, Sima, edited by Margot Weiss, Queer Anthropology: Foundations, Interventions, Contestations, Forthcoming.
  • “Un-masked Viral Freedom: Contagion, Death, Sanctions, and the Value of Life During the Corona Pandemic": Shakhsari, Sima, Edited by Asli Zengin, Death and Afterlives in the Middle East, Forthcoming.
  • “Trespassing Queer Kinship with Mernissi’s Dream": Shakhsari, Sima, Edited by Paola Bacchetta and Minoo Moallem, Mernissi for Our Times, Forthcoming.
  • Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral fellowship, Wolfe Humanities Center, University of Pennsylvania, 2015 - 2016
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship. GWS Department, University of Houston, 2010 - 2012