Daniel Sheffield

Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies
On leave 2024-25
Office Phone
301 Jones Hall

On leave 2024-25

Daniel J. Sheffield is Assistant Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where he specializes in the religious, intellectual, and social history of the medieval and early modern Persian-speaking world. He holds a Ph.D. in Iranian and Persian Studies conferred by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University in 2012. Before joining the Department of Near Eastern Studies, Daniel was a member of the Department of History at the University of Washington. From 2012–2015, he was a Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Princeton University Society of Fellows. Daniel is a specialist in exchanges between Safavid Iran and Mughal India, and in particular, the history of Zoroastrian communities during this period. More broadly, he is interested in the transmission and transformation of ideas from Late Antiquity into Early Modernity. His current research project examines the role that ideas about language and translation play in the development of religious and historical thought. Daniel has recently completed a book manuscript entitled Cosmopolitan Zarathustras: Religion, Translation, and Prophethood in Iran and South Asia, a book which tells the story of the Zoroastrian communities of Iran and South Asia by tracing how the embrace of a cosmopolitan theological vocabulary and the reception of the canon of Classical Persian literature affects these communities, promoting the production of new forms of meaning-making and literary production under the specter of scholastic traditions inherited from Late Antiquity. His recent publications appear in the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism (ed. Stausberg and Vevaina), No Tapping around Philology: A Festschrift for Wheeler M. Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday (ed. Korangy and Sheffield), and On the Wonders of Land and Sea: Persianate Travel Writing (ed. Micallef and Sharma).  He is currently pursuing research on a second book project, tentatively entitled On Translation and Toleration: The Free-Thinkers of Safavid Iran and Mughal India. At Princeton, Daniel will be teaching undergraduate lectures on the history of Iran from the Sasanians to the Safavids, thematic seminars on themes such as translation and scripture, as well as graduate courses on Persian historiography. He is organizing a Classical Persian reading group for interested students and teaches ancient Iranian languages to anyone who asks. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys cooking, playing the accordion, and chasing his two-year-old.