Samin Rashidbeigi

8th-year Ph.D. student
Jones Hall

I am a social and cultural historian of the Modern Middle East, specializing in medical and technological modernization during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am interested in histories of the human body and its relationship with the idea of self and the external world, including other humans and non-humans. I strive to understand how individuals made sense of themselves as persons in singular bodies during the modern period.

The big question that I am currently dealing with is that how a people enthusiastically adopt a specific way of utilizing their bodies, despite lacking initial interest in that very form of bodily engagement. My case study for this question is the history of blood transfusion and donorship in Iran. My research examines the transition from the commodification of blood in a blood market sustained by the urban poor, which emerged in the absence of altruistic donations, to the construction of willing participants in blood donation. I trace the anxieties created by the practice of blood transfusion among different actors, institutions, and spaces. I explore how after WWII the technology of transfusion by utilizing the long-lived religious and political discourses of blood and by appropriating the notions of kinship and intimacy transformed the relationship between the state and nation. Before arriving at Princeton University, during my studies at the Central European University and then at the University of Oxford, I researched the history of Tehran’s red-light district before the 1979 Revolution.

At Princeton, I have been a teaching assistant for the courses “The Modern Middle East” and “Critical Perspectives in Global Health.” I also have collaborated with the Prison Teaching Initiative, and developed and taught a course on Women and Gender Studies. For the last three years, I have been affiliated with Princeton’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. I have trained first-time teaching assistants and observed their classes to provide them with feedback. I also facilitated graduate writing groups. Right now, in my capacity as a trained Graduate Peer Coach, I offer individual and confidential consultations with graduate students.


2015–2016 Hertford College, University of Oxford

M.St. in Oriental Studies

2013–2015 Central European University and University of Vienna

M.A. in Women's and Gender History (MATILDA Program)

2007–2011 University of Tehran

B.A. in Persian Literature and Language