Born and educated in Germany, Professor Paul Luft read Iranian History, Iranian Studies and Islamic Studies at Berlin and Göttingen Universities before undertaking a three year Visiting Fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He went on to teach Middle Eastern Studies and Persian History and Literature at the University of Manchester and also taught at the Oriental School, Durham University. Following his retirement in 1999 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University, where he founded the Centre for Iranian Studies with Professor Ali M. Ansari.

He is a Member of various academic societies in Europe, among them the European Society for Iranian Studies, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) and the British Institute of Persian Studies, which elected him an Honorary Vice-President in 2006. Since 1993 he has been a Member of the editorial board of the journals of BRISMES, IRAN and several academic journals in Iran. His main academic interests are periods of transformation in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of Iran, including the political and cultural changes of the move from a tribalised to a court society in the first half of the nineteenth-century and the further administrative reorganisation of the state in the early period of Reza Shah (1925 – 1941).

Other academic activities

    1977-80  Editor of the 'Bulletin' for the German Historical Institute; London

    1983       Guest Professor, Tübingen University

    1988       Guest Professor, Free University; Berlin

    1988       Iranian Fellow, Oxford

    1993 -     Member of the editorial board of Journal of 'BRISMES'

    2006 -     Member of the editorial board of 'Iran'


Books: edited

    Luft, J.P. & Turner, Colin. (2008). 'Shi'ism: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies'. London: Routledge.

Books: sections

    Luft, J.P. (2000). 'Die Islamische Revolution 1979'. In Grosse Revolution der Geschicte. Wende, Peter. Meunchen: 333-356.

    Luft, J.P. (1994). 'Gottesstaat und hoefische Gesellschaft'. In Asien in der Neuzeit, 1500-1950. Dabringhaus, Sabine, Freitag, Ulrike & Air, Paul Frankfurt:

    Luft, J.P. (1986). 'The Persian Railway Syndicate and British Railway Policy in Iran'. In The Gulf in the Early 20th Century. Lawless, R.I.

Journal papers: academic

    Luft, J.P. (1975). 'Strategische Interessen und Anleihenpolitik Russlands in Iran im 19.Jh'. Geschichte und Gesellschaft 1: 506-538.