Nura Hossainzadeh is a Lecturer in the Structured Liberal Education program and a political theorist by training. Her interest in political theory began when she was an undergraduate at Harvard, where she studied the canon of political theory—which begins in ancient Greece and ends in contemporary Europe and the U.S. After college, Nura moved to Qom, Iran, enrolling in an all-female Islamic seminary, Jami’at Al-Zahra, and taking courses in Islamic political thought and the Iranian revolution. She continued her study of both Western and Islamic political thought at UC Berkeley’s Department of Political Science, where she earned her Ph.D. in political science in 2016, writing her dissertation on a figure who not only wrote political theory but led an Islamic government—Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Nura’s current book project is entitled Islamic Republican: Ruhollah Khomeini’s Political Thought. Khomeini's thought became a primary resource for the writing of Iran’s Islamic constitution and continues to influence politics in contemporary Iran. Nura’s book examines all of Khomeini’s political works in the original Persian: his yet-untranslated book, published in 1943, The Unveiling of Secrets; his more widely read 1970 seminary lectures (later compiled into a book form), Islamic Government; and his post-revolutionary statements, speeches, and correspondence, contained in 11 volumes. The book concludes by investigating how contemporary Islamic thinkers engage Khomeini’s legacy and deploy it to justify or criticize democratic elements in Islamic governance.
While pursuing research on Khomeini, Nura has taught a variety of courses on topics as diverse as American politics and government, feminist thought, canonical and non-Western political theory, Iranian and Middle East politics, and legal theory.