Sima Shakhsari is an associate professor in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. They earned their PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University and have an MA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University. Before joining the University of Minnesota, Shakhsari 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, taught as an assistant professor at Wellesley College, and worked as the Director of Adult Education Program at San Francisco Women Against Rape for several years. Their interdisciplinary research intersects with transnational feminist theory, transnational sexuality studies, queer and transgender studies, Middle East studies, critical refugee studies, and political anthropology. Their areas of specialization include refugees, diasporas, empire, militarism, neoliberal governmentality, biopolitics, necropolitics, civil society, and digital media. Shakhsari's book, titled Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan (Duke University Press, 2020) received the Fatema Mernissi Book Award Honorable Mention from the Middle East Studies Association.Their second book manuscript, tentatively titled “Moving Queers & Queer Moves: Deterritorialization and Loaned Life," combines ethnographic research among Iranian queer and transgender refugees and refugee rights organizations with the analysis of queer diasporic literature and films to explore the way that Iranian transgender refugees shuttle between rightfulness and rightlessness as they transition from the naturalized domains of sexuality and citizenship to zones of indeterminacy. 

Educational Background & Specialties
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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


  • Transnational Feminist Theory and Practice
  • Transnational Queer Theory and Sexuality Studies
  • Diasporas
  • Necropolitics
  • Neoliberalism
  • Governmentality
  • Social Media
  • Refugee Studies
  • Middle East Studies
  • Political Anthropology
  • Cultural and Social Anthropology