William O Beeman

Professor Beeman's scholarly interests and research include sociolinguistics and the semantics of interaction; cross-cultural comparison of theatrical and performance genres; opera; paralinguistic and nonlinguistic semiotics; action anthropology; philosophic anthropology; peasant and nomadic societies. His research in recent years has explored neuroscience and cognition in conjunction with music and theatrical performance.

He is an internationally known expert on the Middle East and the Islamic World, particularly Iran, the Gulf Region and Central Asia. He has also conducted research in Japan, India, Nepal, China and Europe. From 1996-1999 he sang professionally in Europe as an operatic bass. He continues his musical career.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1976.

Curriculum Vitae


  • peasant and nomadic societies
  • philosophic anthropology
  • action anthropology
  • paralinguistic and nonlinguistic semiotics
  • sociolinguistics and the semantics of interaction
  • cross-cultural comparison of theatrical and performance genres
  • opera
  • Middle East
  • Islamic world
  • Iran
  • South Asia
  • Japan
  • business anthropology
Courses Taught
  • Biology, Evolution and Cultural Development of Language
  • Middle East Anthropology
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Performance Theory
  • Sociolinguistics and Discourse Analysis
  • Japanese Culture and Scoety
  • Business Anthropology
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Chair: Department of Anthropology , January 2007
  • President, Middle East Section, American Anthropological Association: 2005 - 2008


  • Culture and Performance in Central Asia: Field work, 2007 - 2009
  • Iranian Performance Traditions. Beeman, William, Mazda Publications, Author, 2011. LinkImage
  • The “Great Satan“ vs. the “Mad Mullahs“: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. Beeman, William, University of Chicago Press, Author, 2008. LinkImage
  • Language, Status and Power in Iran. Beeman, William, Indiana University Press, Author, 1986. LinkImage
  • U.S.-Iran Relations: Mutually Assured Estrangement: Beeman, William, Thomas Juneau and Sam Razavi, Routledge, Iran Foreign Policy since 2001: Alone in the World, 196-207, 2013. LinkDownload
  • “The U.S.-Shi’ite Relationship in a New Iraq: Better than the British?“: Beeman, William, Strategic Insights, 3/5 1-8, 2004. Download
  • The Performance Hypothesis: Practicing Emotions in Protected Frames.: Beeman, William, Helena Wulff, editor, Berg Publishers, The Emotions, 273-298, 2007. LinkDownload
  • Making Grown Men Weep: Beeman, William, Angela Hobart and Bruce Kapferer, eds., Berghahn Books, Aesthetics in performance : formations of symbolic construction and experience, 23-42, 2005. LinkDownload
  • Silence in Music: Beeman, William, Maria-Luisa Achino-Loeb, ed., Berghahn Books, Silence: The Currency of Power, 23-34, 2005. LinkDownload
  • Classical Persian Music, Islam and Ta'ziyeh: Beeman, William, Soussie Restegar and Anna Vanzan, eds., AIEP Editore, Muraqqa'e Sharqi: Studies in Honor of Peter Chelkowski, 43-56, 2007. Link
  • “Elections and Governmental Structures in Iran: Reform Lurks under the Flaws.“: Beeman, William, Brown Journal of World Affairs, XI: 1 [Summer/Fall] 55-68. Download
  • Los tropos de la musica=The tropes of music: Beeman, William, Revista de antropologí­a social., 15 265-71, 2006. Download
  • The Elusive Butterfly : Beeman, William, Iconicity in Language (peer-reviewed online journal), September , 2001. LinkDownload
  • Anthropology and Linguistics: Beeman, William, Ruth Kempson, Tim Fernando and Nicholas Asher (Editors), Elsevier, Philosophy of Linguistics, 531-551, 2012. Download
  • War and Peace and Margaret Mead: Anthropology's 20th-Century Contributions to the Reduction of International Violence. William O. Beeman. In Kehoe, Alice B and Paul Doughty, eds., Expanding American Anthropology 1945-1980: A Generation Reflects. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. 2012, pp. 199-204.
  • Iran: Beeman, William, Ember, Melvin and Carol R. Ember, eds. , Countries and Their Cultures. New York: Macmillan Reference USA., Countries and their Cultures, 1057-1076, 2001. Link
  • U.S.-Iran Relations: Mutually Assured Estrangement. Beeman, William, Thomas Juneau and Sam Razavi, Routledge, Author, 2013. Download
  • Negotiating a Passage to the Meal in Four Cultures: Beeman, William, Polly Szatrowski, Editor, John Benjamins, Language and Food , 31-52, 2014. Download
  • Emotion and Instantaneous Choice in Interactional Linguistic Pragmatics : Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Beeman, William, Journal of Pragmatics, 69 52-62, 2014. Download
  • Dimensions of Dysphoria: The View from Linguistic Anthropology: Beeman, William, Arthur Kleinman and Byron Good, Editors , Berkeley: University of California Press, Culture and Depression: Studies in the Anthropology and Cross-cultural Psychiatry of Affect and Disorder, 216-243, 1985. Download
  • The Neurobiology of Opera: Beeman, William, Culture Teatrali (Special Issue—Teatro e Neuroscienze--Theatre and Neuroscience), 16 (Spring) 129-148, 2007. Download
  • Iran and Kurdistan: A Studied Ambiguity: Beeman, William, Mohammed M.A. Ahmed; Michael M. Gunter, Mazda Publi9shers, The Evolution of Kurdish Nationalism, 276-286, 2007. LinkDownload
  • Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities: Beeman, William, Östman, Jan-Ola and Jef Verschueren, Eds., John Benjamins , Handbook of Pragmatics , 21 81-110, 2018. LinkDownload
  • Computers and Human Consciousness: Beeman, William, Schauer, Helmut ; Schmutzer, Manfred, R. Oldenburg, Computer und Kultur, 9-20, 1987. Download
  • The Future of Campus Computerization: Humanists and Social Scientists May Hold the Key: Beeman, William, Connection: New England's Journal of Higher Education, 34-37, 55, 1986. Download