Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Dr Andrew J Newman

Dr Newman holds a BA in History, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA, and an MA and PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

Dr Andrew Newman

Reader in Islamic Studies and Persian

  • Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • University of Edinburgh

Room 2/2
19 George Square

Post Code

He joined IMES in 1996, having been a Research Fellow at both the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford and Green College, Oxford, whilst researching topics in the history of Islamic medicine.

Research interests

  • the history of Twelver Shi'ism
  • the history of Islamic law
  • hadith studies
  • the evolution of the legal bases of Islamic medical theory and practice
  • the history of Iran
  • classical, medieval and modern Middle Eastern history and culture
  • Persian language and literature
  • modern Arabic literature
  • pre-modern subalterns

Current research activities

Dr Newman has just published a volume on the history and development of Twelver Shi‘ism to the end of the Safawid period (901-1135/1501-1722).

Future projects include a volume on prominent figures of the Safawid period, a volume on the Safawids as empire, and further research into early Twelver Shi‘i history, doctrine and practice.


Undergraduate teaching

  • Shī`ī Islam
  • The History of Islamicate Medicine
  • Modern Persian Literature
  • History of Modern Iran

Postgraduate teaching

  • Core Course: MSc In Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Research Methods and Problems


A full listing of Andrew's publications can be found on the Edinburgh Research Explorer:


In Janaury, 2012, Dr Newman, Professor Robert Gleave (Exeter) and Dr Emma Loosley (Manchester) discussed the Safavids on the BBC Radio 4 programme 'In Our Time', hosted by Melvyn Bragg. The podcast is available to listen to on the BBC website:

In Our Time: The Safavid Dynasty


Dr Newman is the founder and moderator of 'Shii News', an e-mail list started in 2009 that now serves more than 630 academics and non-academics across the world who are interested in all forms of Shi‘ism and Shi‘i expression and their study both past and present.  An associated website, 'The Shi‘i Studies Network', has recently gone live at: .


He is also directing 'Recovering "Lost Voices": The Role and Depiction of Iranian/Persianate Subalterns from the 13th century to the Modern Period', funded by the British Institute of Persian Studies, for further information on which see The first workshop of the project - on pre-Safavid subalterns – took place on 7-8 November, 2015 in Edinburgh, UK. The presentations from the workshop are now uploaded on YouTube and can be viewed at: There is also a write-up of the workshop in the IMES Alumni Newsletter no.6, pp 16-17.


In Autumn 2015, Dr Newman also organised four seminar for a series entitled 'Shii-Sunni Conflict in Islam: Past, Present and Future'. These are discussed in the IMES Alumni Newsletter no.6, p. 18.


An interview (in Persian) with Dr Newman on his research interests and ‘Shi`i News’ in Issue 94-95 (1392/2013) of News of the Shi`a can be found here:

News of the Shi'a (200.75 KB)

Dr Newman is Section Editor for History of Iran, for the third series of Encyclopedia of Islam:

Encyclopedia of Islam Three

Encyclopedia of Islam Three Online


He is also 'Chercheur Associé' (Associate Scholar) of the CNRS (UMR 7528 Mondes Iranien et Indien) (Paris).

UMR 7528 Mondes Iranien et Indien


Dr Newman is a Member of the Founding Editorial Board of the 'Islamic Studies' section of Oxford Bibliographies Online.

Oxford Bibliographies Online


In August 1998 Dr Newman organised 'The Third International Round Table on Safavid Persia'. Over three days forty-one speakers drawn from a variety of sub-disciplines within the field of Safavid studies delivered papers. Selected papers from the Round Table have been published as Society and Culture in the Early Modern Middle East, Studies on Iran in the Safavid Period (Leiden: Brill, 2003), as listed herein.