Nacim Pak Shiraz

Professor of Cinema and Iran


Professor Nacim Pak-Shiraz is Personal Chair of Cinema and Iran at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.  After a B.A. in Tehran, she completed a graduate programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, followed by an M.A. in the Anthropology of Media, and a PhD in Film and Media at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Her research focuses on cinema and visual culture in the Middle East, particularly Iran. She is a a governor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) as well as at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, She is also a National Committee member of the Aga Khan Foundation (UK), and board member of the Academic Council of the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Professor Pak-Shiraz has also curated a number of film festivals in Edinburgh, and has been as a jury member and speaker at several international film festivals in the Czech Republic, Turkey and Iran.



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Responsibilities & affiliations

Film Studies, University of Edinburgh

Undergraduate teaching

  • Cinema and Society in the Middle East
  • Classical Persian Literature
  • Modern Persian Literature
  • Islam Through the Art

Postgraduate teaching

  • Research Methods and Practice
  • History and Culture of Iran
  • Ruling Iran

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

PhD Supervision - Principle Advisor:    

  1. Bahar Fayeghi, IMES PhD.
  2. Erin Robbins, IMES PhD.

Past PhD students supervised

 Principle Advisor:

  1. Lovisa Berg,  'Creating a Man, a Mouse or a Monster?: Masculinity as Formulated by Syrian Female Novelists through the Second Half of the 20th Century', IMES PhD.  Completed 2017
  2. Alessandro Coloumbu, 'Modernity and Gender Representation in the Short Stories of Zakariyyā Tāmir: Collapse of the Totalising Discourse of Modernity and the Evolution of Gender roles', IMES PhD.  Completed 2017
  3. Zeynep Merve Uygun, 'Unveiling through Documentary: The Making and Imagining of Space Among Veiled Women in Contemporary Turkey',   Transdisciplinary Documentary Film PhD. Completed 2019
  4. Farshid Kazemi, '(Un)veiling Desire and Sexuality in Iranian Cinema, IMES PhD. Completed 2019
  5. Ameerah Saleh Alshehri, 'The Marvellous Real in the Middle East: A Comparative Study of Magical Realism in Contemporary Women’s Fiction', IMES PhD. Completed 2021.
  6. Eleanor Lucy Deacon, ' Retelling Karbala: A Literary Analysis of Key Plays of the IranianTaʿziyeh Repertoire', IMES PhD. Completed 2022.
  7. Farah Taleb, Reshaping Narratives: Women Artists from the Middle East and North Africa in Western Museums, IMES PhD.  Completed 2024

Second Supervision:

  1. Michael Munnik, 'Points of Contact: A Qualitative Fieldwork Study of the Relationship between Journalists and Muslim Sources in Glasgow', IMES PhD. Completed 2015.
  2. Peter Cherry, 'British Muslim Masculinities in Transcultural Fiction and Film (1985 – 2012)', Comparative Literature PhD.  Completed 2017.

Research summary

Professor Pak-Shiraz's research interests are in the arts and cultures of the Middle East and Muslim societies, particularly the visual arts.

She is  interested in film’s engagement with religion and spirituality, representations and constructions of gender in visual culture, the Iranian performing arts and religion, contemporary expressions of Islam in art and material culture, and Persian literature.

Current research interests

Visual Culture Middle Eastern Cinema Film, religion and spirituality Iranian performing arts and religion Politics and cinema Gender and commercial cinema Representations of gender in film Masculinity in Iranian cinema Religious epics Persian literature

Research activities

View all 55 activities on Research Explorer

Project activity

She is currently working on a number of research projects, chiefly the constructions of masculinities in Iranian cinema from its early pre-Revolutionary era down to the present day. She is also undertaking research on religious epics, with a particular focus on Qur’anic films.

View all 17 publications on Research Explorer