Ida Yalzadeh

Ida Yalzadeh

Global American Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History
Lecturer in Ethnicity, Migration, Rights
Ida Yalzadeh

Ida Yalzadeh is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global American Studies at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. As a transnational historian of the United States, she combines archival and visual analysis to study Iranian diasporic racialization and its aftereffects through the lenses of comparative ethnic studies, critical race theory, and diplomatic history. Her teaching spans the areas of ethnic studies, cultural history and media studies, with a special focus on histories of race in the United States and US-Middle East relations.

Her book manuscript, Solidarities and Solitude: Tracing the Racial Boundaries of the Iranian Diaspora, examines two dynamics that span the Cold War era to the War on Terror to reframe the history of U.S.-Iran relations as the history of Iranian racialization in the United States. First, it shows how U.S.-Iran & U.S.-Middle East relations—including the Iran Hostage Crisis and September 11—informed Iranian racial formation in the United States by increasingly rendering them “non-white.” Second, it explores how different Iranian diasporic communities reacted to and strategized their survival because of these diplomatic fluctuations. Through a reading of English- and Persian-language archives alongside Iranian diasporic cultural production, she shows how Iranians in the United States translated the debates of their homeland’s political future—including its imperial relationship to the United States—into their place in the U.S. racial hierarchy. She argues that it is a combination of U.S. foreign policy and cultural self-representation that have caused different racialized figures to emerge within the diaspora at different historical moments, including the international model minority, the deceitful enemy, the capitalist consumer, the fanatic terrorist, and the multicultural citizen. Her work has been supported by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, with additional recognition by the Ford Foundation.

She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University in 2020. Before coming to Harvard, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Asian American Studies Program at Northwestern University.