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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Professor Paul Luft, Dipl. Phil. Persian Studies; Dr. Phil. Islamic Studies, Modern History and Turcology

Contact Professor Paul Luft


Born and educated in Germany, Dr Luft received his academic training in Iranian Studies, Medieval and Modern History and Islamic Studies at the Universities of Berlin and Göttingen.  After a three year Visiting Fellowship at St Antony's College Oxford between 1969 and 1972, and having a research/teaching post at Göttingen University, Dr Luft became a Fellow of the German Historical Institute, London.

Following his retirement, Dr Luft became an Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, Durham University, co-founding the Centre for Iranian Studies.

Employment history

  • 1958-61  Secretary of the German-Arab Society; Berlin        
  • 1965-69  Research Fellow; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • 1969-73  Visiting Fellow, St. Antony's College; Oxford
  • 1973-77  Assistant; University of Göttingen
  • 1977-80  Fellow, German Historical Institute; London
  • 1980-81  Temporary lecturer (part-time); University of Manchester
  • 1981-89  Lecturer, Oriental School; University of Durham
  • 1989-99  Lecturer/Senior lecturer; University of Manchester                      

Other academic activities

  • 1977-80  Editor of the 'Bulletin' for the German Historical Institute; London
  • 1983       Guest Professor, Tübingen University
  • 1988       Guest Professor, Free University; Berlin
  • 1988       Iranian Fellow, Oxford
  • 1993 -     Member of the editorial board of Journal of 'BRISMES'
  • 2006 -     Member of the editorial board of 'Iran'


Chapter in book

  • Luft, J.P. (2000). 'Die Islamische Revolution 1979'. In Grosse Revolution der Geschicte. Wende, Peter. Meunchen: 333-356.
  • Luft, J.P. (1994). 'Gottesstaat und hoefische Gesellschaft'. In Asien in der Neuzeit, 1500-1950. Dabringhaus, Sabine, Freitag, Ulrike & Air, Paul Frankfurt:
  • Luft, J.P. (1986). 'The Persian Railway Syndicate and British Railway Policy in Iran'. In The Gulf in the Early 20th Century. Lawless, R.I.

Edited book

  • Luft, J.P. & Turner, Colin. (2008). 'Shi'ism: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies'. London: Routledge.

Journal Article