Shabnam Holliday

Academic profile

Dr Shabnam Holliday

Associate Professor in International Relations
School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Shabnam's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 10: SDG 10 - Reduced InequalitiesGoal 13: SDG 13 - Climate ActionGoal 14: SDG 14 - Life Below WaterGoal 16: SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

About Shabnam

I am Associate Professor in International Relations. My research interests are focused on 3 areas:
The role of ideas in Iran and their relationship with domestic and international politics
I have looked at the ideas of ‘nation’, ‘democracy’, and ‘the people’ in the context of the Islamic Republic of Iran. My publications have looked at how these ideas are constructed and the meanings that are attached to them. Building on this, I am currently working on the idea of ‘world order’.
Approaches towards a more inclusive and non-Eurocentric IR
I come from an Area Studies and Middle East Politics background and found myself in IR because of my interest in Iran’s relationship with the international. This experience has led me to question and interrogate IR’s Eurocentricity and particularly the relationship between the ‘West’ and ‘the rest’.
Political change, revolution, and legitimacy in post-revolutionary situations
I am interested in the dynamics that lead to revolution and how legitimacy is maintained after a major change in a domestic political order. I have used Antonio Gramsci’s work to explore these dynamics.


I currently teach and lead 3 modules:
  • Stage 1, Discovering World Politics. This is a team-taught module that introduces stage 1 students to the concep of power through diffeernt case studies, topics and approaches. This includes the 'Arab Spring'; Natural resources and power in Africa; the relationship between legitimacy, power and authority; plastic and ocean governance; Covid-19 and security; protests globally and power as resitance; and Covid-19 and international politics.
  • Stage 3, The Politics and International Relations of the Middle East. This module examines confict and rivalry in the MIddle East by highlighting the intereconnection between domestic and international politics, and highlighting the importance of historica context.
  • MA, The International Relations of the MIddle East: A critical approach. This module examines international relations in the region by exploring the somestic and international dynamics of popular uprisings in the Middle East, icluding the 'Arab Spring'.
PhD supervisionI am interested in supervising students in the following areas:
  • Iranian foreign policy and politics, including nationalism and the role of political identity
  • Political change and transformation in the MENA region
  • Populism in the Global South
  • World order and the Global South

Contact Shabnam

Room 1, 21 Portland Villas, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA