Experts & Speakers Faculty Profile
Jamsheed Kairshasp Choksy
Professor of Central Eurasian Studies, Professor of History, Professor of India Studies, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, Affiliated Faculty in International Studies
Central Eurasian Studies Department
Religious Studies Department
Interests:Central Asia, Near East, South Asia, anthropology, history, linguistics, numismatics, religious studies, Iran, Zoroastrianism, Islam, archaelogy
- A.B. in Middle East Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, 1985
- Ph.D. in History and Religions of the Near East and Inner Asia at Harvard University, 1991
Jamsheed Kairshasp Choksy is professor of Central Eurasian studies, professor of history, adjunct professor of religious studies and an affiliated faculty member of India Studies and of Medieval Studies at Indiana University. He also has served as chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and as director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at IU. He has been nominated by President George W. Bush to serve a six-year term as a member of the US National Council on the Humanities.
Choksy was born on January 8, 1962, in Bombay (Mumbai), India, attended elementary, middle, and high school in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and is now a citizen of the United States. His BA degree was in Middle Eastern languages and cultures, with extensive studies in biology, from Columbia University in 1985. His PhD degree was in the history and religions of the Near East and Inner Asia, with the major field of Iranian studies and the additional fields of archeology and Islamic studies, from Harvard University in 1991. While at Harvard University, Choksy served as a teaching fellow in the Department of Anthropology in 1988 and was elected a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows from 1988-1991. Before joining IU, he taught in the Department of History and the International Relations Program at Stanford University as a visiting assistant professor from 1991-1993. He was a member and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the School of Historical Studies in the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, from 1993-1994.
Choksy was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1996-1997. He held an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, Calif., during 2001-2002. Choksy was an American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellow during 2006-2007. He has received grants from the American Academy of Religion, American Council of Learned Societies, American Numismatic Society and Social Science Research Council. Choksy has served on fellowship evaluation and selection committees for the American Councils for International Education, Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Harvard University, Canada Council for the Arts, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Center for Arabic Study Abroad of Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, IREX, Woodrow Wilson Center and NEH. He has functioned as a nominator for the MacArthur Fellows Program. He has been consulted by UNESCO, the United States Department of State, the National Geographic Society and been cited in print and broadcast media reports on contemporary, historical, and religious questions. Choksy is an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (London) and of the Explorers Club (New York City). He is an elected member of the Cosmos Club (Washington, DC) and a member of MENSA (USA).
His foreign affairs analyses have appeared in Foreign Policy, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, World Politics Review, Yale Global, Real Clear Markets, Newsweek, Real Clear World, Christian Science Monitor, National Review, National Public Radio, PBS' "Frontline, Agence France-Presse, Radio Liberty, Huffington Post, Small Wars Journal, Press TV, Times of India and ABC News.
Choksy is the author of three books: Evil, Good, and Gender: Facets of the Feminine in Zoroastrian Religious History (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2002); Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian Sub-alterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997) with a New Persian (Farsi) translation as Setiz va Sazesh: Zartoshtiyan-e maqlub va mosalmanan-e qaleb dar jame-ye Iran-e nakhostin-i sadeha-ye Islami (Tehran: Qoqnus Publications, 2002); and Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism: Triumph over Evil (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989). He is currently writing a book on the History of Iranian religions under contract for Harvard University Press. He was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 2007). Choksy has published many articles and numerous encyclopedia entries, is a frequent presenter at international conferences, and was selected as the Government of India Research Fellowship lecturer in 1998.
Professor Choksy's research examines the development of sectarian communities in Central Asia, the Near East, and South Asia -- where he has traveled extensively -- through interdisciplinary approaches involving anthropology, archeology, history, languages, linguistics, literatures, numismatics, and religious studies. He is an authority on Iranian studies, Zoroastrianism, and Islam. Choksy is listed in Who's Who in the World, 25th ed. (New Providence, NJ: Marquis Publishing, 2008) and Who's Who in America, 62nd ed. (New Providence, NJ: Marquis Publishing, 2008).