Afsāneh Najmābādi (Persian: افسانه نجمآبادی) (born 1946) is an Iranian-American historian and gender theorist. She is professor of History and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. At present she chairs the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is further Associate Editor of Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, in six volumes.
Afsaneh Najmabadi moved as student from University of Tehran to Radcliffe College in 1966. She obtained her BA in physics in 1968 from Radcliffe College, Harvard University, and her MA in physics in 1970 from Harvard University. Following this, she pursued social studies, combining academic interests with engagement in social activism, first in the United States of America and later in Iran. She obtained her PhD in sociology in 1984 from University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Professor Najmabadi has been Nemazee Fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University (1984–1985), Fellow at Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Brown University (1988–1989), at Harvard Divinity School (Women's Studies in Religion Program) (1988–1989), at Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (1994–1995), and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2000–2001). After nine years of teaching and research at the Department of Women's Studies of Barnard College, in July 2001 she joined Harvard University as Professor of History and of Women's Studies. Under her tenure as chair, the Committee on Degrees in Women's Studies changed its name to the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
Professor Najmabadi's most recent researches have been concerned with the study of the ways in which concepts and practices of sex and sexuality have transformed in Iran, from the late-nineteenth-century to the present-day Iran.
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, Land Reform and Social Change in Iran, 246 p. (University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 1987). ISBN 0-87480-285-7
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women's Autobiography in Contemporary Iran, 78 p., Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs (Harvard University Press, 1991). ISBN 0-932885-05-5
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, editor, Bibi Khanum Astarabadi's Ma'ayib al-Rijal: Vices of Men (Midland Printers, Chicago, 1992).
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, The Story of the Daughters of Quchan: Gender and National Memory in Iranian History, 232 p., Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East (Syracuse University Press, 1998). ISBN 0-8156-2791-2
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, Crafting an Educated Housewife in Iran, in Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East, Chapter 3, pp. 91–125, edited by Lila Abu-Lughod, 314 p. (Princeton University Press, 1998). ISBN 0-691-05792-3
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, The Morning After: Travails of Sexuality and Love in Modern Iran, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 36, pp. 367–385 (Cambridge University Press, 2004). 
- Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity, 377 p. (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2005). ISBN 0-520-24262-9
- Suad Joseph, and Afsaneh Najmabadi, editors, Family, Law and Politics, Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, 837 p. (Brill Academic Publishers, 2005). ISBN 90-04-12818-2
- Suad Joseph, and Afsaneh Najmabadi, editors, Family, Body, Sexuality and Health, Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Vol. 3, 588 p. (Brill Academic Publishers, 2005). ISBN 90-04-12819-0
- Suad Joseph, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Julie Peteet, Seteney Shami, and Jacqueline Siapo, editors, Economics, Education, Mobility and Space, Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, 587 p. (Brill Academic Publications, 2006). ISBN 90-04-12820-4
- Suad Joseph, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Julie Peteet, Seteney Shami, and Jacqueline Siapno, editors, Practices, Interpretations and Representations, Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, 594 p. (Brill Academic Publishers, 2007). ISBN 90-04-12821-2
Notes and references
- Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (EWIC), University of California, Davis (Home page), (Tables of Contents, Volumes I-VI).
- Beth Potier, Women with mustaches, men without beards: Research illuminates the elasticity - the politics - of sexual boundaries, University of Harvard Gazette, March 14, 2002.