PCC’s Dr. Robert Asaadi, respected author on Iran, in hot demand on speaker circuit
Photos and Story by Misty Bouse
Dr. Robert Asaadi, a new Portland Community College instructor, was chosen as the guest speaker at the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) in September. The organization is known for “free and open discussion of the problems and possibilities of our times.” In an era when the Islamic Republic of Iran is poorly understood, the PCC political science instructor’s discussion on the possibility of political change in Iran seemed timely.
Asaadi holds a master’s degree and doctorate in political science at the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. His research and teaching interests include: international relations theory; international security; modern and contemporary Iranian politics; and U.S. Foreign Policy. His first book was recently released in paperback.
Academic Pathways: Public Service, Education & Social Science
- Robert Asaadi teaches in the college’s Political Science Program, where students learn politics and political systems and the behavior of people within them — Congress, the Constitution, domestic policy, elections, foreign policy, interest groups, political parties, presidency and the Supreme Court. Political science is housed under the Public Service, Education, and Social Sciences academic pathway, which expands students’ knowledge of the world and society.
We chatted with Asaadi about being selected and professional background:
How were you selected?
Robert Asaadi: I was honored to be chosen to address the group, as one of the ICFRC organizers became aware of my book, “Postrevolutionary Iran: The Leader, the People, and the Three Powers” that was published in 2021. I am Iranian-American and my research specialization is modern Iranian politics.
What is the book premise?
Asaadi: It examines the evolution of postrevolutionary Iran’s formal and informal institutions from 1979 to the present and explores the possibilities for change embedded in its constitutional order.
What do you wish people knew more about?
Asaadi: A fact about Iran that I like to share is that the Iranian people are very well-educated and connected to international media. Also, recent polls indicate that stable majorities of Iranians wish to have better relations with the United States and the international community.
What was the best part of being a guest speaker?
Asaadi: My favorite aspect was the opportunity to share some of the main findings of my book such as the fundamental characteristics of Iran’s political system. This enabled me to share some thoughts on the possibility of meaningful reform in Iran’s politics.
How was the audience?
Asaadi: The ICFRC audience was fantastic. There were nearly 40 online-only attendees, and they asked several thoughtful, nuanced questions during the Q&A portion of the talk. (The recording will be available online at ICFRC .)
What did you do before joining PCC?
Asaadi: From 2015 to 2022, I taught at Portland State University in the Department of Political Science and Department of International & Global Studies. Prior to that, I was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. I have also been writing a second book, tentatively titled, “Iranian Public Opinion: Political, Social, and Economic Attitudes”, which is under contract with Lexington Books.
Do you enjoy PCC?
Asaadi: Besides the opportunity to be in front of students at the Sylvania Campus in person, something I appreciate about PCC is the commitment of the administration to providing many opportunities for faculty professional development in teaching.
What are you reading?
Asaadi: I am reading for pleasure, “Quarterlife” by Satya Doyle Byock. It’s an exploration of a distinct stage from age 16 to 36 that every person goes through but which has been virtually ignored by popular culture and psychology until now, according to the book’s online description.
Thank you, Robert!