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by Sohrab Behdad and Timur Kuran about Theory of Islamic Economics: Tradition and Transformation.
From Granville
to Samarkand
and Kashghar


I was born in Mashhad, Iran, in 1943. I went to school in Tehran.

I graduated from Alborz High School in 1962, and in the fall of the same year I came to the United States to study electrical engineering at Michigan State University. After receiving my bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 1967, I moved across campus to the Economics Department. I never looked back to engineering again.

In 1973 I completed my Ph.D. in economics at Michigan State University. My thesis was National Characteristics and the Commodity Composition of Trade in Manufactured Goods and my advisor was Mordechai Kreinin. In 1972 I took a lecturer position at the Economics Department of Syracuse University. In the following year I left the United States for Iran and in the fall of that year I began teaching at the Faculty of Economics of Tehran University.

I was a member of the Faculty of Economics until 1983, when I left Iran for France and left the university to the gang of hezbullah and Cultural Revolution to "purify" the university and to "reform" economics to its Islamic form (see Enqelab-e Farhangi va Eslami Kardan Eqtesad dar Daneshgaha-ye Iran. in Kankash, no. 13, Fall 1997.

While I was at Tehran University I was Director of Program of Faculty of Economics in the academic year of 1979/1980, when the university opened right after the revolution, and Director of Institute of Economic Development Studies in 1980/81. I was an elected member of the Council of Faculty of Economics (composed of representatives of faculty, staff and students, responsible for the management of Faculty of Economics) from the time that the university was opened in March 1979 until Cultural Revolution closed all universities in May 1980. I was also a founding member of National Association of University Professors, formed in fall of 1979.

From 1976 to 1978, I worked with Mohammad Qazi, Hamid Enayat, and Houshang Golshiri at the newly formed Tehran (Aryamehr) Technological University Press with the aim of commissioning translation of a comprehensive collection of basic books and textbooks and preparing them for publication. I was chief editor of the economics division of the press.

In the fall of 1984 I returned to the United States. I began as a visiting professor at the Department of Economics of Western Michigan University and in the following year I came to Granville Ohio to teach at the Department of Economics of Denison University. I have been living in the beautiful little town of Granville since 1985, where my daughter Yasameen grew up and my son Siavash was born. From 1992 to 1995 I was the Chair of Economics Department at Denison University.

I was Executive Secretary of Middle East Economic Association (MEEA) from 1990 to 1993 and President of the same association from 1994 to 1995. I am now a Co-Chair MEEA Committee for Human Rights and Academic Freedom (CHRAF).

I have been on the Editorial Board of International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1995-2005 and Associate Editor-Economics of Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 1996-2000.