Dr Tara Povey

Staff details

Position Lecturer in Post-Colonial and Global History
Department History
Email T.Povey (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Tara Povey

Tara Povey specializes in the history and politics of the modern Middle East and her research focuses on the dynamics of social movements, neo-liberalism, gender and political movements in the region. She is the author of Social Movements in Egypt and Iran (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and she is the co-editor (with Elaheh Rostami-Povey) of Women, Power and Politics in 21st Century Iran (Ashgate, 2012). She has published articles and book chapters on women’s activism and Islamophobia, social movements and political change in Egypt and gender and neo-liberalism in Iran.

Tara’s research analyses states and social movements as important and interlinked forces in the changing politics of the Middle East. Since 2006 she has conducted research with participants in social movements in Egypt and Iran including women’s movements, national and religious movements and workers’ movements. Her current research projects focus on histories of transnationalism in the Middle East, the changing nature of states and the strategies employed by contemporary social movements.

Academic Qualifications

2012                Ph.D. Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Sydney

Thesis: Forces of Change: Social Movements in Egypt and Iran since the 1990s

2006                Honours (equiv. Masters) Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Sydney

2004                B.A. History and Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Sydney

1997                B.A. (Hons) Philosophy and History of Art, University College London


Tara was a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Comparative Politics of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and Lecturer in the Social Sciences with reference to the Middle East at the University of Exeter. Previously she taught Middle East history and politics at the University of Sydney.

Professional Experience

Tara is a member of a number of professional associations such as The London Middle East Institute, the Center for Iranian Studies (SOAS), the Center for Gender Studies (SOAS) in addition to the British Association of Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) and the British International Studies Association (BISA). 

Recent Work/Selected Work

  • Social Movements in Egypt and Iran (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015)
  • Women, Power and Politics in 21st Century Iran. Co-edited with Elaheh Rostami-Povey (Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, 2012).
  • “The Women’s Movement and Neo-liberalism in Iran: Between Accommodation and Resistance” in Shaminder Takhar (ed.) Gender and Race Matter: Global Perspectives on Being a Woman (Emerald Publishing, 2015).
  • “Voices of Dissent: Social Movements and the Future of Political Change in Egypt” in Lily Zubaidah Rahim (ed.) Muslim Secular Democracy: Voices from Within (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 233-253.
  • “The Iranian Women’s Movement in its Regional and International Context” in Tara Povey and Elaheh Rostami Povey (eds) Women, Power and Politics in 21st Century Iran (Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, 2012), pp. 169-182.
  • “The Impact of Sanctions and Neo-liberalism on Women’s Organising in Iran”. Social Sciences Special Issue on ‘Women, Gender and Politics: An International Overview’ (2016).



Povey, Tara . 2019. Reformism, Economic Liberalisation and Popular Mobilisation in Iran. Middle East Critique, 28(4), pp. 365-380. ISSN 1943-6149

Povey, Tara . 2016. The Impact of Sanctions and Neo-Liberalism on Women’s Organising in Iran. Social Sciences, 5(3), pp. 1-14.

Povey, Tara . 2009. Islamophobia and Arab and Muslim Women's Activism. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1(2),