Hello everyone and welcome to my website. My name is Marsin (pronounced “mar-seen”) and I’m an Iraqi-American PhD candidate in comparative politics at MIT. Before MIT, I spent four wonderful years studying International Relations at Wellesley College, where I was an Albright Fellow. In the upcoming academic year (2019-2020), I will be joining the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School as a pre-doctoral research fellow.
I am broadly interested in the intersection of religion and politics in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Shi’ism. More specifically, I study the role of clerics in formal politics (e.g. elections, political parties) and informal politics (e.g. protests, social movements, and civil society). My dissertation (Prophets and Priests: Religious Leaders and Anti-Government Protest in Iraq) explores the political involvement of the Iraqi Shi’a religious establishment (the Hawza) in over a century of anti-government protest. If you’re interested in how I ended up doing research on Iraqi clerics, you can read my story here (spoiler alert: it involves clerics and failed revolutions).
When I’m not doing research or thinking about Middle Eastern politics, I am reading novels (and blogging about them), writing stories (one of which is set in 1920s Iraq and involves a cleric), and otherwise living the life of a stereotypical Bostonian who enjoys running by the Charles and drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee.