Profile picture for user harris.kevan

Kevan Harris

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Kevan

About Kevan

Harris researches development, social policy, and political economy of the global South. His research focuses on welfare projects in middle and low-income countries, business-state relations in Iran, the history of social policy in West Asia and North Africa, and occupational and class mobility in Iran before and after 1979. In addition to his research, Harris is on the Editorial Committee of the Middle East Research and Information Project, and is a UCLA faculty advisor to the Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Program on Central Asia, the Asia Pacific Center, and the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History. He is an advisor to the Princeton University Iranian Periodicals Digitization Project, under the sponsorship of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

"How Years of Increasing Labor Unrest Signaled Iran's Latest Protest Wave," Kevan Harris (with Zep Kalb), Washington Post, January 19, 2018.
Kevan Harris's research on Laura Secor, "Iran's Protesters Want One Thing: Accountability," New York Times, January 6, 2018.
Kevan Harris quoted on the politics behind recent protests by Scott Peterson, "In Iran’s Surprise Uprising of the Poor, Dents to Revolution’s Legitimacy" Christian Science Monitor, January 5, 2018.
Kevan Harris quoted by Stella Morgana, "What Do Iranians Want? Better Salaries, More Jobs and Safe Working Conditions" The Conversation, May 17, 2017.
Kevan Harris quoted by Dennis Romero, "L.A.'s Jewish and Muslim Iranians Have Common Ground in the Age of Trump" L.A. Weekly, February 3, 2017.
"How to Reform a Theocracy," Kevan Harris, Foreign Affairs, January 20, 2014.


A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran (University of California Press, forthcoming, 2017).

Demonstrates how Iran's revolutionary regime endured through the expansion of health, education, and aid programs that have both embedded the state in everyday life and empowered its challengers. 

"Making and Unmaking of the Greater Middle East" New Left Review 101 (2016): 5-34.

Discusses the making and unmaking of social compacts and state formations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), amid changing political-economic conditions, across five broad chronological periods: the tail end of the Ottoman and Persian empires, the colonial interlude, the era of political independence, the infitah years of economic opening, and the current upheaval of unrest and militarization.

"All the Sepah's Men: Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Theory and Practice" in Businessmen in Arms: How the Military and Other Armed Groups Profit in the MENA Region, edited by Elke Grawert and Zeinab Abul-Magd. Lanham (Indiana University Press, 2016), 70-100.

Discusses two prevailling theories of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran's postrevolutionary political economy, and what a more useful political sociology of the IRGC reveals about Iran's postrevolutionary era.

"A Hidden Counter-Movement? Precarity, Politics, and Social Protection Before and Beyond the Neoliberal Era" (with Ben Scully). Theory and Society 44, no. 5 (2015): 415-444.

Utilizes a database of 183 active flagship social assistance programs in 84 developing countries, to present macro-level quantitative evidence of the rise and spread of social protection policies over the past two decades in the global South.