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About us Practical matters How to find us W.A. (William) Figueroa, Dr

W.A. (William) Figueroa, Dr

Profile picture of W.A. (William) Figueroa, Dr

My research focuses on historical and contemporary relations between China and the Middle East, and especially China and Iran. Broadly speaking, I am interested in the exchange of people, things, and ideas across Asia, emphasizing East-East or South-South connections over East-West, and the ways in which these exchanges created different identities, solidarities, and political narratives. My research explores the ways in which these social, political, cultural, economic, and ideological connections have been mobilized for various political and personal projects, both in the past and today. In particular, I am interested in the shared material and cultural heritage of Iran and China and the way that the narrative of the Silk Road is deployed in contemporary projects like the Belt and Road Initiative.

My dissertation, China and the Iranian Left: Transnational Networks of Social, Cultural, and Ideological Exchange, 1905-1979, is the first cohesive narrative of contemporary Sino-Iranian relations based on both Persian and Chinese sources, from the emergence of simultaneous constitutional movements in the late 19th century to the emergence of the Islamic Republic in 1979. It analyzes the connections between Iranian and Chinese constitutionalists, nationalists, socialists, communists, and Maoists, tracing the emergence of an internationalist discourse of Asian solidarity and the impact it had on Iranian history, society, and politics. My current project is to expand and revise this dissertation into a book.

I have published several articles and book chapters based on my dissertation research, including "Performative Diplomacy: Iran–Republic of China Relations, 1920–1949" in Iranian Studies, "China and the Iranian Revolution: New Perspectives on Sino-Iranian Relations, 1965–1979" in Asian Affairs, and "Red Star Over Iran: Maoism and the Shah's Regime" in Iran and Global Decolonization (Gingko, 2023).

I also provide commentary and analysis on contemporary Sino-Iranian and Sino-Middle Eastern relations for a variety of media, public policy, and government organizations. I have appeared on various podcasts and webinars, including the China Global South Podcast, published articles in The Diplomat, and provided media commentary for Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, Reuters, South China Morning Post, the Economist, Associated Press, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and Deutschlandfunk.

Last modified:09 February 2024 08.10 a.m.