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Political Science Professor Malici Coauthors New Book

Furman Political Science Professor Akan Malici has coauthored a new book about United States-Iran relations.

The book, Role Theory and Role Conflict in U.S.-Iran Relations: Enemies of Our Own Making is cowritten by Stephen G. Walker, Professor Emeritus in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University, and is published by Routledge, which offers this description:

2016 Akan Malici headshot, portrait 400 wide
Dr. Akan Malici

Akan Malici and Stephen G. Walker argue that the dynamics of U.S.-Iran relations are based on role conflicts. Iran has long desired to enact roles of active independence and national sovereignty in world politics. However, it continued to be cast by others into client or rebel roles of national inferiority.

In this book the authors examine these role conflicts during three crucial episodes in U.S.-Iran relations: the oil nationalization crisis and the ensuing clandestine coup aided by the CIA to overthrow the Iranian regime in 1950 to 1953; the Iranian revolution followed by the hostage crisis in 1979 to 1981; the reformist years pre- and post- 9/11 under Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2002.

Their application of role theory is theoretically and methodologically progressive and innovative in illuminating aspects of U.S.-Iran relations. It allows for a better understanding of the past, navigating the present, and anticipating the future in order to avoid foreign policy mistakes.

Malici book cover
Malici coauthors new book with Stephen G. Walker

The book has won praise by renowned scholars in the field, among them, Deborah Welch Larson, Political Science Professor at University of California, Los Angeles. She says, “In their analysis of key turning points in US-Iranian relations, Malici and Walker show misperception and misunderstanding on the part of the United States in trying to cast Iran in an inferior or client role. Their use of role theory is innovative and provides a fresh take on an important subject. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the source of Iranian enmity toward the United States.”

Malici joined the Furman faculty in 2005. He holds a Ph.D. from Arizona State University. His research interests include international relations and foreign policy.

For more information, contact Dr. Akan Malici at 864-294-3576, or


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