I am Kameel Ahmady, British-Iranian originally from Kurdistan, a scholar working in the field of social anthropology conducting research on topics related to local cultures, women and children, and the rights of minorities in the Middle East with some work experience in Africa and Far East.
Working and travelling to Africa, the Far East, Bosnia, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq (before and after the war), I became interested in the everyday lives of these local populations, their traditions and customs, particularly the harmful ones, and also the effect conflict, war and poverty has had on these populations. This was the inspiration behind many of my works including those related to gender, children and minorities.
I Hold a HND and BA in publishing and economic environment from London University of the Arts (UAL)/ London College of Communication, MA, and in social anthropology and visual ethnography from University of Kent, Canterbury-UK- where my research dealt with media as a source of identity discourse amongst youth. “Media consumption, conformity and resistance: a visual ethnography of youth culture in Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan 2006” was my thesis topic.
I also studied and passed special and professional courses on politics, planning, strategies and tactics, research methods, policy making, lobbying and empowerment at Break Back University (BBK), London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE), and Netherlands MDF Educational Center, writing papers and published number of books on various topics, including: gender, minorities, honor killing, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), early child marriage (ECM), temporary marriage and “Sigheh Mahramiat”, white marriage (cohabitation), homosexuality (LGB), multiculturalism and modernity in Iran, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
My experiences as a consultant and scientific supporter in Europe and elsewhere, for Ministries of Immigration and Justice fueled my desire to conduct in-depth cutting edge research on these topics further. In recent years, I have conducted several comprehensive and country-wide studies on the issues of common culture among women and children, gender studies and social vulnerabilities. Through these studies, I have tried to keep the guidelines of anthropological ethics and at the same time be the voice of social minorities, as the issues are mostly hidden from the public eye. Up until now my research work includes 5 books and 3 short ethnographic documentaries, made in various regions of the Middle East with a focus on Iran. For example, my works on female genital mutilation (FGM/C), early child marriage (ECM), temporary marriage (Sigheh Mahramiat), tribalism, and white marriage (cohabitation) were all conducted in Iran. In addition, I conducted anthropological research on honor killings (both in Europe and Middle East), identity change of Izadies in the last century (Iraqi Kurdistan/Iraq), children, gender, and empowerment in the Middle East and Africa. Please check out my CV for a full list of my research.
In addition to my hands on experience from my various research projects, I have had the opportunity to get a strong educational background on social anthropology, publishing, research methods, politics, strategies and tactics. Check out my Education Section in my CV for further details.
Both my educational background and my research projects helped me to publish several books, including the following:
I am also in the process of publishing another study on temporary marriages (Sigheh Mahramiat), which was inspired by my earlier work on child marriages. Interestingly, I discovered that a great number of children are married to other children and to older men in the framework of Sigheh Mahramiat, something that was not researched before. Results of this study will be published shortly by Shirazeh publications, under the title of “A house on water”.
Presently, I am working on a couple of exciting projects. One is on White marriage (cohabitation), which is related to temporary marriages. Cohabitation is a new trend among the young men and women in Iran. This type of relationship, as with any relationship outside of marriage, is illegal in Iran, which means that they are hidden from the public. The implications of this are that problems such as domestic and sexual violence, abuse, abortion goes unreported. Click here for more details.
The second research project I am working on is about identity and ethnicity, which mainly focuses on the understanding of different ethnicity from themselves through which they create the term othering and the way they see themselves in power sharing and their position in today’s Iranian political landscape. Currently, we are at the field work stage studying five ethnic groups of Kurd, Turk, Baloch, Arab and Fars in Iran.