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Academic Career

Academic Career

David Brooks’ academic career at Durham University spanned over two decades. He was the Anthropology Department Liaison with the Oriental Studies Department and a Member of the Committee for Middle East and Islamic Studies. Here are his major interests, projects, papers and publications.

Academic interest areas:

  • Middle East, particularly Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco nomadic and tribal populations; tribe-state relations; Sufism; Shi’a Islam;
  • Tribal organisation in Iran with special reference to history of tribe-state relationships and problems of settlement.
  • Religious and cultural symbolism; ritual and performing arts- music, dance, poetry- with research on these themes in Iran.
  • North-East England.
  • Cognitive and cultural anthropology; structuralism; semiology; hermeneutics.

Projects and courses:

  • (1980) S.S.R.C and Manpower Services Commission funded North-Eastern Culture & Society Research Group (NECSRG): ‘Investigation of Socio-Economic Changes in Rural, Mainly South-West Northumberland’. With Brendan Quayle.
  • (1981) S.S.R.C fellowship: An Ethnographic Survey of the Allendales 1981-84. With NECSRG including Brendan Quayle, David Brooks, and Judith Okely.
  • Discussion group on ‘Symbolic and Cultural Anthropology’.
  • Undergraduate course on the Anthropology of the Middle East
  • Lecture course in the Department of Sociology at the University of York (1970)

Conferences and papers:

  1. Brooks, D.H.M (1967) ‘Aspects of the Bakhtiari’, British Institute of Persian Studies, 11th Feb 1967
  2. Brooks, D.H.M(1967) ‘The Political Leadership of the Bakhtiari, a migratory tribe in S.W. Iran’, The British Institute of Persian Studies’ AGM, 16th November 1967
  3. Brooks, D.H.M (1969) Unknown lecture, London School of Economics
  4. Brooks, D.H.M (1977) ‘Dance and the expression of Bakhtiari identity’, Isfahan, Iran, 12-18th October 1977
  5. Brooks, D.H.M (1978) ‘Virgins, viragos, and lion women among the Bakhtiari of S.W. Iran’, 11th World Congress of Anthropologists, New Delhi
  6. July 1979 SOAS conference on Iran and Afghanistan convened by Richard Tapper & David Brooks
  7. Brooks, D.H.M (1979) Unknown lecture, University of Edinburgh
  8. Brooks, D.H.M (1979) Unknown lecture, University of Oxford
  9. Brooks, D.H.M (1980) ‘Images of women in Iran’, Representations of the Female- a symposium convened by David Brooks and Judith Okely, Durham, March 1980
  10. Brooks, D.H.M (1981) ‘Sacred Space and Sacred Place: pilgrimage in the Bakhtiari of Iran’. Pilgrimage: The Human Quest conference, Pittsburgh, 14-17 May 1981


  1. Brooks, D.H.M, (1974) ‘The Bakhtiari’, Peoples of the Earth, Tom Stacey Ltd, London
  2. Brooks, D.H.M, ‘The Enemy Within: Limitations on Leadership in the Bakhtiari’ in Tapper, R (ed) (1983) The Conflict of Tribe and State in Iran and Afghanistan, Croom Helm, London p337-362
  3. Brooks, D.H.M (1990) The route to home ventilation: a patient’s perspective, Care of the Critically Ill, Vol 6, No. 3: 96-7
  4. Brooks, D.H.M, (1992) Living with Ventilation: confessions of an addict, Care of the Critically Ill, Vol. 8, No.5: 205-7
  5. Brooks, D.H.M, ‘Sacred spaces and Potent Places in the Bakhtiari mountains’, in Tapper, R and Thompson, J (eds) (2002) The Nomadic Peoples of Iran, Azimuth Editions Ltd, London, p90-112
  6. PROPOSED: Brooks, D.H.M ‘Expressive Culture and Performative Rituals in the Bakhtiari’- a ‘comparison of dance forms in different tribal groups in Iran, projected to commence in 1978 has had to be delayed until the current political upheaval allows.’ (Anthropology Board of Studies 1980, Durham University Archives)
  7. PROPOSED: Shoja, M and Brooks, D.H.M, ‘Socio-economic and Political Change among the Chahar Lang Bakhtiari after the Iranian Revolution’. ‘Expected to start Oct. 1980. If the political situation allows Mr Brooks will carry out a short period of field research collecting cultural data on song, music and dance in this area.’(Anthropology Board of Studies 1980, Durham University Archives)

Thank you to Balliol College (Oxford), Durham University Archives, Judith Okely, Bob Simpson, Sue Wright and many others for their invaluable help in putting together this information. Additional information sourced from Brooks’ papers, Anthropology Board of Studies archives, and Durham University Vice Chancellor’s Annual Reports.