Professor Ashraf has taught sociology and social history of Persia at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Tehran University. He is the author of several books and numerous articles, including Historical Obstacles to the Development of Capitalism in Iran (1980). His writings have covered such topics as social hierarchies in Persia, traditon & modernity, Iranian national identity, agrarian relations in Persia, and charismatic leadership and theocratic rule in post-revolutionary Persia. Prof. Ashraf has served on the editorial board of Iranian Studies, International Journal of Politics, Culture & Society, and Iran-Nameh. Since 1992, he has served as a Trustee-at-Large of the American Institute of Iranian Studies.