Professor of Sustainable Operations Management and Founding Dean of College, Brunel University London
Zahir is Professor of Operations and Information Management in the Brunel Business School, which he joined in August 2006 as the Head of School. Prior to this, he was the Head of the Department of Information Systems and Computing (now, Department of Computer Science). He completed a BEng (Hons) at Salford University before then accepting a research position where he completed a MPhil. His has a PhD from Brunel University in the area of investment evaluation before undertaking his leadership development at the Harvard Business School.
During 2014, Professor Irani enjoyed a full time secondment to the Cabinet Office, where he was a Senior Policy advisor. He currently maintains strong links across several Government departments and often advises on matter.
Zahir’s research interests are multidisciplinary in nature, and developed from early work on the area of evaluating investments in Manufacturing Information Systems through to more recent works in Transformational Government. He has received significant levels of funding from across the world as Principal Investigator, including from the UK Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC), European Commission, Qatar Foundation, Australian Research Council and QinetiQ. He also publishes in leading scholarly journals. Zahir manages to find time to write press and thought leadership pieces on higher education and graduate employability that have appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times (FT), Thomson Reuters, University Business, Research Foresight and Times Higher Education (THE).
Under his leadership, Brunel Business School received the 2013/14 Times Higher Award – Business School of the Year.
From "friendship clubs" and two-line classifieds to flipping through faces on Tinder, the technologies and rituals of dating have changed much in the past 40 years. But how deep do these changes go? Does gender operate as differently within the new courtship realm as the range of new dating technologoies would suggest?
My research is intended to answer these questions, focussing on how mediated dating platforms (eg lonely hearts adverts, computer dating message boards, introduction agencies) have evolved since 1970 and tracking how singles using these platforms have put to work ideas of gender in their adverts or profiles. The study focusses on the metropolitan environment of London, where new technologies, fashions and experimentalism in relationships were more observably taken up than elsewhere in Britain, and considers the effects on daters of the capital's heightened discourses of consumerism, permissivness, choice and alienation. Crucially, London formed a major (though certainly not exclusive) hub of the Women's Liberation Movement, and the ways in which the newly strident and bounteous discourse generated by the movement was used, played with or ignored by daters is also of key interest to me, raising broader questions of how the political relates to the personal in the domain of gender.
More broadly, I am interested in Anglo-American and global courtship cultures throughout the 20th century (up to the present), and particularly in how new technologies are adopted, used or rejected by daters around the world. I am also extremely interested in historiographical debates, particularly those concering where lie the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary history and its sources, especially live digital ones like Facebook.