Somayeh has worked as an assistant research professor in the Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies (IHCS) since 2013, the largest and oldest organization for performing humanities research in Iran. She holds a PhD in Political Sociology from Allameh Tabataba'i University and teaches courses on qualitative methodology, social stratification, and the principles of sociology. Her research focuses on the social studies of women and gender by topics of lifestyle, social participation, social status, leisure, cultural & social capital, with her favorite area being micro politics - in particular power and resistance. As an inquiring sociologist, she has programmed, conducted, and supervised several types of research in Iran and was the annual selected researcher of IHCS in 2015. Her articles and book chapters on women and gender studies not only concentrate on Iranian society, but also determine the trends of social changes since the beginning of this century.
Karen studies democratization in Africa. Her work sits at the intersection of institutional and behavioral approaches to politics, with a particular focus on how ethnic and racial divisions and formal and informal institutions shape voting behavior and election outcomes in emerging democracies. She has written about South African politics in her book, Framing the Race in South Africa: the Political Origins of Racial Census Elections (Cambridge University Press, 2011). She has also written about electoral institutions, electoral integrity, and issues related to survey design in Africa.