Sixth Biennial Conference of Iranian Studies
Conference - Abstracts
3 - 5 August 2006
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
A biennial conference that includes contributions in all fields of Iranian studies, especially new areas of investigation and/or novel approaches to traditional fields.
Listed alphabetically by surname of first author
Deutsche Welle World Service, Germany
This paper analyzes Mahshid Amirshahi's novel Dar Hazar as she describes a series of impressions depicting an Iranian exile's homecoming during the tumultuous events that immediately followed the start of the Iranian revolution. The novel takes place during the 14 months that followed the events of 17 of Shahrivar of 1367. Amrishahi's novel is often valued as a historic record. This paper argues that the most significant characteristic of this original work is its quality as a well crafted piece of fiction, a novel. The discussion includes a formal analysis of the book centred around a basic distinction between the author of the novel and the narrator of the text. That is, while the linear notes claim that the protagonist in the pages is the author herself, a closer analysis reveals a narrator complexly constructed and distinct from the author. This paper characterises the narrator against five formal dimensions: the narrator's personality and voice, her ego as she travels within time; the impact of the patriarchal culture in the gender identity of the narrator as it acquires manly traits; the difference between the narrative voice as it moves in the present tense and the historic time as is ultimately revealed; and finally, the differences between the personality of the narrator and that of the author of the book. The central question is: can a text that has all the trappings of a high-quality novel have historical value at the same time? Is this text a work of fiction, a historical fiction, or history proper? How does the individual experience measure against historical distance? What are the differences between historic and fictional plausibility? In conclusion, the presentation argued that Amirshahi's book Dar Hazar is not only a shining example of skilful and intricate fictional writing but also of historical value.
Qazvin International University, Iran
During the Qajar period Iran was afflicted with two great famines which were the most disastrous events of their kind in Iran's history. The first, in 1871, wiped out a third of the population and, according to Sheikh Ebrahim Zanjani, the people were forced to consume dog and cat meat. The second famine, in 1917-1918, was concentrated mainly in Tehran where, according to police statistics, about 186,000 of Tehran's population died. Once the 1917-18 famine passed, the bread crisis changed into a political crisis during which terror squads were formed, crime increased, and governments became unstable and resigned one after the other. In spite of the wide range of the human catastrophe, the famine has not been seriously understood. Except for a few references in Russian and British sources during their occupation of Iran during the First World War, there is little public knowledge about the event. This paper uncovers the history of the great famine through the study of primary sources such as contemporaneous periodicals (Aftab, Ra'd, Nowbahar, Zaban-e Azad, Asr-e Jadid, Kowkab-e Iran, Sobh-e Iran and specially Setareh-ye Iran) as well as unpublished records and references such as records of the cabinets of Vosuq al-Dowleh and Ala' al-Saltaneh. The study considers such questions as the main causes of the famine, the impact of the First World War as well as individuals on the economic situation of the country, and the nature of the terror squads in the post-famine period. This study is a part of a book on the subject of the socio-political changes in Iran between the post-constitutional period and the end of the First World War.
University of Oxford, UK
The range of the Shahnameh mss represented in NLR is very wide chronologically and geographically: from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century and from Tabriz to India. The paper concentrates mostly on two pearls from this collection: The third-earliest dated illustrated manuscript of 1333 (Dorn 329) and the luxurious copy of the middle of the seventeenth century, executed in the royal atelier of Shah Abbas II (1642-1666), and decorated with 192 miniature paintings, belonging to at least three hands (Dorn 333). The first ms, Dorn 329, is compared with another of the earliest known Shahnameh mss, which now is in possession of the Topkapi Saray Museum (Hazine 1479). This gives a unique opportunity to trace several iconographic traditions that existed at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Shiraz, the only surviving Iranian centre of 'book mass-production'. The Istanbul ms is the earliest illustrated one, which has not been introduced properly to the scholarly world. It was produced two years before the NLR one, and demonstrates a different approach in representation of the scenes both in their selection and the manner of artistic execution. This bears witness that at that time, the tradition of a more or less restricted list of obligatory subjects to be depicted in the Shahnameh as well as their iconography had not yet been fixed. As for Dorn 333, paintings signed by two of the artists can help to identify their work also in the miniatures in a manuscript from the collection of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, which are probably also made by Afzal al-Husayni and Reza-ye Mosavver.
Morehouse College, USA
This paper discusses central banking laws in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the relationship between inflation and central bank independence in the country. Two indices of legal independence of the central bank are constructed, which cover economic and political aspects of independence. Most transition economies experiencing high-inflationary periods in the recent past that have strengthened the position and independence of the central bank by changing the banking laws have experienced an inverse relationship between inflation and central bank independence indices. The relationship between inflation and central bank policy and its structure since the inception of the Islamic republic is examined. To improve the economic performance of the country and relieve some of the inflationary pressures, reform of the central banking laws and its structure is proposed.
Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, France
At the time of the upheaval against the Shah, all tendencies within the opposition were articulating grievances centred on the notion of haqq: social justice and God's will merging to guarantee economic, social, and women's rights. This goal reflected the alliance between different and often antagonistic schools of thought, including Third Worldist ideologies, as well as Islamic, communist, liberal and democratic ones. After the Shah was overthrown, the movement radicalised and was taken over by elements from within the Islamic trend, and the subsequent debates focused largely on differences among different factions within this group. Yet, the tension between the ethical universalistic agenda and the ones unique to the Islamic revolution was not over. The differences were re-articulated by factions within the Islamic trend that had emerged in the course of the revolution itself, manifesting themselves in the debates between the conservatives, radicals and the reformists. The differences were, in other words, not so much about the role of religion on earth as doubts about how a religious revolution should find its way between ethical and contextualised agendas, between a unanimous revolutionary movement at its beginning and the new alliances and divisions among social groups after the revolution, between what a state could achieve and what it should accept.
University of California, Berkeley, USA
This paper deals with Ezhdaha-ye Khodi (The Ego Monster), a seminal four-volume philosophical 'novel' written by the late Sayyed B. Majruh, a former professor of Western philosophy at Kabul University. The paper attempts to read Majruh's 'novel' not so much as a philosophical allegory – with its emphasis on the transcendental valorisation of abstract, metaphysical concepts – but as an allegory of history and a critique of ideology. The paper contextualises the text within the framework of historical incidents of far-reaching socio-political consequences in contemporary Afghanistan, such as the 'communist' coup, the (former) Soviet invasion, and the emergence of a fractured 'resistance' movement. Through a close analysis of the narrative elements and possibilities that form the fictional discourse of the allegory, the paper traces the paradoxical journey of the principal character – Rahgozar-e Nimehshab (The Midnight Traveler), a persona who remotely resembles Nietzsche's Zarathustra – from the apparent 'conquest of the ego' and the 'death of the [ego] monster' to the 'return of the [ego] monster' and the 'reign of [egocentric] Reason.' The intricacy of the journey, despite its disjunctive schemes, both reflects and generates an ideology of self-hood that is profoundly historical. Majruh neither denigrates any one specific ideological tendency nor valorises its rival ideology. Instead, he painstakingly discovers illusory 'idols' – mainly, as he maintains, 'idols of raw Reason,' 'idols of Progress,' and 'idols of Revolution' – within the very fabric of each and every ideology and ideological inclination. As such, as this paper illustrates, the historical topicality of Ezhdaha-ye Khodi consists of the fact that it deconstructs the equally 'idolatrous' motives of the progressive 'communist' revolution as well the reactionary motives of the opposition 'resistance' groups who used to wage an 'Islamic' revolution in Afghanistan.
One of the characteristics of the Safavid reign is the formalisation of Shiism as the official religion of the land. Various studies have dealt with this issue, but only a few studies have addressed Shah Esmail's dreams concerning his mission to formally establish Shiism as his official religion. This paper does not aim to study the truth or falsehood of such dreams and the role they played in history, rather, it aims to clarify the role of dreams in the political affairs of the Safavid dynasty. In this regard, it becomes clear that the Safavids manipulated dreams to promote Shiism and to justify many of their actions. The paper looks at the sources of the dreams and the issues they tried to address. It also looks at the various religious figures in the dreams (the Prophet, various Imams, etc.) as well as the timing and the political context of the dreams. Were dreams told more often during critical times such as the transfer of power or wars? Did the Safavid kings manipulate their dreams in order to justify killing their associates? And, in general, what dreams were the most common and in which periods of the Safavid era were they most widespread?
Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland
This paper provides an analytical perspective on Iranian people's perception of their lives and their society at the edge of the fourth decade of the Revolution. This is a documentary study based on up-to-date official statistics that have been collected by the Iranian government for use in high-level cultural and social policy making almost one and a half years before the presidential elections of June 2005. According to these statistics, one could observe that Iranian society, deeply frustrated by economic depression and other social problems, is experiencing a dramatic transition which provides a fertile ground for populist socialist slogans based on an extremist nationalism. In this context, this paper analyses the social and cultural reasons behind the outcomes of the presidential elections of the past year.
Amir Esmail Ajami
University of Arizona, USA
This paper examines agrarian transition in Iran using a general typology of units of agricultural production: peasant/farmer/capitalist. By drawing on evidence from village case studies and data provided in the national censuses of agriculture, the geneses, trajectories and performances of these three types of agricultural production systems are empirically investigated. The study shows an increasing degree of differentiation among the peasants including their transformation into farmers. This illustrates the complexities and disruptions in the development of capitalist agriculture, which tends to refute the notion of a unilinear evolutionary process, as postulated in the Marxian classical model. A striking feature of agrarian transition documented in the study is the transformation of a dualistic agrarian structure, developed largely in the post-land reform era, into petty capitalist and medium production systems, coexisting with predominately small farmer units of production. The analysis demonstrates that various forms of state intervention have largely influenced the processes and outcomes of agrarian transition in contemporary Iran.
Since ancient times Iran, or Persia as it was known in the West, has been mapped extensively. The world's oldest known topographical map is a clay tablet from 2300 BC, showing a part of western Persia. Persian geographers, like Balkhi, Estakhri, Zakariya Qazvini and others, were the main contributors to the thriving field of cartography throughout the early Islamic period (eighth to fourteenth centuries). Ptolemy's fifth map of Asia, which depicts Persia, appeared in all the 59 editions of Geographia, published between 1477 and 1730. Gastaldi produced the first post-Ptolemaic map of Persia in 1559 in Venice, which served as the basis of many later maps for about a century. The first notable innovation in this field came to light when Olearius in his New Map of Persia (1646) changed the Ptolemaic oval shape of the Caspian Sea to an upright rectangle, correcting the latitude of the northern provinces. His map influenced the cartography of Persia for seven decades, until a full Russian survey of the Caspian was carried out in 1720. Dutch, French and German cartographers were all active in mapping Persia. However, it was their British counterparts who succeeded during the nineteenth century to improve the mapping of Persia considerably, based on new surveys, including those carried out by the Survey of India. Some of these maps were politically motivated, showing Baluchistan as a separate state until 1872, when the Goldsmid Commission settled the eastern boundaries of the country. The Pahlavis established several new cartographic institutions in Iran, as a result of which numerous modern maps of the country and its provinces were produced locally from 1930s until the present time. The absence of a good cartobibliography has often deterred scholars from making use of the many detailed maps that were produced. For the period of 1477-1925 the newly published General Maps of Persia (2005) by this author has made such a required work available.
Hiram College, USA
Globalisation is transforming the world economy and challenging the managers of many multinational enterprises (MNEs). Free trade flows have been increasing in response to the World Trade Organisation and regional free trade organisations like NAFTA. Regional trade and investment policies have encouraged regional corporate strategies by MNEs, rather than multi-domestic or global strategies. A number of smaller regional cooperation institutions are in existence, such as ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation) and the Gulf Cooperation Council. These smaller regional developments are playing an important role in the global economy. Also, these institutions cannot be ignored in the broader context of regionalisation. This study proposes the establishment of a larger regional organisation that would incorporate the two into a single one. This proposal is made on the basis of the proximity between the countries, and the need for the expansion of trade between them. More specifically, this paper deals with the following questions and related relevant issues: Under what conditions do states attempt or see the opportunities to establish principles, norms and rules intended to promote regional cooperation? Do nation-states have economic power, political credibility and stability to maintain the regional regime or organisation once it is created?
University of Manitoba, Canada
Existing in a set of manuscripts, representing the author's stages of revision of his work and his changing doctrinal stance, is a medieval Sufi treatise by Shams al-Din al-Daylami (d. ca. 1197 CE), entitled Mir'at al-arwah wa surat al-wijah. The Mir'at al-arwah presents a range of models of time and space in addition to offering a relatively early hermeneutical approach to dream visions in the medieval Islamic context. Although by the end of his scholarly career, Shams al-Din al-Daylami would distance himself from contemporary trends in Islamic dialectical theology and classical philosophy, he originally broached the theological question of the mystic's potential 'vision of God' in the Mir'at al-arwah, and another one of his works, the Jawahir al-asrar. The Jawahir al-asrar, a work guided by the principles of Islamic dialectical theology, is therefore of equal significance to the study of al-Daylami's changing hermeneutical approach to the interpretation of dreams and individual mystical experience. It is most likely through the vehicle of al-Daylami's Jawahir al- asrar that this author's discussions of time and space were transmitted to a number of authors of the Sufi traditions in Azarbaijan and Central Asia; in particular, Mahmud al-Din al- Oshnuhi (or variant spelling, Oshnuwi, fl. twelfth century), Sayf al-Din al-Bakharzi (fl. thirteenth century), and Aziz-i Din Nasafi (fl. thirteenth - fourteenth centuries). This will set forth an account of one period of Persian Sufism in which there was a greater rapprochement between Sufism, Islamic theology, and philosophy than previously assumed through a comparison of al-Daylami's Jawahir and al-Oshnuhi's Ghayat al-imkan, a work often mistakenly attributed to Ayn al-Quzzat al-Hamdani (fl. twelfth century). The paper suggests that a closer examination of the developments within the twelfth-century Persian Sufi traditions provides further insight into the emergence of a new genre of literature concerned with the hermeneutics of dream visions.
Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, France
The Yezidis, a Kurdish-speaking religious minority, possess a strong community identity and a rich collective memory. Many of their historical traditions have until recently been transmitted orally. Some of these are part of a wider discourse of events in Kurdish tribal history and are also told by non-Yezidis; others are exclusive to Yezidis themselves. The past two decades have seen a drive towards recording, compilation and publication of religious traditions amongst the Yezidis of Iraq and the European diaspora, processes which include a considerable element of selection and editing. During the First World War a substantial number of Yezidis came to live in Armenia, joining some who had been there since the early nineteenth century. Many of their religious traditions are different from those practised in Iraq, and discourses of identity are in line with the political context of contemporary Armenia, with many defining themselves as non-Kurdish. Alongside the wider discourses of tribal history, other, more localised defining events are also told, in particular accounts of how Yezidis came to their Armenian villages as refugees, and of the Yezidi military role in important battles against the Turks. Recently, the economic situation has forced many Yezidis to emigrate, to Russia in particular, to find work. Villages are often now inhabited predominantly by the middle-aged and elderly. The role of the village has changed from a socio-economic centre, frequently visited even by those living in towns, to a symbolic lieu de memoire. This paper draws on the preliminary findings of a project begun in 2005 on Yezidi discourses of memory in Armenia. It focuses particularly on the annual day of commemoration of the dead, when Yezidis return to the villages to share a communal meal by the graves of their ancestors.
The Baha'i faith, a newly founded religion with modern elements, grew out of the messianic Babi movement in mid-nineteenth-century Iran. It attracted large numbers of mostly Muslim converts but later its ecumenical message appealed to Iranian Jews who through conversion shared Iranian cultural values and greater harmony with Iranian identity. This study explores the causes and examines the circumstances of these conversion experiences within their social and cultural contexts and addresses the question of why a persecuted minority would choose to join a new religion that was subject to even harsher persecution, rather than seek the relative security of conversion to Islam. It has been argued that Baha'i conversions highlight the convergence of a number of distinct processes at a time of grave historical change, most notably the advent of modernity and national integration. Many Jews migrated from ancient ghettos in order to benefit from economic and social mobility. At a time of high messianic expectations (a primordial theme among Persian Jews), a new faith promising equality and tolerance inspired a sense of optimism and the expectation of an end to prejudice and discrimination. Its acceptance of multiple religious identities provided the necessary space to negotiate new identities in new environments. Economic conditions necessitated a departure from the ghetto that gave the Jews a greater desire to rid themselves of the stigma of the "unclean" Jew and a willingness to re-evaluate traditional belief systems. Baha'i conversion to a large extent removed old cultural barriers and allowed greater assimilation.
Camron Michael Amin
University of Michigan in Dearborn, USA
The very opening lines of the Qajar official gazette, Vaqaye'-e Ettefaqiyeh in 1851 announced the aim of overcoming 'lies' spread about the kingdom. From its inception, the media were as much about controlling Iran's global image as it was about controlling information inside Iran. Where censorship reached its limits, the Qajars sought to befriend expatriate Iranian journalists and make contact with sympathetic Western journalists to bolster their image. The cumulative effect of Qajar efforts was to attempt to modernise, militarise, sanctify and masculinise Iran's global image. When the Pahlavis replaced the Qajars, a more coherent, and less religious public image came to the fore. Though quite different from Qajar propaganda in form and emphasis, the Pahlavis' efforts at public diplomacy through the press employed similar strategies and influenced the priorities of state radio propaganda towards the end of Reza Shah Pahlavi's reign. The programming and scheduling of broadcasts were designed to reach regional audiences and global interests. But in the 1940s, a new element came into radio programming and Pahlavi public diplomacy: Islamic propaganda. These efforts need to be seen in the light of great power propaganda campaigns in the region and with regards to the Iranian press itself. British efforts to silence Habl al-Matin (Calcutta), Kaveh (Berlin) and the Iranian domestic press in the 1920s through the instrument of Reza Khan/Shah were coupled with the production of pro-British press propaganda (an effort which seems to have reached a fever pitch during First World War). These efforts to control information developed alongside new means of mass communication. For example, during Second World War, the British even tried to confiscate radios in Iran to control the flow of information during the Allied Occupation. Fortunately, the story of the battle for global and regional public opinion is well documented in recently published Iranian state archives (on the history of radio in Iran), British India Office Records, and, and its effect on the Iranian media is visible in the pages of the Iranian press - this study draws on all these sources for evidence.
Since the 1979 revolution which brought to power an elite clerical regime, Iranians have left their homeland en masse, whether voluntarily or by force, mainly emigrating to the USA and Canada.
Since then a huge population has lived where opportunity for education and employment has been higher than in any other Western democracy: the United States. Children who were born to these families are Iranian-Americans, consider themselves to be citizens of the United States, and have become part of American society. Nevertheless, many have shown a bonding towards their mother country and language, and the attraction towards Iran has been more widespread in the last decade as Iran has been in the spotlight. Iranian youth who have been born to these families have a higher interest in the history, culture, and politics of their motherland. Many travel to Iran to discover their past and find out more about their ancestral background. This study shows the changes taking place within the Iranian youth in diaspora. It is based on interviews with people from all walks of life: university students, young and successful Iranians in many fields, lawyers, engineers, doctors. This study shows a trend that has taken place within the last few years, especially after the Republican administration took over the White House and President Bush's famous Axis of Evil Speech. The study is broad, examining and speaking to Iranian-Americans in New York, Boston, Berkeley, Los Angeles and Washington DC. In trying to determining a trend within the Iranian diaspora, individuals from different ethnic, social and religious backgrounds were interviewed. Their responses and their behaviour are the core of this paper. Iranian Americans have an impact and influence over the policies of the United States towards Iran and the future relations between the two countries. This study also shows how these young Iranian-Americans can be a major force within their respective communities.
Rutgers University, USA
The international relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been in perpetual crisis since its inception in 1979. While hardly anyone would argue against the fact of the perpetual crisis, there is no unanimity about its causes. The explanations range from foreign conspiracy against the revolution, to premeditated nature of the crisis, to mismanagement of the foreign policy. While such explanations are helpful, they are not adequate for a deeper appreciation of the problem and for remedial prescriptions. This paper argues that the perpetual crisis is rooted in the Islamic nature of the state, failure of the republic in the arena of domestic democratisation, the emergence of a globalised world, the misguided foreign policy priorities, the lackadaisical eastward orientation, and the spiral conflict with America. The paper first offers a periodisation of the international crisis of the Islamic regime, and then explains why the crisis is rooted in particular factors, specifying the factor load for each given period. Examples are provided to demonstrate the arguments, focusing on US-Iran relations. The paper also attempts to project the future direction of the republic's foreign relations if its basic premises were to remain unchanged, and offer recommendations for a more proactive international policy that is more in accord with Iran's national interests.
Raisa I Amirbekyan
Yerevan State University, Armenia
This paper is devoted to the Islamic views on the medical operation known as Caesarean section as reflected in visual arts. I intend to discuss this phenomenon against the background of the illustrative cycles of the various manuscript copies of Ferdowsi Shahnameh from different collections around the world. Early Islamic medicine was an amalgam of Greek, Persian, Jewish and Indian science, side by side with Arabian folk-medicine. Muslims had their own version of Caesarean childbirth, and in the Middle Ages they were the first to write about it in text and poetry and to represent Caesarean childbirth in illustrations of scholars' manuscripts as diagrams, schemas and images, and in compositions of the miniature cycles added to poetic, prose, and didactic books. As the first-ever illustration of such operation in the text book at least 500 years ahead of others, one can regard the miniature from the extremely rare manuscript copy of the book written by al-Biruni (973-1084 CE) called al-Asrar al-baqiyah'an al-Quran al-khaliyadh (The Chronological History of Nations), at the Edinburgh University Library (N161). In his poem Ferdowsi described as well the birth of Rostam. In the illustration of this theme, the visual language is very close to the Shahnameh's original text. Tracing the origin of the iconography of the Caesarean childbirth visualisation in illustrations of Persian, Turkish, and Indian Shahnameh manuscripts made in different regions of the Islamic world during some ten centuries, one can find many common details but also differences connected with various artistic styles, masters' mentality, the seal of time et al., in the framework of the Islamic art tradition.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Over the last five years, weblog writing has created a new public sphere in Iran. Indeed, weblogs reflect the experiences, needs, and aspirations of the population in the real physical world, bearing close relations to the socio-cultural aspects of everyday life. The presence of female bloggers in the Iranian blogosphere (weblogestan) clearly reveals a strong wish to compensate for their restricted presence in a highly moralistic society. For most of these women, weblog writing is initially a means to rediscover their 'true selves', which have been 'hidden' and/or 'repressed' in the real physical spaces in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This process of 'self-discovery' in public and in virtual spaces is based on the absence of body and face to face interactions. These factors allow people to hide their real identity and consequently have a better security publicly to discuss their personal problems or social concerns with the others. However, five years of experiences of blog writing show that many female bloggers, especially those who write under their real names, are likely to encounter more or less the same types of socio-cultural limitations and self censorship that they would in the real world. This study, based on four years of research including focus groups, personal interviews and regular observation of new and continuing weblogs, shows that Iranian women's experience of an 'unveiled' presence in virtual space has also an important impact on their real physical life. It encourages these women to act more freely in their physical public spaces and gradually to alter their behaviour and increase their presence in Iranian physical social space as well.
Amir Mohammad Amirtash
Tarbiat-e Mo'allem University, Tehran, Iran
Normative studies on the Physical Fitness (PF) of the Iranian people in general, and the younger population in particular, are very few. As a result, the purpose of this study is to investigate the physical fitness levels of the 6-18 year old Iranian schoolboys and to develop standard class norms accordingly. A sample of 14,000 schoolboys, from grades 1 to 12, was randomly selected from 65% of the provincial capitals of Iran for the study. The mortality rate was less than 3%. The 'Canadian Award Fitness Test' battery was used to collect data on the different PF components of the subjects. Descriptive statistics were used to provide information such as central tendency and variability indices for each PF Component over the school grades in each one of the participating state capitals. The data were also used to develop standard norms, as well as to create tables and graphs, not only for the necessary statistical representation of the data, but also for providing a basis for comparing grades among themselves and the provincial capitals that were selected for the study as well.
Virginia Military Institute, USA
Part of a major research project entitled 'Russians in Iran (prior to 1917)', this paper analyzes how the Russian government placed people in the Shah's court early in the twentieth century in order to strengthen its influence over the Qajar rulers. The Russian presence aimed at gathering information and promoting Russian interests at the court and was one of several steps taken by Russia as part of its competition with the British to control Iran. Other important moves included taking over Iranian territories, establishing and leading the Persian Cossack Brigade, attempting to dominate the economy and trade of Iran through loans and concessions, and colonizing northern Iran. Russia's grip on Iran's internal affairs in the last decade of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century tightened during the reign of Mozaffar al-Din Shah and Mohammad Ali Shah (r. 1907- 09). The paper covers the appointment of two Russians to important positions in the court of Mohammad Ali Shah. In early February 1907, immediately after his accession, Doctor Sadovskii, the physician at the Cossack Brigade, was appointed as the Shah's physician. And in June of the same year, Captain Smirnov replaced Captain Kol'man as a tutor for two sons of the Shah, including the crown prince. Since the time when Mohammad Ali himself was a crown prince residing in Tabriz, he had employed several Russians in his retinue: Mr Shapshal as his personal secretary, Captain Kol'man as a tutor for his children, Cossack Captain Khabalov in his guard and a Russian head of his arsenal. This paper is based on Russian archival material that reflects the joint efforts by Russian military and diplomatic officials to obtain these two appointments and emphasises in a straightforward way their goals – to increase influence on the Shah and information-gathering at his court. The documents also explain in detail why Doctor Sadovskii and Captain Smirnov were chosen as the best candidates for these sensitive missions. Although Mohammad Ali Shah used the Russian-officered Cossack Brigade for his successful 1908 coup and went into exile in Russia after constitutional forces marched on Tehran in July 1909, the material in this paper is not put into the framework of the constitutional revolution. Instead, it provides detailed examples of an important aspect of Russian imperial politics in Iran – the attempt to gain dominant influence over Qajar rulers by attaching Russians to the imperial court.
University of Texas, Austin, USA
One of the results of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 was (and is) the dominance and sovereignty of the lower-class populace over the rest of the nation. The ascendancy of the common man has brought many changes (in many instances disastrous changes) culturally as well as linguistically and otherwise. Particularly disturbing is the rather damaging influence of the illiterate or the poorly literate upon the Persian language; e.g., the widespread use of are 'yep' vs. the traditional formal/polite bale 'yes'. A rather peculiar change in the usage of pre-revolutionary words and expressions is the replacement of the colloquial 3rd singular copula –e 'is' (for the formal ast) with the long copula hast '(s)he, it exists'. Although in modern Persian both these verbs are derivatives of the Middle Persian (h)ast, they already have taken two different meanings in modern Persian. Therefore, the post-revolutionary colloquial Persian has practically confused two different verbs. What is even more disturbing is the submission of the literate and the scholar to such grave mistakes: even they are now using hast for the colloquial –e. It is very important rapidly and astutely to detect and correct these mistakes in the Persian language, which is already under constant attack from outside Iran, as well as inside (e.g., the penetration of the Los Angeles Far-Gelisi into Iran by the visitors, technocrats, with poor knowledge of Persian, etc.)
Ali M Ansari
University of St Andrews, UK
This paper examines the development of dynastic nationalism under the Pahlavi monarchy (1925-1979), looking in particular at the attempts by Mohammad Reza Shah to define himself and his dynasty within a national narrative with a view to legitimizing the dynasty. The paper looks at the construction of the myth of monarchy and its associations with a specifically Persian/Aryan nationalism, with particular reference to the organisation of the celebrations at Persepolis for the 2500th anniversary of the monarchy, and the Shah's subsequent attempts to define himself as a legitimate and deserving heir to Cyrus the Great. The transition of the Shah from a 'constitutional monarch', to 'democratic sovereign', and finally revolutionary saviour of his people is charted, with particular attention to his increased use of popular mythology and religious symbolism. In this way it is argued that the Shah created the ideological space for the Islamic revolution which followed and that Ayatollah Khomeini successfully moulded the Shah's image to his own purposes. The paper concludes with an assessment of the post-revolutionary reaction to the myth, both in Iran and abroad and suggests that elements of the 'cult of the monarchy' are returning to the popular culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris, France
Although the far-reaching influence of Nezami's work on Persian poetry is widely accepted, it has yet to be assessed with more precision by digging into the texts. As far as literary history is concerned, there is no doubt that Leyli o Majnun has been one of the most influential works in Persian poetry and can be considered as a major 'palimpsest text'. It has inspired numerous poets who not only wrote (for some of them) their own versions of the romance but also to simply refer to the story as a model and to the characters as types or literary topoi. One of the acutest and most complex readers of Nezami was the theologian, spiritual master and poet, Jami of Herat. Jami constantly and almost obsessively refers to Nezami as his master in poetry and to his works as his source of poetic inspiration. His Haft Owrang (or Seven Colours) is composed as an echo to the Khamseh (or the Five Romances) of his elder. This 'mirror effect' is particularly interesting to examine in Leyli o Majnun: a study of the resemblances and the divergences with the original by Nezami will show how Jami has crystallised a spiritual interpretation of the original work. This paper offers a comparison between the poems in order to show that what Jami proposes is a spiritual and poetic commentary on the romance of Leyli o Majnun, on Nezami's work at large and on the concept of metaphysical love.
Institute of Archaeology, UK
In 1968 a group of luminaries in the field of pyrotechnology travelled to Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey, collecting field samples and doing ethnographic studies. They were accompanied by a geologist who took geological samples. The team and trip were organised by Theodore Wertime, 'Cultural Attache' to the American embassy in Iran, who was also a keen student of ancient technology. After the expedition, the artefacts got entangled in bureaucratic knots in Turkey. Luckily, Beno Rothenberg got an exit permit for the artefacts, retrieved them, and stored them in Israel, where they remained until a chance meeting with an Iranian student at the IoA. As part of a dissertation, they were re-boxed, re-labelled, catalogued and stored at the Institute of Archaeology, with the help of field notes, photographs, personal letters, published and unpublished reports, which were collected from the team members. This paper examines the socio-economic and political context of the 1968 expedition. Besides the 'Pyrotechnological Survey' there was much else that went on, including the fact that despite very little research being carried out on the artefacts and few articles being published about the expedition, the geological samples became the subject of a 260page report paid for by the US Naval Research. The report lists the resources of the areas visited in the three countries during the survey. In the case of Iran, most interestingly, uranium was located in the heart of the country. Meanwhile since 2000 Iran has been under scrutiny and at times threat for its civilian nuclear energy ambitions.
In a memoir published by his son, Wertime is quoted as being a CIA man, but the geologist Klinger could not have known the multiple uses to which his 'collection of scientific samples' would be put.
Islamic Azad Universtiy, Iran
New Julfa is a quarter in the southern part of the city of Isfahan established by the order of Shah Abbas I as a temporary and later permanent district for the Armenian residents of the city. At first, other than a very small Zoroastrian minority, New Julfa was exclusive to the Armenians. Eventually, other Eastern Christian communities found residence in the neighbourhood and with increased connection with the West, Catholic missionaries from Europe gained access to the quarter and began soliciting the Safavid kings for permits to build their own churches. This act created animosity between the predominately Gregorian Armenians and the various Catholic orders – such as the Augustines, Carmelites, Capuchins and Jesuits – vying for presence amongst the Armenian community. These antagonisms were more than intra-Christian sectarian strife; they signified competition amongst the various Catholic orders for access to the Persian court. At times, the Armenian resistance to Western Christian encroachment led the leaders of o the community actively tpseek the banning of other orders from residing and building churches in New Julfa. This paper, on the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the establishment of New Julfa, looks at the Christian community of New Julfa under the Savafids by studying unpublished documents from the Vank Church archives, reports from Catholic missions in New Julfa, as well as eyewitness reports from travellers of the period.
Jones School of Business, State University of New York at Geneseo, USA
Cornell University, USA
There is much literature written about the economic principles that promote economic development. However, there is not enough emphasis in the literature on the importance of institutions that impel for a sustainable economic development. The existence of a representative and sustainable governmental institution is critical to a country's long term economic development. An educational institution that is built up on fundamentals of democratic values is required; applying democratic processes for the development of human resources would in the long run guarantee a democratic system. In the past one hundred years Iran and Turkey have tried to build a sustainable democratic system. Some empirical evidence shows that, regardless of political system in short run, a country needs some degree of economic stability and growth (i.e., South Korea) to build a long term stable government institution. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that a transparent and representative political institution is essential for sustainable economic development and that an educational institutional system is the foundation of it. We discuss different components of institutions and their relationship with economic development in a Iran, South Korea, and Turkey. In our study we learn from the recent democratic process of other countries (e.g., South Korea) and we propose some fundamental issues (e.g., organisation) that need special attention in order to build a sustainable democratic system.
Imam Sadiq University,Tehran, Iran
Visual communication is one aspect of American public diplomacy that was visible in Iran throughout the Pahlavi reign. This paper analyses the propaganda messages produced by Marzha-ye Now (New Frontiers), a monthly official publication of the US Information Agency (USIA) from 1964 to 1979. This fully-illustrated magazine was published for an audience of Iranian intellectuals in order to promote the American way of life. Visual analysis of Marzha-ye Now uses persuasive, informative and agenda-setting indicators through 20 expressive, 2 descriptive and 12 interpretive analytical questions. By analyzing a sample of 2151 images (photographs, paintings and graphic designs) from 162 issues of this magazine, this study shows that in contrast to similar American and Soviet illustrated magazines which reflected audience values ('Look! We are just like you!'), Marzha-ye Now insisted mainly on the expression of sender values ('Look! You too can be just like us!').
This talk concentrates on the linguistic evolution of modern languages in general and the efficacy of Persian as a vibrant and fluid living language in today's world of evolving technology, human thought and social progress. The talk is based on the author's study of the evolution of the English language and its transformative relationship to the intellectual and scientific development of the modern world for the past few centuries. The study shows that the growth of English as a modern language has enjoyed a dialectical existence vis-a-vis the concepts and ideas. underpinning the modern world. This existence has been sustained by the constant development of innovative linguistic structures and systems for the creation of new concepts. The process is one that has continuously overcome the language's own limitations through returning to its own linguistic 'raw material' (primarily from the Classical languages of Greek and Latin) and by placing this raw material in novel mechanical and technical formations. In comparison, the Persian language has remained within its predetermined 'natural' formulations, i.e., it has retained the language's 'acceptable' evolutionary process defined primarily through the rules and structures of its classical poetry. As such, Persian has not found new formulations to adapt to the exigencies of the modern world. The Persian language, much like the under- and uneven development of the society and economy of the Iranian nation, has failed to find a stable and structured existence in modern society.
In the Islamic Republic different political forces and cultures are vying for power and control over the political and cultural battleground. These cultures are constructed in and represented by three different types of cinema, 1) the 'model cinema', 2) the 'social problem cinema', and 3) the 'quality cinema'. This paper examines some of the recurring themes in the 'model cinema', consisting of war and 'revolutionary' films. This cinema is supported by the hardline factions in government and is the least popular of all genres. The papers looks at how revolutionary cinema coopted the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal discourse from the left, dehumanised the counterrevolutionary forces, reconstructed the past and, in 1990s film, tackled the Bosnian and Palestinian cause and changed its focus from Savak to terrorism aimed at the Islamic Republic.
Sebouh David Aslanian
Columbia University, USA
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, New Julfans were not only successful merchants in India but also great benefactors of the Armenian cultural 'revival movement' underway in the eighteenth-century Armenian diaspora settlements in Europe and India. This paper examines the patronage activities of Julfa merchants in eighteenth-century India. It focuses, in particular, on the circulation of merchant capital and financial backing that allowed a small band of Armenian Catholic missionaries, based in Venice and known as the Mechitarist Congregation, to establish not only a new canon for Armenian literature through their prolific literary and publishing activities, but also an Armenian College in Venice and Paris. The Moorat Raffael College was the leading Armenian centre of higher education during the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries. It was established in accordance with the express wishes of a wealthy Catholic Armenian merchant from New Julfa named Eduard Raffael Gharamiants who had settled in Madras and the nearby French settlement of Pondicherry in the second half of the eighteenth century. Relying on the will of Eduard Raffael, court papers stored in London concerning the Moorat Raffael College, and travel diaries of Mechitarist monks who were sent to the Armenian community of Madras in the second half of the seventeenth century to raise funds for their educational and cultural activities in Venice, this paper explores the vital role of Julfa merchants in bankrolling the Armenian 'revival' movement in Venice. Theoretically, this paper argues that the circulation of capital was a crucial aspect not only of Julfan economic history, but also of the cultural history of the Armenian 'revival movement' in the diaspora.
University of Oxford, UK
In his Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Justin (41.5.8-10) relates that the third Parthian ruler Phriapatius reigned fifteen years and bequeathed the throne to his eldest son, Phraates I. Having defeated the powerful Mardian tribes, Phraates appointed his brother Mithradates as his successor and died shortly thereafter. Although Justin omits Phriapatius' paternity and dynastic link with Arsaces II, the genealogical record on the Nisa ostracon 2638 (1760) confirms Phriapatius as a descendant of the brother of Arsaces I, the founder of the Parthian dynasty. In recounting Arsacid exploits in Bactria and Babylonia, Orosius (5.4.16) states that Mithradates I was the sixth king after Arsaces I. Unfortunately, Orosius offers nothing further on Mithradates I, including his relationship with the intervening rulers. A recently published inscribed ostracon from Nisa attests that a great-grandson of Arsaces I also ruled as Parthian king. I have shown elsewhere that this prince succeeded Phriapatius, reigned briefly as the fourth Arsaces and left no mature son on his death. Crown and command passed, once again, to the collateral Arsacid branch enabling the sons of Phriapatius, Phraates I and Mithradates I, to assume the diadem as the fifth and sixth Parthian rulers. This paper presents additional evidence to amend Justin's incomplete genealogy of the early Parthian rulers and show his intentional omission of the reign of Arsaces IV.
International Institute of Social History, Netherlands
During the revolution of 1979, social and political unrest with an ethnic flavour was often registered. The revolts in Kurdistan and Turkmensahra in early 1979 - which in the Kurdistan case lasted for another six years – the political unrest in Khuzistan and Baluchistan in mid-1979, and the political unrest in Azarbaijan in late 1979 to early 1980 were the major ethnic unrests the new regime faced in its early days of formation. However, all these rebellions were exclusively founded and organised by local political elites and activists and there were barely any references to non-elite popular autonomous participation. However, by the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, and during the period of 'reconstruction' and partial liberalisation under President Rafsanjani, the notion of ethnic rights gradually entered into the general discourse of individualism, individual autonomy and citizenship which was the preoccupation of the reformist circles. Such contributions became even more vivid during President Khatami's terms, exposing connections between the issues of citizenship and individual rights, including the rights of ethnic minorities in contemporary Iran. It was indeed during this period that writing on ethnic groups' distant past gradually became an intellectual enterprise engaging a large number of ethnic minorities' intelligentsias. Writing ethnic history has developed into a persuasive political project, shaping a significant and unbroken link with each ethnic group's constructed past, aiming to fill the gap between the ethnic group's origin and its actuality. The aim of the present study is to present a picture of tireless endeavours among ethnic minorities in Iran in constructing their immediate or distant past. The paper further examines the contribution of crafted ethnic historiography in Iran's contemporary political culture.
Spatial justice in the city, or fair and equal access to housing and urban amenities as basic citizenship rights and expectations, has been an integral part of the political imaginary and the public discourse of key social actors in Iran, both prior to and after the 1979 revolution. The persistent articulation of the demand for equal access to urban space by these social actors - whether state planners, politicians, political leaders, shanty dwellers, migrants, or public employees - succeeded in turning the issue into one of the essential agendas of the revolution, to the extent that the right to decent housing was enshrined in a key article in the constitution of the Islamic Republic. Furthermore, spontaneous public land grabs, populist state policies, and the confiscation of the landed properties of former regime associates, led to a major transfer of urban land and public resources after 1979. As a result of this combination of grassroots actions and public policy the shape of Iranian cities, their scale and the composition of their population has been radically transformed. The aim of this paper is to analyze the material, as well as the socio-cultural implications of this transformation of urban space, and the redistribution and reconfiguration of urban housing in post-revolutionary Iran. Evaluating the impact of the praxis of 'spatial justice in the city' demonstrates that major strides were indeed made in the first two decades after the revolution, in providing a more egalitarian access to urban space to various social groups and classes. Nevertheless, the actual impact of this urban transformation is paradoxical and far from clear-cut, as demonstrated by recent reversals in this relatively egalitarian trend. The unintended consequences of this experience, from the uncontrolled expansion of cities to the mounting difficulties of effective democratic governance, is the focus of the second part of the paper.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
The paper presents one of the central themes of my forthcoming book on Nader Shah. Nader initiated in Persia a military revolution comparable to that which had been achieved in many European states in the preceding centuries, through the introduction of gunpowder weapons for all his troops, through the improvement of drill and training to maximise firepower, through his establishment of a permanently constituted and regularly paid army, and through its enormous expansion. These developments meant that at its peak in the early 1740s, Nader's army was the most powerful single military force in Asia, and possibly the world. Building on recent research by others (notably Rudi Matthee), which has suggested that geographic conditions and cultural factors meant that the Safavid regime never fully realised the potential of gunpowder weapons, the paper examines the state of the Safavid military system in the last years of the dynasty, suggesting that its decline may have been exaggerated. The paper then considers the Afghan revolt, its military effects, and Nader's response. After an examination of the nature and structure of Nader's army at its height, drawing on new source material (and addressing the significance of religious factors) the paper then looks at the effects of Nader's military policies on the country generally and briefly consider where they could have led if his regime had not crashed to disaster in the later 1740s. Given the widespread view that the military revolution in Europe was centrally important to the processes of state formation and economic development there, the paper suggest sthat the failure of Nader's Afsharid dynasty was a great lost opportunity in Iranian history.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
In the spirit of Alan Bray this paper looks at the connections between idealised representations of masculine friendship and the official condemnation of sodomy in the Safavid period. Concentrating on the idioms of friendship produced in two epistemologically related spaces - the confraternities and the Safavid court in Isfahan - the paper begins to distinguish the meanings and protocols of intimacy and the ethical contours of a practice that has traditionally tied men together in amity. The paper explores these overlapping coordinates of friendship, love, and spirituality in order to understand the range of social systems in the Safavid world. How does the characterisation of friendship in visual and literary texts bear upon its particular social contexts? What becomes evident is that intimacy and its potential for erotic expressions in these male homosocial spaces came to be perceived at various crucial moments in history as a threat to productive society. This paper is a preliminary study for a larger analysis of the relations between gender segregation and sexual politics and the social and political economy of institutions such as the court, the guild and the marketplace.
Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia, Iran
In Zoroastrian and Manichaean thought, az (greed) is a demon which causes the body to be destroyed, and deprives the spirit of salvation. The word az means 'try and effort' in Old Iranian, but its meaning has been changed and limited to the currently used one, referring to greed. One of the very few Persian literary texts in which this word has been treated in its mythical sense, is Naser Khosrow's Divan, where az has kept its demon character, which shows the influence of Zoroastrian thought on Naser Khosrow's poetry. This paper deals with the instances which prove this claim.
Shahriyar Library, Tabriz, Iran
Iran's history has been one of a continuous search for sources of fresh water and the qanat is one of the oldest and primary solutions to this problem. Historians and specialists do not agree on the exact origins of the qanat system in Iran, but it is certain that the use of these underground canals goes back a few millennia, making Iran the probable birth-place of this technology. The city of Tabriz has played an important role throughout the history of Iran and according to numerous travelogues and memoirs it is said to have been enriched by at least one hundred underground qanat waterways of which only a few have remained. This paper is a culmination of studies on the destruction and abandonment of the qanats of Tabriz in the past one hundred years based primarily on the manuscript of Tarikh va joghrafiya-ye Dar al-Saltaneh-ye Tabriz by Nader Mirza. The paper also presents a study of the few remaining qanats that are still in use.
Columbia University, USA
In the modern Iranian context proper, both under the Pahlavis and the Islamic Republic, the systematic abuse of human rights has always been a paramount concern among both Iranians and foreign observers. The purpose of this paper is to open up the domain of discussion by 1) exploring the endemic issues and problems within the human rights discourse proper, 2) expand that discussion into a wider spectrum of contemporary Iranian history during the twentieth century, and 3) subject the result to a feminist critique. Often a categorical, uncritical, and abstract notion of human rights is applied to an Iranian context that has already been radically Islamicised. The paper therefore exposes some of the innate issues domestic to the human rights discourse before we have even applied it to a condition similar to Iran, while at the same time opening up the Iranian political culture beyond its current and forced cornering into an absolutist and Islamist domain. The presentation intends to demonstrate that a familiarity with modern Iranian history over the last two hundred years shows that a multiplicity of ideologies and political practices have allowed for a much wider reading, interpretation and application of universal human rights than the current Islamic discourse allows or projects. The current leaders and ideologues of the Islamic Republic who are in opposition with certain norms and practices of the Islamic Republic have in effect plunged the current Iranian political culture ever deeper into an Islamist language. The paper thus opens that domain to a wider reading of modern Iranian history, extend it to its origin in pre-Islamic Revolution era of the Pahlavis, and back to the constitutional period, all by way of navigating a fuller spectrum of ideological and political operation, within which we can have a more historically accurate and thematically cogent conception of human rights, its uses and abuses, in the Iranian domain. Finally, the paper offers a postcolonial feminist critique, to open up the false binary opposition between human rights and Islamism, yet another version of 'Islam and the West', and propose a more historically balanced view of the predicament of human rights in Iran.
University of Manchester, UK
The history of Iranian foreign policy under the Qajars and under Reza Shah (as opposed to the history of the policies pursued by other powers vis-a-vis Iran) has so far received extremely little scholarly attention. However, from the slightly more abundant literature on other powers' Iran policies it transpires that ever since the early nineteenth century those in charge of Iran's foreign policy had been trying to mitigate the pressure on the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity that resulted from the constantly increasing Anglo-Russian economic, political and military encroachment by a two-fold strategy: the attempt to play Iran's two imperialist neighbours off against each other and the quest for a – colonially non-interested – benevolent 'third power' that would allow the Iranians to counter-balance the dangerous growth of Anglo-Russian influence, and ideally even provide some sort of security guarantee for the independent survival of the Iranian realm. This paper tries to shed light on the relationship between this 'third power' diplomacy and Iranian public opinion between 1896 and 1924, a period that witnessed not only a great upsurge in newspaper/journal production but also longish periods of relative great freedom of press thus arguably being a time when public opinion in the common sense of the word emerged for the first time in Iran. Hence for the purpose of this paper, public opinion is gauged mainly by a case study-based analysis of influential specimens of the contemporary print media although memoirs and official papers are also scrutinised where appropriate. he main ambition of this paper is to chart how public opinion perceived and assessed Iranian diplomacy's (often elusive) quest for a third power, but it also asks to what degree public opinion had spawned discourses of qodrat-e sevvom, which in turninfluenced foreign policy-makers' decisions. The paper thus tries to make a contribution towards an endeavour that remains currently a desideratum, namely an analysis of the genesis, impact, and legacy of some major foreign policy discourses such as neutrality, third power, negative equilibrium, equidistance, non-alignment, neither East nor West etc. that have surfaced since Iran's emergence as a modern nation-state in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Urmia University, Iran
In September 1932, Zanjan was one of the many northern Iranian cities that were put under Soviet bombardment. This attack and the ensuing occupation of the region by the Soviet army had short and long-term repercussions. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing and occupation of the city, the Soviet troops began interfering in the formal and informal administration of the area (from military engagement to the encouragement of the peasants to withhold payments to the central government). In the aftermath of the war, the Soviets retained their influence in Zanjan through the Tudeh Party which was formed in 1935. The occupation of Zanjan by the Ferqeh-ye Demokrat was a direct result of this influence. This influence continued for almost a decade where the party's presence was an unavoidable part of Zanjan's daily life and administration. This study is based on the analysis of primary sources from the era about the events preceding and succeeding the formation of the Tudeh Party in Zanjan during Second World War.
University of North Dakota, USA
Narrative pace can refer to the ratio of events plotted against the page count; it can mean the tactics a writer devises to move from one scene to the next. It can also refer to the sentence-by-sentence experience of reading story. Mahshid Amirshahi's narrative speed is easy to demonstrate, and can be analyzed at all three levels. There are cases where the right narrating voice creates opportunities for flexibility and a sense of speed. The eight stories recounted by her adolescent narrator Suri (translated, by J. E. Knoerzer, as Suri and Co.) make an appropriate laboratory for examining this phenomenon. This paper proposes to track them as one might a film, in which we can visualise the point of view as one might a series of camera shots, where the camera may move, where the scene may shift, where a voice-over may intervene unexpectedly.
Denison University, USA
American University of Paris, France
This paper is a theoretical-empirical examination of the effects of revolution, Islamic populism, protracted war, and economic crisis on the class nature of the work force in the agricultural sector of Iran. Relying on decomposition technique and class theory, based on the data for three censuses of 1976, 1986 and 1996, the study maps the trajectory of agricultural class changes in Iran. This analysis is in the context of a model of structural involution and de-involution for the examination of post-revolutionary type of economic crises. By differentiating the employment effect from the class effect, the study confirms that in the involutionary period (1986 in comparison to the pre-revolutionary year, 1976) Iranian agriculture underwent a process of peasantisation, corresponding to the de-proletarianisation process experienced in the rest of the economy. In the second period (1996, compared to 1986), the policy of economic liberalisation (starting from 1990), and rejuvenation of capitalist relations of production, began the de-involutionary process, which set into motion a notable trend toward de-peasantisation (proletarianisation) of agriculture, and the rural sector, more or less in step with the same trend in the rest of Iranian economy.
San Francisco State University, USA
The 1979 Iranian revolution has produced a large amount of literature by various leftist groups, from the Muslim Mojahedin to pro-Soviet Tuden Party to the 'Majority' and 'Minority' factions of the Feda'iyan Guerrillas. This paper will examine the analysis of the revolution and the Islamic Republic state by the aforementioned leftist organisations. Next, the paper will examine the approaches of the same groups 25 tears later and in light of changes that has occurred both in Iran and in the international environment. The paper will base its argument on both primary sources publications of various organisations) and secondary sources (books and articles published about various organisations).
California State University, Long Beach, USA
This paper examines the Sherimans, a wealthy Iranian-Armenian merchant family, with origins in early seventeenth century New Julfa and branches as far west as Italy, especially Venice, and as far east as Madras (India) and Pegu (Burma) and as recent as the nineteenth century. In addition to merchants, the Sheriman family included highly-placed state officials, military and religious officials, and counts. The family's journeys and dispersion from southwest Asia to western Europe and southeastern Asia began decades after they were first established in Iran, which in itself was the consequence of displacement and dislocation. The Sherimans were among Shah Abbas' deportees, being settled in New Julfa in the early seventeenth century and playing a significant role in the domestic and international commerce of Iran by taking advantage of its contacts within and outside the country. Through the study of family correspondence, memoirs, and other family material acquired in Venice and the Vatican, this paper views the Sheriman family as a link between Iran and Europe and more generally East and West as they travelled and toiled between southwest Asia, Europe, and southeast Asia. The Sheriman case illustrates the important role of migratory circulation and cultural hybridity in the family's networks, survival, and even success in different parts of the world. The Sherimans are a perfect example of the significance of the function of merchants in bridging political and cultural gaps through extensive travel and economic transactions in multiple empires and regions. The Sheriman family's history also sheds light on the important role that multiple identity plays in the cosmopolitan existence of the Armenian merchant family. A pliable and fluid identity was a key factor in the ability of the multi-generational members of the Sheriman family, whether in Julfa or Venice, to achieve religious, military, and intellectual distinction as well as great wealth, political influence, and social clout.
International Institute of Asian Studies, Netherlands
This paper traces the social and economic relations between Iran and India in the eighteenth century through the study of the Armenian migration and community in India. Large-scale settlement of Armenians in India followed the forced evacuation of Julfa in Armenia by Shah Abbas in the beginning of the seventeenth century. While proximity of Iran to India – the key-role player in Asian trade in premodern times – partly explains the situation, the politico-social developments in New Julfa from the late seventeenth century onwards played an equally important role in the decision of Armenians of New Julfa to seek other bases of operation. Khoja Petrus Woskan (b. New Julfa, 1680 - d. Madras, January 15, 1751) was such a person who left New Julfa for Madras in 1705. His Book of Will, containing the last will and testament that Woskan prepared before he passed away, was translated into English and presented to the Mayor's Court in Fort St George, Madras. While the will is an important document showing the networks of Petrus and the continuous circulation of goods, information, human and capital resources between Iran and India that sustained Armenian trade in that period, it also sheds important light on the historiography of the Armenians of New Julfa and India.
The Textile Museum of Washington, USA
By the eleventh century CE, from Spain to India, seemingly complex geometric patterns adorn most major Islamic monuments. Too often this extraordinary phenomenon is treated as inconsequential, as geometric patterns in the treatment of Western art history are considered to be ornamental and decorative, nonrepresentational and, therefore, meaningless. The reasons for this rapid proliferation have not been adequately explained. This paper focuses on two octagonal tomb towers dated to the 11th century, which are located on the Iranian Plateau between Hamadan and Qazvin at Kharraqan, in an effort to shed light on representational meanings associated with geometric pattern in Islamic monuments. Dated by inscription, these monuments are constructed of fired, unglazed bricks, which are arranged to form numerous geometric patterns that cloak the building's eight faces as a revetment. In addition to the date, the inscriptions also give the name of the architect, Muhammad ibn Makki al-Zanjani. Beyond the raw historical data of name and date, what means are available for us to assess the constructed meanings these buildings once had within their original cultural milieu? This paper takes as its starting point an assumption that art, as allegory, may be interpreted on many levels. Mithal is the Arabic term used to refer both to Islamic philosophical allegory and to geometric example or model; the word itself presupposes likeness or resemblance. Looking at location, choice of inscription, and contemporary issues in local philosophical discourse, this paper articulates a direct relationship between geometric patterns visually expressed, and topics of ontological interest and metaphysical exposition that were being discussed in early Saljuq Iran. Drawing upon tenets of Islamic theology, it is argued that these designs, far from being merely ornamental, designate meanings appropriate to their funerary context, thereby illuminating a temporal and spatial specificity of meaning for Islamic geometric ornament.
Abu Musa Muhammad Arif Billah
SOAS, University of London, UK and the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Persian influence on Hindi and Bengali or other South Asian literatures is a common phenomenon. History reveals that since time immemorial a close cultural relation has existed between these two regions. After the advent of Islam in India this relation reached its zenith. Sana'i, Attar, Rumi, Hafez, Jami, Nezami etc, contributed a lot to produce voluminous work in this field. Fana, baqa, asheq, mashuq, etc. are the main features of Persian Sufi tradition. As Persia is considered a cradle of the Islamic Sufi tradition, medieval Persian poetry played a significant role in generating the Sufi poetic genre within its framework, which left much influence to reproduce an Indian style of Sufi literary tradition. Based on this tradition, hundreds of poets wrote thousands of poems. Malik Muhammad Jayasi's Hindi Padmavati and Alaol's Bengali Padmavati are the best examples of them. Jayasi not only embellishes his Sufi thought by Attar's fana concept but he also designed the narrative structure of his poem following Attar's Mantiqu't$ T$airespecially the story of Sheikh-e San 'an. Alaol gets further infusion by the mystic trend of Attar and extended his Sufi thought from his predecessor Jayasi's fana to Attar's fana and baqa in his poem. The principal aim of this paper is to focus on how these two medieval poets were influenced by Attar in developing their poetic and mystic thoughts.
Ilker Evrim Binbas
University of Chicago, USA
This paper focuses on the Oghuz Khan Narratives in late medieval Persianate historiography. The Oghuz Khan narrative is an ethnogonic myth on the mythistory of Oghuz Khan and his descendants recorded in a cycle of genealogical narratives. Competing to a certain extent with the Mongol genealogical narratives, the Oghuz Khan narrativesbecame a common theme in many dynastic genealogies and also in the universal histories written in the post-Mongol political context in the area stretching from Istanbul to Samarkand. Especially in the fifteenth century, when Islamic dynasties like the Ottomans traced their ancestry back to Oghuz Khan, these narrativesgained an additional political impetus due to the competition between the Ottomans and Timurid successor states, such as the Aqquyunlu and Qaraquyunlu. However, even in the areas where Chingizid prestige was strongly felt, the Oghuz Khan narratives were commonly circulated, and probably some oral versions entered into the literary historical traditions and vice versa, especially in Central Asia. The presentation compares three representative Oghuz Khan narratives found in three chronicles. The first one is the Ilkhanid historian Rashid al-Din's Jami' al-tavarikh, the second is the Timurid historian Sharaf al-Din Yazdi's Zafarnameh, and the third is the Ottoman historian Shukr Allah's Bahjat al-tavarikh. The paper argues that the change in and the use of the Oghuz Khan narratives in different historical sources and contexts can be explained with the narratives' relationship with the competing models of sovereignty in late medieval Islamic history.
City University of New York, USA
This paper discusses three narrative poems that for several decades have occupied a prominent position in the repertoire of the Bakhshis in northern Khorasan. The verses in Kurmanji Kurdish about 'Imam Reza: Protector of the Gazelle' and 'The Meeting of Imam Ali and Khezr' are attributed to the nineteenth-century poet Ja'far Qoli, as is the Kurmanji version of 'Imam Ali: the Hawk and the Dove.' A second version of the latter story that is currently sung in Khorasani Turkish is an adaptation of a Turkmen poem evidently composed by the eighteenth-century poet Magtymguly Pyragi (1733-1783), and it is sung to a musical mode (maqam) that strongly resembles a mode used by the Yarsan and Ahl-e Haqq in Iranian Kurdistan. The music history of northern Khorasan has been shaped by interaction among speakers of Persian, Kurdish, Turkmen, and Khorasani Turkish. Several aspects of that history can be approached through an analysis of these texts and the musical resources used in performing them. The materials on which this analysis is based include recordings made at various times during the past 36 years and the critical edition of Ja'far Qoli's poems published by Kalimollah Tavahodi.
Netservia Labs, USA
Hofstra University, USA
Columbia University, USA
Princeton University, USA
The authors of this presentation discuss the design and creation of a unique electronic lexical resource, dubbed PersiaNet, as an important step towards making Persian more accessible for linguistic, literary, and cultural studies. PersiaNet is modelled on WordNet, a lexical database that has been created for over 30 languages world-wide and has found wide acceptance among theoretical and applied linguists (Fellbaum 1998, Vossen 1999). Nouns, verbs, and adjectives are grouped into sets of synonyms (synsets), each representing a canonicalised concept. Synsets are interrelated by means on conceptual-semantic and lexical relations including hyponymy, meronymy, antonymy, and entailment. The result is a large semantic network, where word meanings are represented and made accessible not by means of definitions but in terms of their relations to other words. The authors developed an interface, compatible with both Roman and Persian script, that allows lexicographers in different locations to populate the database with Persian synsets and to develop the semantic network. PersiaNet utilises a single common database that can be accessed and shared by each lexicographer. PersiaNet will constitute a powerful tool for various Natural Language Processing applications including machine translation and information retrieval. It is directly mappable onto dozens of other wordnets, allowing for cross-linguistic applications and lexical comparison. Applications for creating Persian language education materials, multi-lingual dictionaries of Persian, and a tool for converting digital Persian text in the current Perso-Arabic alphabet into Latinised Persian transcription will be potential by-products of PersiaNet.
Syracuse University, USA
It is generally accepted that the post-revolutionary political leadership in Iran is radically different from its predecessors. Yet, even after 26 years, our knowledge of the new ruling elite is still rather skeletal. To address this problem the author created an up-to-date and comprehensive data set containing biographical information on over 1,500 political personalities in post-revolutionary Iran. This dataset covers ministers in eleven different cabinets, members of seven parliaments, members of five Council of Guardians, and members of three Assemblies of Experts. Based on an analysis of the information contained in the database, the paper analyzes the recruitment, composition, and rotation of the new ruling elite in Iran by discussing such issues as their class origin, provincial background, age composition, educational pedigree, and frequency of election/appointment. The analysis of the data shows that circulation of elites in post-revolutionary Iran happens most at the bottom of the elite pyramid (the majles) due to the public's desire for change. At the same time, the institutions wielding greatest power have been the ones most resistant to change (Assembly of Experts and the Council of Guardians).
Centre for Regional Studies, Barnaul State Pedagogical University, Russia
This paper aims to shed light on a little-known and ill-investigated quasi-democratic experiment in Afghanistan localised in the Herat area (1929 to early 1930s), and the role of Herat in Afghan domestic as well as international/regional politics. The study is primarily based on recently declassified Russian foreign ministry archives. Herat is one of the oldest cities of Asia, and the capital of the province by the same name, currently in Afghanistan. Historically, Herat was the largest centre of Safavid Iran, and later the Durrani Empire. The most powerful rulers of central and western Asia have constantly struggled for Heart: Persians tried to maintain their historical and cultural influence on this area, while Afghans always feared what they perceived as centrifugal trends. British and Russians made their own stakes in the 'Great Game' and kept their eye on Herat as well. Geographically and ideologically Heart accepted the influences of bordering Persia since the early twentieth century. The failure of King Amanullah's reforms (1919-1929) resulted in the split of Afghanistan into several centres of power: the Tajik Bacha-e Saqao in Kabulistan, the turbulent southern and eastern provinces, the coalitional Afghan north, and finally the Herat Republic by Abdurrahim. The latter actually introduced an autonomous self-governance in Herat that allowed him to maintain socio-economic and political balance within this large border region during the civil war (Enqelab of1929). The political set-up of 'Herat Republic' was conditioned by his charismatic leadership, counterbalanced by the newly-established majles dominated by the clergy and local nobility. Herat's populist version of democracy was undermined by the functioning of Sharia courts and oppression of the Shiites. The idea of Herat regional autonomy was repeated during the recent civil war in Afghanistan and the agenda of local self-governance is still open. The paper looks at one other major factor: the contradictory, competitive and collaborative influences of Russia and Iran in Afghanistan and in the northwest areas in particular.
Aga Khan University, UK
The Persian tradition of Euclid's Elements is closely connected with the Arabic transmission of the work in Iran, Central Asia and India. This tradition does not have a single but, rather, multiple starting points, i.e., despite the overwhelming impact the Nasir al-Din al-Tusi's Arabic edition of the Elements had upon the Persian tradition of the text, it was not the only Arabic version translated into Persian. As for its impact upon other genres of mathematical texts, there seems to have been no marked differences between the two linguistic traditions. On the institutional level, too, the Persian tradition like the Arabic one lived in different spaces – the courts, the madrasa and the sphere of the interested individual. This paper discusses whether these macro-level parallels dissolve or at least modify and show greater variations when we start looking at them from various micro-level perspectives. A second issue discussed in the paper is whether the profound differences in the arts that evolved with and after the Ilkhanid dynasty between the Arab-speaking and the Persianate regions, included a different attitude or usage of Euclid's Elements.
Monash University, Australia
The wedding ceremony traditionally represents a community's most significant celebration and an opportunity for a broad musical repertoire to be performed. As a celebration of both transition and continuity, the wedding is a site of hope and nostalgia, joy and poignant reflection. It is also, of course, a community gathering and therefore a performance site on a more general level. All these aspects are reflected in the ways music is chosen and performed at weddings. This paper explores musical practices at weddings in Australia's Iranian migrant communities and analyses some of the sociopolitical and cultural meanings of musical choices and performances. For migrants from Iran to Australia, the significance of the wedding as turning point is complicated by the experience of migration and its various effects on different generations, and by the community's changing collective position in Australian society and its changing relations with its 'homeland'. In many cases, when the bride and groom celebrate their transition from their two respective homes to their marital home, they also imaginatively enact a transition from the 'Iranian' world of their parents to the 'Australian' world of their (usually) desired children. However, the meanings of 'Iranian' and 'Australian' are rarely clear and the desire to be affiliated with aspects of one or the other often relates to paradoxical notions of success and morality, tradition and modernity, pleasure and security. Often difficult to verbalise, these desires and ideals are reflected in musical performances. In this paper I examine a few examples of the particular combinations of 'Iranian', 'Losanjelesi' and 'Australian' wedding music sounds that reflect the various subtleties of particular migrants' cultural memories and imaginaries and their forms of sociopolitical identification.
Dominic Parviz Brookshaw
McGill University, Canada
Jahan-Malek Khatun (d. ca. 1390) is premodern Iran's most prolific woman poet. Her divan (edited and published for the first time in Tehran in 1995) contains over 1,400 ghazals, several hundred ruba'is and a small number of muqatta's and qasidas. Jahan-Malek was an Injuid princess, the only child of Jalal al-Din Mas'ud Shah ibn Sharaf al-Din Mahmud Shah to survive to adulthood. After the death of her father she sought the protection (and possibly also the patronage) of her uncle, Sheikh Abu Ishaq. Jahan-Malek Khatun married her uncle's chief nadim, and she appears to have begun composing poetry during his lifetime. What makes Jahan-Malek Khatun and her poetry so interesting to scholars of Persian ghazal poetry in the fourteenth century is that she composed poetry for (or during the reign of) many of the same Injuid and Muzaffarid patrons as her more famous male contemporaries, such as Hafez and 'Obayd-e Zakani. The volume of Jahan-Malek's poetry is impressive, as are the style and complexity of her ghazals which echo that of the poems of Hafez in particular. This paper provides a brief biography of Jahan-Malek Khatun, locate her within the literary milieu of fourteenth century Shiraz, and discuss the various ways in which she ingeniously employs both male and female poetic personae in her poetry. The discussion of the gender of the poetic voice in Jahan-Malek's poetry is focused on her incorporation of elements from well known Iranian amorous tales, such as Khosrow va Shirin, Yusof o Zolaykha and Layli o Majnun.
Elizabeth M Bucar
University of Chicago, USA
Following the 1979 Revolution that established the Islamic Republic of Iran, veiling became obligatory, the Family Protection Law was repealed, and groups like the Sisters of Zaynab patrolled the streets in search of offenders of sharia law. For these reasons and others, the collusion of politics and religion in Iran is often interpreted by Western scholars as patriarchal by design and detrimental to Iranian women. In contrast, many leaders of the contemporary women's movement in Iran participated in the Islamic revolution and consider the publicisation of Islam to be liberatory for women. This paper considers the creative arguments Iranian women make about their proper roles in contemporary Iranian society and how they draw on Islamic teachings. It focuses on the work of one exemplary leader of the Iranian women's movement, Shahla Sherkat, founder and managing editor of Zanan magazine, and how she rhetorically draws on and shifts the moral and political teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini. Sherkat's argument for the creativity of self-censorship is juxtaposed to the Khomeini's teaching on the necessity of political unity (later codified in the 1996 Iranian press law) in order to demonstrate how, in Sherkat's words, censorship was a "bestowed blessing." Two major points are argued. First, a scholar's prior secular feminist commitments can interfere with her analysis of the dynamic actions of women within Iran, particularly if they lead her to dismiss religion as a potential resource for women's rights. Second, perhaps ironically, women who work within an Islamic framework in Iran are able to widen subtly the discursive parameters of this often male-inscribed tradition, even as they operate within it.
Matthew P Canepa
College of Charleston, USA
The relationship between Sasanian and Roman ruler representation has presented both an intractable problem and challenge for scholarship in both fields for almost eight decades. Beginning in the mid-third century, the Roman and Sasanian systems of ruler representation and courtroom etiquette grew increasingly similar with regards to several key elements. These involve the most basic markers of royalty including such emblematic features as the diadem, nimbus, red shoes, prostration, and the ceremonial use of veils and silence around the sovereign. Trying to disentangle the process that led up to this state of affairs is more difficult, especially if one follows those Roman sources that claim that any change in the emperor's appearance was the result of a whole scale importation of Sasanian customs, which is not borne out by the visual evidence or majority of the textual evidence, or modern scholarship which typically ignores any interchange at all. Since Alfoldi's articles in 1934/5, previous considerations of these issues have largely understood it as a problem of cultural origins, seeking to fix certain elements of court culture as absolutely Iranian or Roman. In a new approach to the evidence, I argue that the fundamental significance of these commonalities in insignia and ritual, and the motivations behind their emergence, lies in their conversational function as cross-cultural mediators. Both courts highlighted features such as full prostration or red, bejewelled shoes since they provided an intelligible focus for their struggles to exert dominance or establish parity and, as such, were useful mediators of ideas of power and legitimacy in a language of cross-cultural debate. This state of affairs developed from a complex process wherein indigenous developments in each culture gained a cross-cultural layer of interpretation. In this paper I argue that the courts often gave indigenous practices a new cross-cultural meaning as they became sites of competition between the two realms either in their shared experience of each others' courts in the diplomatic process, or in viewing their own images or investing their client kings.
University of Salamanca, Spain
Miguel Angel Andres Toledo
University of Salamanca, Spain
This paper is a presentation of a new edition of the Avestan and Pahlavi Videvdad. The new edition is a collection of as many Videvdad-manuscripts as possible in digitised form. These new ly gathered and digitised manuscripts have shown that the Avestan edition of the Videvdad is not a reliable source and also that Geldner's stemma of the Videvdad manuscripts are in need of revision. The authors describe the collected manuscripts, their colophons and try to present a new, more convincing stemma. For further information about the project, please see www.videvdad.com.
Carlo G Cereti
University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Italy
Among the great cultural achievements of the Sasanian Empire is the invention of the Avestan script, derived from a late Pahlavi cursive. This subject was widely discussed in earlier years, notably by W. B.Henning and K. Hoffmann, and has now been taken up again by J. Kellens in his most recent book. In the present paper the author tries to put together all the philological and epigraphic evidence relevant to date the birth of the Pahlavi cursive, reaching the conclusion that it should be placed in the later years of the empire.
Boston University, USA
The Shiraz Festival of Arts has become a major trope in criticisms of the Pahlavi regime. There is a consensus in the scholarly literature that it was elitist and offensive to the sensibilities of the average Iranian, in addition to being a colossal waste of money. This paper examines the genesis of the festival, provides a synopsis of the programming over eleven seasons, and ends with a detailed discussion of the most talked-about production, a play from Hungary. The conclusion of the paper is that while a few productions were indeed very offensive, most programmes were not, and some of them, such as the concerts of traditional Persian music, had a lasting beneficial effect on Iran's cultural life. Sources for the paper are personal memories, interviews with the director, the memoirs of Empress Farah, contemporary newspaper accounts, and the actual catalogues of the eleven festivals that were held from 1967 to 1977.
Mohammad Reza Chitsaz
al-Zahra University, Iran
The largest metal sculpture of a man made in ancient Iran at the Iran Bastan Museum Iran. This one-armed statue is comparable in size and in medium to the sculpture of the Elamite Queen Napir-Asu in the Louvre. The Iranian statue was found in 1934 by peasants of Shami (Kal Chenar), north of Izeh, in Khuzistan. There have been numerous studies of this important archaeological find but a unified designation for the sculpture remains to be agreed upon. General appellations such as The Shami Sculpture or the Parthian Prince or the Parthian Ruler have all been applied to the piece with little definitive agreement of whom the statue represents.
But upon studying contemporary coins of the Parthians and the relief statues of the period, a similarity emerges with one of the kings the Elimite strand of this dynasty. Furthermore, the location where the Shami statue was discovered is significant because the area contained an important temple which was conquered by Antiochus III and later on Antiochus IV only to be re-conquered at the end of the Parthian Mehrdad I period. This paper is based on close scrutiny of the contemporary sources and attempts to identify the statue and the person whom it represents.
The eight-pointed star resembling a flower is an astronomical-astrological symbol which has been very widespread in the art of the Near East since ancient times. It possibly had also a special meaning in Sasanian Persia since it can be seen on the shoulder of some shahanshahs and, at least in one case, on the garments of a noble lady within pearl roundels in precious metalwork. In two 5th-6th century Sasanian silver dishes embellished with complex religious scenes, an eight-spokes visible wheel resembling a flower or the astronomical symbol is even flanked by winged putti (a clear borrowing from Byzantine Christian art). Furthermore, a recently studied probable Sasanian textile fragment kept in Athens shows exactly the eight-pointed star in a clear position of prominence in the composition representing a central king on horseback and some attendants around him. Parallels with literature referring to the Sasanian period can be traced in order to find an explanation for the position of the eight-pointed star in that textile. The aim of the present paper is to analyse the pieces of art just enlisted and try to identify (cautiously) the eight-pointed star as an important symbol in Sasanian art which was most likely connected to the royal family itself.
University College Northampton, UK
This paper looks at the continuing political vitality of the urban crowd in early Pahlavi Iran and the role it played in the crisis which wracked the country in the first half of the 1920s. It focuses in particular on the part played by street politics in the mortal struggle between Reza Khan, supported by the new nationalist elite, and Ahmad Shah and the partisans of the Qajar dynasty.
The paper locates the crowd actions of the crisis years of 1924-5 in their historical context, insisting that, for the people of Iran's towns and cities, as they entered the Pahlavi era, there was nothing unusual or exceptional about popular protests. Such protests were, rather, a familiar feature of urban life throughout the country. Urban crowds habitually employed a wide variety of methods in their efforts to influence, manipulate, resist and sometimes confront local and national authorities. Indeed there existed a repertoire of actions with which both the people and the authorities were intimately acquainted and through which conflict between rulers and ruled could be choreographed. This repertoire was deeply ingrained in the historical experience of broad layers of especially the urban, but also to some extent the rural, populations, who resorted to it spontaneously and almost instinctively. Among the actions constituting this repertoire, perhaps the most well-known are the addressing of appeals in the form of petitions and telegrams to the central authorities, either the government or the majles, the use of mosques for political meetings, the taking of bast, the guild strike and the closure of the bazaars, the distribution of anonymous and often menacing and intimidatory shabnamehs and, when these methods were exhausted, collective bargaining through riot. In attempting to rescue the urban crowd in Iran from obscurity or from condemnation as a fanatical and blindly reactionary mob, the paper hopes to rectify the imbalance in much older scholarship and to introduce into the study of Iranian history some of the perspectives of 'history from below.'
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
This paper examines the development of the Persian epic from the early Islamic period to the late thirteenth century CE. The origins of the genre lie within two overlapping movements. The first was the translation movement, which made Middle Persian histories and works of wisdom literature available first in Arabic and later in New Persian. The second was the adaptation movement, which was the deliberate and conscious effort of litterateurs to use poetry as a vehicle of expression. The works of Ferdowsi, Nezami, and Attar illustrate some of the ways in which epic literature developed as a result of the translation and adaptation movements. Ferdowsi adapted prose histories into a historical epic, while Nezami and Attar combined, in varying degrees, the use of histories and wisdom literature to compose romantic and quest epics respectively. The paper briefly explores the ways in which the translations of texts from Arabic to New Persian influenced the direction Persian epic would take. A comparison and analysis of selected excerpts of Arabic texts and their Persian translations illustrate the translators' methodologies and objectives, including the techniques they employed to render narrative. The paper proceeds to argue that poets later implemented these narrative techniques and objectives and adapted them into epic form. To trace the development of Persian epic from within, an analysis of the structure and styles of the three poets is undertaken and a look into the way in which elements of oral literature and composition in performance were appropriated and borrowed by Ferdowsi and Nezami.
Ashk P Dahlen
Uppsala University, Sweden
Fakhr al-Din Ibrahim Araqi's (d. 1289)mystical poetry has been considered to be unparalleled and he has been celebrated as the most eloquent spokesman of divine love in the history of Persian literature. His literary production is above all distinguished by the depth and audacity of its unbridled esoteric speculations and the intensity and brilliant colour of its religious expression. As a disciple of Sadr al-Din Qunawi, he was the first writer to introduce Mohi al-Din ibn Arabi's mystical teachings in the Persian language. He composed Sufi love poetry in the tradition of Sana'i and Attar, and also wrote a commentary on the Fusus al-hikam in elegant Persian prose. Due to his creative talent and the synthesizing character of his spiritual vision he made a fecund contribution to Islamic mysticism. The task in this paper is to draw attention to a feature of Araqi's production which has so far been largely neglected by modern scholarship, namely the genre of qalandariyat. The examination is based on a close reading of selected passages of his divan, which are analyzed by initially taking into consideration hagiographical accounts about his life. Before exploring the qalandariyat poems, it is however necessary to look at the religious and historical background against which this genre emerged and developed. In this respect, the essay initially examines the qalandar phenomenon, its spiritual doctrine and practice, in the context of Medieval Islam, and then give attention to it as a distinct literary type.
Islamic Azad University, Shabestar, Iran
This paper is a preliminary study of the tradition of assassination of ministers or viziers prevalent throughout Iranian history up to and including the Qajar period. The paper specifically looks at the charges of takfir (apostasy) that were levied against ministers both before and after the arrival of Islam as a reason for their assassination. The Ilkhanid period, aside from its many social, cultural, scientific and literary achievements, was a period that has remained unequalled in the history of Iran in regards to the practice of viziericide. The paper discusses the nature of the Ilkhanid court and the role of the Yasa or the imperial code of Chingiz Khan, which formed the backbone of the Ilkhanid state and contributed greatly to this practice.
California State University, Fullerton, USA
The rise of Ardashir (224-240CE) and the Sasanian Empire presents a special problem for historians of late antiquity. This is not so much because of a lack of sources, but rather because of their conflicting and anachronistic nature. We may not know exactly what happened in the first decades of the third century, but by sifting through the evidence that does exist one may arrive at a safe conclusion as to who Ardashir was and how it was that he burst unto the scene of political hegemony on the Iranian Plateau. This paper attempts to demonstrate that Ardashir's origin was much more humble than mentioned in the various sources and that this upstart would manipulate all records to achieve political legitimacy. It will also be shown that the location of the early stronghold of Ardashir was far away from Estakhr, the centre of the province of Persis, which can only mean that he was at best a local upstart on the fringes of the province, and that the taking of the patronymic name of Sasan was a further evidence for his non-noble lineage.
Olga M Davidson
Wellesley College, USA
This paper focuses on two epic situations in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh where a hero is faced with a moral choice. Either of the two alternatives facing the given hero is justifiable in terms of one moral code and unjustifiable in terms of another. In the first situation, the hero Rostam is commanded by the prince Esfandiyar to submit to the authority of the king, who is Esfandiyar's father. Although Rostam is sworn to defend the king in any situation where the king's rule is threatened, the hero refuses to submit to the bondage demanded by the king precisely because this bondage has to be enforced by the prince Esfandiyar - who is acting in this situation not as a prince but as a warrior. Rostam's refusal to submit to the authority of the king thus violates the moral code that demands loyalty to the king but it ratifies the moral code of the epic warrior who must not allow himself to be controlled by someone he considers to be inferior to him as an epic warrior. In the second situation, the hero Siyavosh is commanded by his father the king to kill the hostages whom the hero has taken for the king. Although Siyavosh is sworn to obey the command of the king, he refuses to kill the hostages because such a killing would violate the terms he had negotiated with those hostages and with their families. The refusal of Siyavosh violates the moral code that demands loyalty to the king but it ratifies his own moral code as a negotiator who is true to his word. In both situations the poetry of the Shahnameh presents a conflict between two moral codes, and, in both situations, the principle of loyalty to the king loses out to other principles, despite the fact that the medium of this poetry is founded on the authority of kingship. That authority, however, is flexible enough to test the morality of heroes who strive to live by its rules - even if they are forced in some situations to defy those rules.
Bukhara: a Persian Review of Culture, Art, and Iranology, Iran
Literary societies proliferated in the decades following the Constitutional revolution of 1909-11 in Iran. They were scattered in the major cities and played a significant role in the emergence and development of literary trends and publicised the works of numerous new poets and writers. Many eminent literary figures of the twentieth century, including Dehkhoda, Bahar, Eshqi, and Aref, were themselves members of these societies, and both published their works in the literary journals and occasionally served as their editors. Hedayat, Farrokhzad and Sepehri, for example, first published their work in Sokhan, Arash and Sadaf, respectively. This study begins with a brief elaboration on the history, socio-political background, and influence of some of the major literary societies and journals throughout the first eight decades of the twentieth century. The bulk of the paper concentrates on their changing fortunes during the turbulent years of the Islamic revolution of 1979, and the course of their developments in the following decades. In order to clarify patterns of change, as well as the nature and significance of the radical transformations that characterise the history of post-revolutionary literary journals and societies, a framework is adopted by way of which developments are classified chronologically, into three successive decades.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg, Germany
During the twenty years of his rule, Reza Pahlavi (1921-1941) pursued a policy of authoritarian modernisation which aimed at transforming Iranian society along European models. Western-styled clothing, including a peaked cap called 'Pahlavi hat', were made compulsory for all male Iranians in 1929, in order to give the Iranian people a modern appearance and to construct a uniform national identity. This process was carried farther by the substitution of the 'Pahlavi hat' as the official headgear with the 'European hat' in 1935 and resulted ultimately in the forced ban on veiling (kashf-e hejab). The Uniformisation-of-Dress law (Qanun-e motahhed al-shekl nemudan-e albaseh) and the supplementary regulations (nezamnameh) entitled the government to examine the clerical status of certain individuals: only Muslim (and non-Muslim) Iranian clerics still had the right to wear traditional clothes like abas and turbans. This paper discusses the impact of the dress reforms on two antagonistic groups in Iranian society, theulama and the Pahlavi state officials, by looking at a particular product of the dress codes, namely the licence to wear clerical clothing (javaz). Based on both published and unpublished sources from Iranian archives, the following questions will serve as a guideline. How successful was the newly modernised Pahlavi bureaucracy in implementing the nationwide dress regulations and which developments can be traced from interpreting the bureaucracy's documents? To what extend did the dress reforms – and the allocation of javaz-licences in particular – enable the Pahlavi state authorities to penetrate people's everyday life and to weaken the ulama' s social position? That theulama themselves did not constitute a uniform social group can be gleaned from the different reactions from various levels of the ulama hierarchy. What concrete effects did the change of clothing for clerics have for those who did not fulfil the necessary qualifications to maintain their status?
Univertitaet Bonn, Germany
The plans of reconstruction for Afghanistan face various challenges. The political pre-considerations include both the implementation of programmes of national security and development programmes at the same time. Especially the National Development Plan (NDP) demands a certain coordination of international assistance. There is an uncharted jungle of national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations, especially in the field of humanitarian aid. Overlapping interests amongst them cause certain forms of severe competition, which is further fuelled by the fact that most aid institutions gather in Kabul due to security reasons. This 'New Great Game' for development-related resources proves partially to be a serious obstacle for the development of Afghanistan itself.
Institut Francais de Recherche en Iran, Tehran
The attitude the Turks had toward city life during the medieval era has been subject of various enquiries. However, most of them concern later periods and not the first stage of the Turkish era, that is the Saljuq period. The Saljuqs have been described sometimes as familiar with urban life, at other times faithful to their nomadic roots. A precondition to address this issue is to determine as precisely as possible where they lived, in which location (inside or ouside city walls)? In what type of accommodation (palace or tent)? The example of Isfahan - capital of the Saljuq state for half a century - has already provided us with concrete elements which lead us to think that the Great Saljuqs sultans had a more nomadic way of life than hitherto thought. The aim of this paper is to propose a broader analysis of the issue, by considering the case of all the Turkish lords (Saljuq sultans, but also great emirs including Atabegs) throughout Iranian territory. In addition to Isfahan, the situation of the numerous centres of power in Khorasan, Jibal, Kerman, Fars and Azarbaijan are examined. Eventually, the results of this enquiry could contribute to a better understanding of the nature of the Saljuq state, of its evolution, but also of the nature of the Turkish domination.
Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford, UK
Iran established its first 'modern' school, the Dar al-Fonun (Polytechnic College or Academy of Applied Sciences), in 1851, in which modern medicine was taught. This paper examines the curriculum, the composition and the nature of medical course materials at the Dar al-Fonun. For the Qajar government, the Dar al-Fonun was created not only to introduce modern Western sciences but also - a fact that has never been duly emphasised - to bring the educational system, dominated by the Shiite clerics, under the control of the state. The education at the Dar al-Fonun incorporated both Western modern sciences and traditional Iranian sciences. Accordingly, the audience of Western physicians at the Dar al-Fonun was not limited to young students destined to study modern medicine. Many established traditional physicians of the army also attended the courses of the Dar al-Fonun, either out of their personal interest or by the order of the government. This made it impossible for Dr Tholozan, the French physician to the Shah and professor of medicine at the Dar al-Fonun, for instance, to sweep away the traditional medical texts from the curriculum of this modern school, as he had planned to do. There was a gap between what Dr Polak or Dr Tholozan wanted to teach and practice in nineteenth-century Iran, on the one hand, and what they were practically able to, on the other. In such an institutional and intellectual context, the education of modern medicine involved the coexistence of, and necessarily dialogues between, modern and traditional medicine.
Universitaet Bonn, Germany
Carpets are one of the icons of Persian history and Persian culture. However, this icon is currently threatened by economic competition and globalisation. The Persian carpet industry and trade are undergoing severe changes with deep impacts on the local and regional levels of production and marketing. Kashan as one of the traditional centres for Iranian carpet manufacturing and its specific carpet industry are represented as a case study of this both internal and external competition vis-a-vis the traditional patterns. The presentation is based on fieldwork in 2002-03 as well as on most recent data on the Kashan carpet industry in 2004.
University of Illinois, Chicago, USA
This paper is a study of the transformation of Iran's provincial urban periphery since 1979. The premise of the paper is that the Islamic Republic should be categorised as a provincial regime, as much as an Islamist polity. Once again, after the highly centralizing Pahlavi interlude, urban provincial society has entered the mainstream of Iranian history. Taking the small town of Ramhormoz, Khuzistan, as a case study, the paper analyzes the impact of the 1979 revolution and the Iran-Iraq war in order to unpack the multi-layered transformations affecting social-political relations, individual and collective identities, and the physical landscape of provincial urban Iran in the course of the decisive decade of 1979-89. By analyzing this period from a local, rather than a macro/national perspective this essay attempts to shed some light on a number of interconnected processes affecting provincial urban society and the relations of centre and periphery: The rise of local, young, subaltern social actors in the course of the revolutionary upheaval which changed the balance of power in the provinces; the demographic shifts caused by the movement of war refugees, which lead to the emergence of new local socio-cultural syntheses; the dramatic expansion of the public sector, including revolutionary organisations and foundations, which allowed the upward mobility and the ascendance to power of local actors; and the dramatic transfer of urban land and the impact of revolutionary housing policy, which reshaped the urban geography of provincial towns, commodified urban space, and created a new urban political economy. The essay concludes that the Islamic Republic, paradoxically, integrated the marginalised urban provincial society into the mainstream of national political-economic life.
This article analyzes the changing role of movie-theatres as important urban public places in Iranian cities over the past century. From the time the first public motion picture theatre opened its doors some 102 years ago, a significant part of urban Iranians' public life and leisure time has been shaped in and around these public entertainment places. The history of urban motion picture theatres in Iran has undergone three phases: the first period, ending with Iran's occupation during the Second World War, saw the establishment of some 15 theatres in Tehran, while the production and dissemination of war newsreels in Persian expanded attendance and made cinema into an equally important component of the collective public social and political imaginary. The second phase, between the Second World War and the 1979 revolution, witnessed a major expansion as the number of theatres increased to 112 active cinemas in Tehran and 393 cinemas in the whole country. The 1980s, by contrast, were a decade of relative decline, as many movie theatres were targeted during Islamist demonstrations or confiscated by the revolutionary government, and the film industry was treated with hostility and suspicion. In the post-war period theatres witness a relative revival and film attendance once again becomes part of the urban landscape and collective public activity, at least in the larger cities. Some theatres were rebuilt, ironically with subsidies from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which also became a major source of funding for the reemergence of the film industry. Yet even in 2001 there were no movie theatres at all in two major southern provinces (Bushehr and Hormozgan).
Why do movie theatres occupy such a sensitive place in Iranian urban public life? How do these public places of leisure shape urban culture and collective identity? Who attends theatres, who owns and operates them? This paper examines movie theatres as spaces in which the social imaginary and styles of life of generations of urban dwellers have been shaped and publicly displayed. The different urban publics produced by different movie theatres, as well as the social interactions and mentalities which have been moulded in these spaces at different historical junctures and for different generations, are the major focus of this paper.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA
In Iran, calligraphy has traditionally been perceived as an impenetrable redoubt in which traditional artistic values are preserved. In the late nineteenth century,\ this notion was challenged by the innovations of the calligrapher Mirza Mohammad Reza Kalhor. A master of nasta'liq of the line of Mir 'Imad Hasani, Kalhor is not only considered a leading calligrapher of the late nineteenth century, but an innovator as well. his paper illustrates that although calligraphy remained largely untouched by the forces of modernisation and Westernisation, it too was eventually changed permanently. The introduction of lithography into Iran in the early nineteenth century was a momentous event in the modernisation process. It was not until the late nineteenth century, however, that the nasta'liq script was markedly altered to suit this new technology. This paper focuses on this transition and the contributions of Kalhor to this process. Kalhor's innovations permanently altered the nasta'liq script in Iranian print culture, the effects of which are still evident today.
Parviz Emamzadeh Fard
Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran
This paper offers a cultural explanation for the upheavals Iranian society experienced in the late 1970s by focusing on the developments in the Iranian popular songs of that period. It asserts that the message of Iranian society, increasingly set on challenging the ruling social and political order, had its echoes in the development of the popular song of the late 1970s. In late-1970s Iran one can see a dramatic change in the contents of Iranian popular songs and a significant shift in the popularity of their performers. By content analysis of these songs, the change pattern can be described as going from elite-mass standard expression of romantic-idealism to an opposition or even rebellion against the social and political order of the time.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
In the period between 600 CE and 900 CE, there were instances when powerful women rose to power and influenced political and social affairs of different areas of the world as wives, mothers, warriors or saints. Examples include the Byzantine Empresses Theodora I (527-565 CE) and Irene (750-802 CE), the Queen Hind al-Hirah (554-? CE) of Lakhm (Syria), the wife of the Prophet Muhammad 'Aisha Bint Abu Bakr (623-678 CE), the Khatun of Bukhara (670s CE) in Central Asia,Hind al-Hunnud, the opposition leader to the army of Islam (624 CE),in the Arab World, Boran, Azarmidokht and wives of Wahram II in Persia. In this paper, the rise of Boran to the Sasanian throne is compared to other women who ascended to a high level of political authority in the Sasanians' neighbouring societies such as Byzantium, Arabia, and Bukhara, to explore the similarities and differences in the circumstances leading to their rise to power and to identify specific social and political conditions making it possible. The question is under what circumstances women could seize imperial authority for themselves in the Byzantine or Persian Empires, or rise to political prominence in Bukhara or Arabia. Specifically, how could a female assume a role that was socially and politically believed to belong to a man? The specific women whose rise to power is compared to that of Boran are those names above.
Anisseh van Engeland-Nourai
Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, France
The presence of refugees in Iran raises many issues and Iran has had trouble adjusting its national policies to the situation. The main argument and the goal of this paper are to analyze how Iran can turn a state of human emergency into a migration management ensuring the return of these refugees. The first part of the paper provides a brief survey of the existing situation by looking at the data given by UN agencies and non governmental organisations (NGOs) to know the identity of refugees in Iran (numbers, location, ways of life). In the second part, the paper addresses international and Iranian legal issues: Iranian law does take into refugees account and the Iranian policy entails difficult political choices. There is a need to amend Iranian law regarding that matter. In the third part, the study uses organisations' reports to analyze the day-to-day management of the camps: I also demonstrate how Iran, with the collaboration and help of UN agencies and NGOs, went from a human crisis to a camp management. This accommodation of refugees cannot, however, last for too long and it is now necessary to go from a crisis management to a migration management. In the fourth part, the paper presents the attempts of NGOs and UN agencies to negotiate the return of those refugees (the right to return). The main issue is how to handle successfully the return of refugees and turn the current situation into a successful state crisis management. The conclusions of the study are that a solution that accommodates every actor (the host state and the country of origin, as well as the refugees themselves) should be found. There is a need for a strategy that would ensure a reasonable transition from a longstanding refugee emergency to comprehensive migration management argument.
New England Institute of Art, USA
Transsexual life in Iran has been receiving increased recognition and coverage both inside and outside of Iran. From the BBC to Dateline NBC, the New York Times and various Iranian newspapers, transsexuality has offered a new and wholly unexpected view of the Islamic Republic and its attitudes to sex and sexuality. The history of this phenomenon in the Islamic Republic goes back to Imam Khomeini who, well before the 1979 revolution, was the first mujtahid to make transsexual operation acceptable under Islamic Law. Since then, Khomeini's status as the leader of the Iranian nation has ensured that the Islamic Republic recognise transsexual operations. Since the revolution, the practice has increased to the point where Iran has one of the highest per capita transsexuals in the world. In the shadow of this phenomenon is the question of homosexuality which is strictly forbidden and punished in the Islamic Republic. This presentation seeks to look at divergent sexualities in Iran in light of the differing attitudes of the Islamic Republic to these two questions. This is particularly interesting considering the fact that the legal and social relationship between transsexuality and homosexuality in Iran is the exact reverse of the West where homosexuality enjoys a greater visibility and acceptance than transsexuality. Based on the author's short documentary produced for the US-based network Current TV, Legacy of the Imam is a work in progress probing these issues. The documentary includes interviews with specialists as well as with transsexuals. The study is based on interviews with Dr Bahram Mir Djalali, one of the foremost surgeons and specialists in the world on the question of transsexuality; Hojjatolislam Mohammad Mehdi Kariminia, a seminarian in Qom writing his doctoral thesis on the question of transsexuality in relationship to Islamic Law, and Ms Khatun Molkara, the first transsexual to obtain the legal permission personally from Ayatollah Khomeini to perform the sex change operation. Ms Molkara is the best-known transsexual activist in Iran where she currently leads an NGO dedicated to transsexual support and visibility. There are also interviews with a new layer of young transsexual activists who are coming together and continuing to struggle for greater social acceptance and governmental support.
Nashr-e Tarikh-e Iran, Iran
This article is based on the recently discovered register of Sheikh Fazlallah Nuri. It contains 11,448 transactions and contracts registered in his court, mahzar during a three year period, from Moharram 1303 to Safar 1306. These transactions concern all classes of people and cover all kinds of deals. Each transaction has a code for reference and the original document bares a signature and seal. They comprise the sale and purchase or rent of property, such as houses, shops, agricultural lands, even a room. Contracts include marriage and divorce, heritage, endowments, loans settlement of disputes etc. These documents give an insight on how a traditional society which had not yet been affected by modernism functioned. For instance, how was the problem of interest, rebah, which is forbidden by religion, dealt with in a religious court? How much of mehr was actually paid? What were the conditions of divorce? For instance, how was a mohallel chosen when a man had divorced his wife three times and wanted her back? Another aspect of importance is the prices and costs of the transactions, for instance what was the mehr in different classes, or how much the rent of a room was in different districts of the city. One other aspect worth of notice regards manners and beliefs of the age, some of which might appear somewhat quaint today, as the conditions cited in a contract for carrying a corps to Karbala. In this paper a selection of typical cases are introduced and discussed with reference to two other source of the same period which compliment the information in this document, namely the police records of Count de Montforte and the Amar-e Dar al-Khalafeh which is a count of the buildings in Tehran.
University of Tehran, Iran
Zoroastrians constitute the most ancient religious minority in post-Islamic Iran. The present population of this community is 50,000 to 60,000 people (less than 0.001% of total population) concentrated primarily in three cities: Tehran (more than 50%), Yazd and Kerman. Since the introduction of Islam in Iran (seventh century CE), Zoroastrian culture has had more or less paradoxical relations with the dominant Islamic culture: on the one hand we have encountered a considerable transfer of Zoroastrian concepts, structures, and even rituals and religious forms to what Henri Corbin called 'Iranian Islam', and this is one of the main reasons of a flourishing and steady appearance and spreading of Zoroastrian religious and historical texts and commentaries about them, and their enormous popularity among ordinary people as well as academic elites. But on the other hand, the number of Zoroastrians themselves has decreased continually. The reasons for this are multiple and complex: social pressure for conversions, inter-group marriages, immigration etc. The waves of immigration began as early as 9th and 10th centuries, and the principal destination was India, where a rich and strong community of Zoroastrians took form (the Parsis). During the next centuries immigration continued, but field studies seem to demonstrate that since the last three decades the intensity and the combination of theses waves have created, for the first time in Iranian history, a real danger of the disappearance of Zoroastrian community culture. This issue is the chief concern of the paper, which is based on fieldwork done on the Zoroastrians population in summer and autumn 2005. The paper describes the present situation, discusses the consequences, and suggests some solutions to counter this threat.
Hamyaran - Iran NGO Resource Centre, Iran
The Bam earthquake was an unprecedented disaster. It caused destruction of the city, loss of thousands of people, and terrible living conditions for many. International, national, and local forces, including governmental, non-governmental and private sectors, were mobilised to face this crisis. After the earthquake, many NGOs were interested to work in Bam. Depending on their mandates and their expertise, these NGOs were focused mainly on community empowerment, sustainable development, poverty reduction, environmental issues, women and youth problems, vulnerable and homeless people and so on, usually based on a participatory approach. At the same time many international NGOs (World Vision, Oxfam, Mercy Corps, People in Need, Caritas, Save the Children, etc.) came to Iran to help the victims in different ways. Since they were not familiar with Iran's situation (i.e., Iranian power structure, Iranian work ethic, cultural issues, etc.), they offered their partnership to national NGOs in forms of joint projects, local representation, etc., and met a wide range of responses in Iran. These cooperations have resulted in a number of successful and unsuccessful practices. This paper surveys and analyses the role of NGOs and their impacts on rebuilding Bam during and after the crisis, through introducing those practices while many of them are still in progress, and finally will try to present an evaluation of NGOs' performance in Bam.
al-Zahra University, Tehran
This paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the possible interactions between mathematics and history in the works of Sharaf al-Din Ali Yazdi, the litterateur, historian and mathematician of the fifteenth century (eighth century AH). Yazdi is well-known for his history entitled Zafarnameh-ye Teymuri. However, he has three books on arithmetic: Hisab al-uqud, Kunh al-murad fi 'Ilm Wifq al-a'dad, and Hilal al-matraz. Subscribing to the received view that findings of various sciences are heavily brought to bear in historical research, this paper seeks to investigate as to whether or not Yazdi's expertise in arithmetic influenced his historiography in any way. Providing a brief overview of Yazdi's life and works, the paper embarks on analyzing Zafarnameh in order, first, to pinpoint a rational, quantitative approach in Yazdi's work and, second, to find out the extent to what Yazdi's mathematical knowledge had a conscious or unconscious effect on his historiographic expression. The paper demonstrates that Yazdi's mathematical expertise hardly improved his method of historical analysis. Yazdi, in reporting such matters as the number of Timur's troops and spoils of war, remains entirely loyal to the qualitative tradition of Iranian historiography, hence exhibiting insignificant mathematical (i.e., quantitative) sense in his historical writing. The paper concludes with suggesting possible reasons as to why little connection was made between Yazdi's mathematical knowledge and his historical expression.
Edward K Faridany
The emphasis placed on official history of the early period of Iranian-Western relations has erased the role played by many individuals with little official posts. Based largely on manuscript sources in the Medici archives, Florence, and the Vatican's Archivio Segreto, this paper attempts to lift the veil shrouding one such career, that of Michel Angelo Corai. Corai first appears as guide and interpreter in Anthony Sherley's account of his journey to Iran in 1598. But beyond his crucial role in facilitating this seminal encounter in Iranian-European relations, Corai barely appears again in the established histories and sources associated with this period, an obscurity which might be taken to imply that he took little or no further part in any major events. In fact, Corai continued to remain an important shadowy figure. He was the supreme facilitator and fixer – highly able and trusted, multilingual, travelling discreetly and unobserved, equally at ease whether in Isfahan or Florence, Aleppo, Prague or Qazvin, and while at these cities executing his diplomatic responsibilities without fanfare or ceremony. Upon closer scrutiny, his activities seem to have been concerned with the critical issue of the day: finding the means to unite the Papacy and the Persian court to counter the Ottoman menace.
University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle, France
One of the ancient customs of the Bakhtiari nomads is the mourning ceremonies conducted and carried out with great fanfare. Lamentation and funerary commemoration are significantly more important amongst the Bakhtiaris than joyous celebrations such as wedding or circumcision ceremonies. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that weddings last for no more than a day, whereas mourning periods last up to a year. During the actual funeral ceremonies, the most important and the most distinctive ritual is the recitation of funeral poems. This singing recitation of the mourning poems is called the gageriv, a term which is defined and discussed in this presentation. The paper also discusses a number of other rituals related to funerals amongst the Bakhtiaris, specifically the rituals specific to men and women and the longterms rituals that last the whole year after the death.
This paper seeks to study and analyze the participation of women in Reza Shah's cultural policies. During the reign of Reza Shah, the ideas of reform and modernisation which had already existed among the Iranian people became the official policy of the state. The modernisation of women and women's role was a central part of state policies and among the institutions established to carry out this goal, the Kanun-e Banovan was the most prominent. This paper looks at the primary sources in the Iranian National Archive pertaining to the Kanun-e Banovan to understand the objectives of the organisation for the development of women's cultural and political role in Iranian society. This archival access is particularly important since much of the most important policies and goals of the Kanun were not released publicly and were internal documents between the Shah and the administrators of the organisation. Another institution that was created with the organised coordination of the official policies aimed at women's development was the Iranian Girls Scouts. The paper looks at the creation and the social reception of the Girl Scouts through the study of journals such as Ma'aref, Pars, and Amuzesh va Parvaresh. The Girl Scouts met with much resistance and their survival ended up depending on decree. The study of these various institutions helps us understand the coordinated policy of Reza Shah aimed at the modernisation of women and helps us understand the objectives of the organisers of these polices to lay the social groundwork for this development.
Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh
University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
This paper examines the usage of religion and religious stories, such as the Battle of Karbala (680) and the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, to entice very young Iranian males to fight and even commit suicide (and become martyrs) on the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). Religion imbued with secular nationalism was the powerful force behind the volunteering of thousands of Iranians who partook in the war. Shahadat as an Iranian Shiite ideology constructed on the Karbala paradigm is the focus of this paper. The group most affected by this religious propaganda was Basij-e enqelab-e eslami (the Mobilisation Force of the Islamic Revolution), which was primarily made up of young teenage and old Iranian males. Western governments and scholars alike have always been baffled by this rather strange phenomenon, and for the past twenty-five years have attributed it either to these men's lack of confidence and training, or simply to their desperation in a mentally or physically abused environment. However, I argue that upon a close examination of different primary sources it appears that this sort of action was deeply rooted in their beliefs to fight what they thought as evils of the world. The sources reveal that these young boys were neither coerced nor had any desire to commit suicide, but their ideology, as it seems, was that of self-sacrifice to reach paradise. The clerical establishment of Iran successfully used this angle of Karbala, which historically was essentially part of the early Islam's wars for supremacy that has turned into the ultimate source of inspiration amongst the devout and practicing Shiites. Such primary sources as the martyrs' wills, the corresponding state propaganda in popular media and mosques throughout Iran, and speeches by Iranian clerics are utilised. Excerpts of a propaganda documentary movie, Shahadat (martyrdom), is shown.
University of Tehran, Iran
Ghazal khani is a genre of song in which didactic, religious and love poems are set to simple, non-metrical music and sung by a particular social category, the gardan koloft (literally 'thick neck'). This group is the descendant of the nineteenth-century dash, who were distinguished from other social groups by their double character: at once disrupters of order and protectors of the weak, wrongdoers and generous. The gardan koloft became very influential during the Pahlavi era, due to their collaboration with the Shah against the Mosaddeq government. However, their influence was limited to the city of Tehran's traditional and disfavoured southern parts, where they constituted an opulent and powerful class. The wealthier among them, while holding such positions as butcher or vegetable wholesaler, regulated the operations of the quarter's small businesspeople and opened gaming houses and/or opium dens. After the 1979 revolution, their influence was reduced to almost nothing. Ghazal khani, too, presents a kind of double character, as far as the contexts in which it performed are concerned. This genre of song is associated as much with religious circumstances (during the holy months of Ramadan and Moharram) as with those of disreputable sites (kharabat) and with disreputable games and sports such as those relating to pigeon-fancying. Ghazal khani is also sung in the traditional sports clubs that themselves have double reputations in society, being sometimes associated with generosity and rectitude, and sometimes with delinquence. Ghazal khani, urban popular song with deeply moral content, sung by people of dubious moral character, is still sung at Shahr-e Rey, in the south of Tehran.
Universitaet Hamburg, Germany
This paper takes a look at the reception of Ali Shariati's thoughts and writings in South Africa. Shariati, one of the most influential precursors of the Islamic revolution in Iran, was known not only as a sociologist but also as an Islamic ideologue and orator. He combined in a most skillful manner, Western ideas and philosophies with Islamic teaching and popular Shiite imagery in Islam, and I argue that it is this mix that accounts mostly for his success at home. How, however, can this mix be transferred to other settings? This paper looks at Ali Shariati's writings and sociological models and how far they were received and possibly applied in South Africa among the very small Muslim minority and the disproportionate role they played in the struggle for equality and against apartheid. The Muslim minority of South Africa began to organise and develop a specific minority consciousness in the mid-1970s. The reform movement among them looked specifically to authors such as Sayyid Qutb, Maududi and, later, Shariati, who figured quite prominently in transforming the Muslim identity from a purely cultural one into a politicised, Islamist identity. The other vital question to answer is whether it was only the Iranian revolution, serving as the vehicle for Shariati's thought, that impressed and inspired Muslims throughout the world at some point, or whether there were unique ideas prevalent in Shariati's writings that shaped the Muslim discourse in South Africa in the early 1980s. The paper is looks at some key concepts of Shariati's work and in how far they were transformed or adapted to fit within the particular South African context. It addresses questions pertaining to the particular Shiite character of his writing and if they could be adjusted within a non-Shiite setting, or in how far the reform/revolutionary content is applicable universally and informs the ongoing debate on the link between religion and politics.
Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran
With the establishment of Dar-al-Fonun in 1851, Amir Kabir sowed the seeds of Iranian modern higher education. However, Iranian modern higher education was not fully formed and born until 1934, when Reza Shah established the University of Tehran. Since that time Iranian higher education has been constantly expanding. By 1979, the Iranian higher education system had expanded to the point where it included 26 universities, 87 colleges, 228 higher education institutions, and 180,000 students. Despite the vast expansion and development of the Iranian higher education system, it has not been able to meet public demand for higher education. One may ask how and why Iranian higher education expanded. And what have been the impacts and consequence of this expansion on the Iranian understanding of university and higher education?
In addition to the many global processes, there are local processes that make the Iranian university more complex to understand. For instance, the Iranian university has never had autonomy and it has always been severely politicised. All political regimes in Iran have seen the university as an ideological instrument to produce political knowledge to justify their aims and existence, and politically to socialise the young generation for their purposes. However, in the mean time, the university has been a site of cultural and political resistance against the governments and state hegemony. As a lecturer of anthropology and an ethnographer in an Iranian university, I will speak about my personal experience of how the concept of university has changed and the new university has emerged in Iran. The paper will provide an ethnographic account of the Iranian university from an 'emic' point of view; it will raise questions such as: how do Iranian students understand the university? How do they live their academic life? Why do they choose to come to a university? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the university for them?
Notre Dame de Namur University, USA
A son blinds his father, lets him die in exile, and elopes with his father's wife. Around the same time, he dismembers his tutor and regent, and scatters his body parts all over his domain. Murder, blinding, incest—these are the classic ingredients of every Oedipal story. The central figure in this saga is Shah Shoja (d. 786/1384), the mid-fourteenth century Mozaffarid ruler of Shiraz and adjacent areas. The scandal threw his reign into a downward spiral that temporarily cost him his throne. Shunned and un-patronised by the stingy new nominal sovereign of Shiraz, Shah Mahmud, the younger brother of Shah Shoja, the older brother's courtiers went to work to alter the valence of the scandal by overwriting it with another narrative. This narrative is the famous Biblical (and Quranic) story of Joseph, itself long recognised as a variant of the Oedipal theme. It too, is constructed out of similar motifs: exile, a blinded father, sexual approach by a maternal figure. Working much the same as antidotes, only stories that are sufficiently similar, structurally and thematically, could function to retrace and overwrite each other. Hafez is one of these courtiers who put his skills into the task of supplanting the reprobate story of Shah Shoja's first term as the sovereign of Shiraz with its edifying counter-story, that of Joseph's. Hafez's casting of Shah Shoja as the Joseph of his time has been previously well established. What has not been studied before is that 1) Hafez was not alone or the original source of this identification, and 2) this identification, including that of Hafez, was not an innocent poetic play, but rather a politically motivated act. It was part of a concerted ideological labour exerted to restore and augment Shah Shoja's legitimacy in preparation for his recapture of Shiraz. It was the mainstay of his political offensive. However one chooses to judge this overwriting of the prince's villainy, the micro-historical reading of Persian poetry, especially when it plunges its political intent into mysticism, is long overdue. In this paper, I shall show how through the magical alchemy of a labour of mystification, Persian courtly authors conjure a discourse of legitimacy out of the existing and widely shared capital of the Perso-Islamic tradition.
University of Toronto, Canada
Over the past hundred years, every major intellectual attempt to institutionalise democracy in Iran has perceived the structure of political power as the main barrier to success. Indeed, it has always been assumed that it is through a political reorganisation of society from the top down that democracy might seep into the social fabric of the Iranian society. And while the election of Mohammad Khatami as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1997 generated high hopes for political reform and a move towards democracy, in fact the Khatami period proved to be no exception to this trend, and it was not long before these hopes faded. It can be argued, then, that the continued dominance of this faith in elite-level politics was an important factor that contributed to the lack of democratic reform of Khatami's presidency. While democratic reform in Iran has commonly been sought through elite power struggles and mass mobilisation, perhaps one reason for their failure stems from the fact that they are both elite-driven processes. Simply put, the mass mobilisation of the 1979 revolution neither came from the grassroots, nor did it end in local democracy. Therefore, and as local participation has continued to be ignored up to the present day, the political reforms of the Khatami era were ill fated from the start. The paper will argue that local participation can create not only the social capital upon which democratic institutions are built, but can also instigate the all-important culture of dialogue, diversity, and cooperation in which democracy itself might be able to flourish in Iran.
University of East London, UK
This paper applies a Bakhtinian framework of analysis to a weeklong series of Iranian football riots (21-27 October 2001), during the qualifying rounds for the 2002 World Cup. The presentation begins with a brief introduction of Iranian football after the Islamic 'revolution'. It then outlines two case studies where rioting became carnivalesque (in the Bakhtinian sense of the term) and demonstrates how this came to oppose the official Islamic spectacle (in the Debordian sense of the term). Although the victories won were not immediately generalised, they, nevertheless, represent the beginnings of a slow paradigmatic shift from the hegemony of the spectacle to the emergence of carnivalesque. Various aspects of the carnival, such as dialogic interaction, grotesquerie, music, dancing, excess, violence, cultural transgression, and hysteria, are examined. It is suggested that the riots signify a turning point in the dynamics of conflict within Iran and bode well for a resurgence of the social movement.
University of San Diego, USA
The Iranian revolution of 1979 routinely resorted to a strong moralistic rhetoric in its opposition to the Pahlavi period, disparaging its prevailing moral and cultural climate. Given the fact that religion was a pivotal element in the overall ideological composition of the new period, the study of the moral dimension and its implications isof particular r elevance to a better understanding of the scope of social change in contemporary Iran. This paper examines three distinct yet inter-related analytical criteria: 1) boundaries of moral landscape, 2) a survey of Iran's moral capital, and 3) an examination of the parameters of social change in Iran and their impact on morals. First, a preliminary discussion of moral landscape entails an overall theoretical framework of the moral boundaries of reality, i.e., the notion of moral maxims, and the intrinsic value of morals and their impact on the repertory of human experience in a given period. Second, Iran's moral capital including the subjective criterion of moral values and the language of ethics are examined -- here sources of the moral self and its various expressions and representations are discussed, as represented in classical sources such as the andarznameh genre, in Sufi writings, and in specific sections of religious manuals on popular ethics. Thirdly, the above explorations are followed by an interpretive approach to the changes that have taken place in the Iranian society during the twentieth century and especially during the more recent periods -- i.e., by looking at the fusion of older moral concepts with modern trends such as the Jacobin ethics and the demarcation between 'their ethics and ours', and the militant stance to the questions of morals as a whole. Through a close reading of a wide range of primary material and innovative analytical framework this paper aims to further expand the arguments presented in the existing literature. The result of this project will contribute to the methodological debates in the field of the history and sociology of morals, and more specifically to the cultural history of modern Iran.
Santa Monica College, USA
In the past decade or so, there has been a burgeoning exilic literature in Persian consisting mostly of short stories, poetry and novellas. Exilic literature, formed by the experience of exile and isolation, challenges popular understanding of national identity, gender relations and sexuality. A novella written by a French - Iranian writer, Mahasti Shahrokhi, Shali beh deraza-ye jaddeh-ye abrisham (A Shawl as Long as Silk Road) is an example of exilic literature. Published in 1999, A Shawl (135 pages) is about an Iranian woman migrant in London whose partner is an Englishman with little knowledge of Persian. The heroine's pregnancy and her subsequent dialogue with the foetus constitute the major theme of the text. This paper analyzes the use of language, home, gender identity and sexuality in the context of exile in which the traditional understanding of these concepts are provoked and de-familiarised.
Urmia University, Iran
It appears that at the beginning of the third century CE, Media Atropaten (modern Azarbaijan) was one of the lands which had been damaged a lot because of the Parthians' wars of attrition with the Romans. With the rise of the Zoroastrian Sasanians, this land, which had a long tradition under the Zoroastrian religion, became part of the Sasanian Empire. In fact, both Syrian and Arabic sources, as well as later events, confirm the adherence of Azarbaijan to Ardeshir I, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty. Ardashir defeated the last Parthian king in western Media and then captured Azarbaijan without any problem and ordered the erection of a rock relief near Salmas in commemoration of his victory. Shapur I, Ardashir's successor, too, established the Sasanian hegemony over Azarbaijan by his campaign in the year of 241/242 CE and following his triumph over Romans, he captured Armenia, a province north of Azarbaijan. From that time, Armenia, because of its Parthian king's feud with the Sasanians and Armenians' conversion to Christianity, and because of the Romans' claims over that land, was one of the most important regions over which the Sasanians competed with the Romans, and therefore Azarbaijan turned into a political, military and religious stronghold for Sasanians. In early Sasanian sources, from an administrative point of view, Azarbaijan was regarded as part of Iran, while Aneran (non-Iran) consisted of the present Caucasus and Anatolia. During the Parthian and Sasanian periods, the northwest of Media was called Azarbaijan just up to the Aras river. In the early Sasanian era, this province was in the hands of a marzban who was appointed by the central government and probably resided in Ganzak, where there was the famous fire temple of Azargushnasp. Azarbaijan was regarded as a sacred land and its geographical place names, according to Avestan texts, probably existed from the early Sasanian period. All the sources and evidence indicate that after the Asorestan province, where the Sasanian capital Ctesiphon was situated, Azarbaijan was perhaps the most important province of Sasanian Iran, apparently even more so than Persis.
Omid-e Mehr Foundation, Iran
The phenomenon of street children is an urban tragedy plaguing most modern cities, especially the metropolitan areas of developing countries. Any solution to this persistent problem needs to pay special attention to the local economic, social, and cultural conditions. In Iran, although there are no precise statistics and data, all indicators point to a deepening and widening of this problem. Dowran-e Emruz newspaper has put the number of street children living and working in the streets of Iran between 25,000 to 30,000. In the winter of 2000 it was announced that each month witnesses the death of around 100-150 of these children due to malnutrition, the cold, and physical abuse. This paper presents the planning and enactment of a programme to empower street children in the Darvazeh Ghar neighbourhood of Tehran where the majority of the street children live. The programme's long and short term goals are to provide access to shelter, health care and education, with close cooperation of social work agencies in order to help gain legal status for these homeless children. This paper presents and assess the work of the Anjoman-e Hemayat az Hoquq-e Kudakan (Society for the Protection of Children's Rights) which grew out of this programme and has gained national and international (UN) recognition for its work.
University of Haifa, Israel
In July 1884 Naser al-Din Shah ratified the establishment of councils of representatives of tojjar (merchants) in the main commercial centres of Iran. Within three or four months the big merchants established their councils in eighteen towns in the country and at least in three major commercial centres outside Iran (Baghdad, Istanbul and Baku). Members of all councils were elected by the local tojjar. The councils were to supervise the commercial activity in the country, to encourage investments of local big merchants in new economic projects, and above all to limit the interference and involvement in their business of both the provincial authorities and the local religious leaders. The Shah approved the merchants' proposal that the councils would not be subject to the provincial governors. Furthermore, Naser al-Din gave clear directions that the governors should implement the councils' decisions. The establishment of the councils sparked fierce resistance from the very first phase of their work. The opponents came from two influential groups – provincial governors and prominent ulama. Finally, the Shah himself despaired of the chances that the tojjar would be able to overcome the harsh resistance of provincial governors and leading ulama. In February or March 1885 he cancelled his orders that enabled the establishment of the councils. Thus, the initiative to have in Iran representative councils of merchants was finally buried. Documents found recently in the Russian, French, British, and Austrian archives shed new light on the fall of the majales. They enable us to have a better understanding of the conflict which developed between the big merchants and the ulama. The basic elements in this struggle reappears in major events that took place during the last decades of Qajar rule. The paper focuses on the developments that brought about the collapse of the councils. It discusses the roots of hostility between tojjar and ulama as it was manifested in Tabriz in winter 1884. It suggests that the relations between the two groups were more complicated and intricate than perceived so far.
Warwick University, UK
A great many films of the New Iranian Cinema are set in and around the capital city of Tehran. Indeed in some instances the 'city' itself comes to play as important a role as the characters of these films themselves. Film studies as a discipline meanwhile, has witnessed a growing interest in cinematic representations of the city and 'urban space'. This paper therefore examines the different ways in which the 'city' (most notably, but not exclusively, Tehran) and 'urban space' in general have been represented in some recent Iranian films.
Ferdowsi University, Iran
Suhrawardi's hermeneutical approach to the elements, components and narratives of the Shahnameh, as they are expressed in his mystical treatises, delineates the metamorphosis of the epico-mythic Weltanschauung into a mystico-gnostic worldview. We will best understand this metamorphosis by contrasting the hermeneutical principles of Suhrawardi with those of Ferdowsi in interpreting various myths and epic narratives. Ferdowsi's hermeneutics can be described as logocentric, a term which highlights the role of 'logos' in imposing a rational interpretation on the seemingly illogical and counterfactual aspects of myth and epic narrative. In contrast, Suhrawardi's hermeneutics are dominated by different ontological and epistemological principles that may be designated as radical hermeneutics, a theory of reading whose focal point is the Erlebnis of the reader which in turn moulds the intentio lectoris. The paper will scrutinize the way in which Suhrawardi interprets such epico-mythic elements in the Shahnameh as the mythic bird, Simorgh, the epico-mythic king, Kaykhusrow, and such epic and heroic figures as Zal, Rostam and Esfandiyar, as mystical symbols in the context of his gnostic and illuminationist worldview.
Islamic Azad University, Iran
Mohammad Ali Mas'ud al-Molk wrote his Ebrat al-nazerin between the years 1897-1921 in six volumes. Mas'ud al-Molk was a member of the prominent Shirazi family, the Qavams, and his autobiography is a critical observation of the life, politics and society of Shiraz and Fars province of his day. This paper concentrates on two points of Mas'ud al-Molk's work. The first is a description of the author's critical views of the ruling establishment of Shiraz and their relationship with the Qavam family alongside his assessment of the economic and social situation of Shiraz during the First World War. The second part of the paper concentrates on other primary material contemporaneous with Ebrat al-nazerin such as Tohfat al-nayyer and the British Foreign Office documents. In comparing the autobiography with these other primary sources, Mohammad Ali's critical thinking and his particular concern for the condition of the people of his time gave him a special understanding of his time and his society.
HAND Foundation, USA
Philanthropy is the monetised expression of a community's commitment to its future. Inequality and an aging population are leading to the expansion of the non-profit sector worldwide. Years of accumulated wealth in the United States and Europe are about to change hands. This transfer between 1998 and 2052 has been estimated to be somewhere between $41 trillion and $136 trillion. America is the most philanthropic country in the world; its giving by individuals, foundations and corporations totalled nearly $250 billion in 2004, 75% of which came from individuals. The sheer size and potential impact of philanthropy is propelling it into a global force for change, on par with government, private sector, and media – complete with its own human capital, science, and systems. Higher immigration and advances in giving infrastructure are boosting diaspora philanthropy which is estimated at $100 billion from the United States alone – graduating from 'free money' to becoming a key actor in economic development. The estimated 7.6 million Filipinos living in 190 countries sent home $62 billion between 1990 and 2005, keeping an estimated one million people above the poverty line. In spite of diaspora philanthropy's noble objectives of 1) identifying with the homeland through financial and cultural support and 2) assimilating into the adopted land through investment in local causes, it is ineffective unless members mobilise and rally to common cause and engage in organised action. It is this organised action, driven by ties of co-responsibility, that differentiates a diaspora from an ethnic community. The educated and able Iranian immigrants, who are estimated to number three million, form a community considered nascent compared to major immigrant groups of the twentieth century. This paper provides a comparative analysis of philanthropic practices of the nascent group, with historical references, relative to best practices engaged in by established diaspora groups. It discusses leading-edge thinking in philanthropy, including innovative, strategic, and entrepreneurial approaches to solving 21st century social ills. It further examines the external forces, especially the lack of institutions, affecting Iranians' willingness to invest in their future and shape their destiny. There is an opportunity, and indeed a necessity, to employ philanthropy as a unifying tool to accomplish the highest aspirations of Iranian people worldwide
Astan-e Qods-e RazaviArchives, Iran
Although there are numerous academic studies of the political, economic, social and cultural legacy of the Safavids in Iran, there are many basic facts that have yet to be considered. Although the Safavid period is considered to have one of the richest sources of primary material for historical inquiry, most studies do not go beyond official decrees, documents from foreign companies, and various missionaries operating in Iran. Astan-e Qods-e Razavi, because of its importance as a religious and historical site and one that gained great prominence under the Safavids, was the recipient of great gifts and donations from the Safavid rulers. One of these gifts was the syurghal or land tenure which were donated to the Astan as a continuous source of income. There is a voluminous amount of sources on this issue, with nearly 60,000 documents in relation to the Safavid era between the years 1000-1148 AH (1592-1735)alone. This paper offers a preliminary analysis of the suyurghal documents and presents them as an important indication of the Iranian economic system and relations under Safavid rule.
Universitaet Bern, Switzerland
This paper is a contribution to the study of the development of Persian historiography and hagiography in Central Asia in the sixteenth century and their reciprocal relationship. It focuses on a well-known historiographic text that shows clear signs of hagiographic influence: Mirza Haydar Dughlat's Tarikh-e Rashidi (completed in 1546). Scholars like Florian Schwarz, Anke von Kuegelgen, and Bakhtiyar Babajanov have pointed out that, at least since the early sixteenth century, historiography and hagiography seem to have profoundly influenced each other in content as well as in form, in a way that the boundaries of literary genres blurred and new hybrid genres emerged. This trend was caused or at least favoured by the close relationship between worldly rulers and Sufi masters. In the same way as the spheres of governance and the mystic path were mixed, so were the respective discourses. As a case in point, Mirza Haydar Dughlat includes biographies and silsilas (i.e. chains of spiritual descent) of Sufi masters, and even mystic treatises, in his mainly political narrative. This paper analyses the relevant sections of this work and shows the author's hagio-historiographic way of writing history.
Mary Elaine Hegland
Santa Clara University, USA
Over the last several decades, Aliabad, located not far from the outskirts of Shiraz, capital of the southwestern province of Fars in Iran, has been in the process of changing from a village to a suburb of Shiraz. In spite of economic, political, and religious interaction between people from Aliabad and the outside, some level of outside people coming to live in Aliabad and a few others moving away, and a few men who engaged in migrant labour in Shiraz or elsewhere, the village of Aliabad clearly formed a separate political, economic, and social unit up until some forty years ago. Since then, however, boundaries between Aliabad and the outside and especially between Aliabad and the nearby city of Shiraz have been eroding. Aliabad residents are experiencing the processes of modernisation and globalisation. Life styles, attitudes, and social relations and dynamics are becoming more similar to those of upper middle and middle class urbanites, who experienced similar changes several decades earlier. In examining the transformation from an agricultural, animal husbandry, and trading village to bedroom suburb and service centre, the study draws on anthropological field research conducted for 17 months during 1978/1979 and during summers of 2003, 2004, and 2005 in the village of Aliabad and surrounding areas including Shiraz. Living and conducting participant observation in Aliabad during these two periods allowed the author close comparison of conditions and dynamics a quarter of a century apart. With transportation, education, rising standards of living, exposure to outside influences and ideas, and interaction with people in Shiraz and elsewhere, Aliabad people's outlooks and lifestyles are becoming more similar to those of middle class urbanites, who had experienced modernisation in earlier decades. Differences between Aliabadis and Shirazis are disappearing. Part of the reason for these changes is the close proximity to Shiraz. Shiraz's edges are moving outward and have almost reached Aliabad. Aliabad is well along the way to becoming a bedroom community, a suburb of Shiraz.
Columbia University, USA
A vibrant Iranian exile popular music industry has existed outside of Iran since the early 1980s, disseminating Persian-language pop to all corners of the Iranian diaspora and into Iran itself, where the music was prohibited after the revolution. However, this music has had an almost exclusively Persian-speaking audience, never truly 'crossing over' to Western listeners, as have some other non-Western pop musics emerging from the conditions of diaspora and exile, such as Algerian-French rai. A possible explanation is that Iranians of the diaspora are largely first-generation exiles for whom intra-ethnic communication and maintaining connections with Iran are more pressing concerns than creating music that speaks to their host countries. However, new musical developments by Iranian diaspora pop musicians indicate that this situation is changing. In the autumn of 2004, Swedish-Iranian pop artist Arash Labaf made history with the first Persian-language single 'Boro Boro', which held a position at the top of the Swedish pop charts for several weeks. This paper focuses on the musical influences and lyrical content of Arash's bhangra-inspired 'Boro Boro' and other songs as it investigates strategies and significance of this artist's attempts to expand his audience in the West. Through my analysis of these examples, I explore the possibility that Persian-language pop music's increasing integration into the Western mainstream may be indicative of a more general acceptance by Iranians living abroad of their disaporic conditions.
University of Oxford, UK
Seventeenth and eighteenth century Armenian commercial and financial documents provide a wealth of evidence for the commercial practice of the Julfa Armenian merchants. Both the language of the documents – a unique merchant dialect of Armenian – and comparison with the practice of other merchant communities of south and west Asia and the Mediterranean suggest a high degree of correspondence in the practice and terminology of merchants from culturally distinct communities. The Julfa Armenians, like many other such communities, jealously guarded their particular cultural identities and often maintained a high degree of social segregation, yet in their working lives they were ready to borrow and share norms and practices derived from alien cultures. Much of their commercial law, for instance, appears to have been based on Islamic sharia law, and much of their accounting and financial terminology is Indian in origin. The present paper sets out to explain this paradox. It argues that a functionalist approach offers one productive line of explanation, since both a tight-knit community to provide the pool of trustworthy associates and the cultural and social means to encourage adherence to a shared system of values, and cosmopolitan business practice to facilitate commercial relations with a wide range of international business partners from other communities, were essential for the effective operation of the Julfa merchants' trade. It argues also that an approach based on theories of cultural transmission, using the concepts of selectivity, channels of communication, receptivity, and reinforcement is particularly helpful in understanding why the Julfa merchants were in some respects so open to cultural transmission, and in others so closed.
Patricia J Higgins
State University of New York, Plattsburgh, USA
In this study, textbooks in use in Iranian elementary schools in 1970, 1986, and 2000 are compared to reveal many features of Iranian cultural knowledge that have remained the same over this thirty-year period. Previous analyses of Iranian textbooks, especially those that have compared, explicitly or implicitly, the textbooks of the Pahlavi and Islamic Republican eras, have focused on changes in the texts. Despite significant changes, however, much of the content of elementary textbooks was carried over though the transition between these two governments and through the first twenty years of the Islamic Republic. The commonalities in these textbooks demonstrate, in part, the power of cultural continuity, despite politically revolutionary change. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic (and more specialised subjects such as science, social studies, religion, and art), textbooks teach children behaviour appropriate to a variety of contexts and many of the values of the culture that produces them. Thus, texts can be read as lessons in behaviour and values that textbook authors and adopting groups either consciously want to convey to children or lessons that are so much a part of the culture that they go unquestioned even by adults whose expertise is education. In this paper, techniques borrowed from critical discourse analysis, an approach that has been applied to textbooks from the United
States, Canada, Japan, China, and other countries, are used to help identify underlying values and perspectives and the means by which child readers are encouraged to adopt them.
University of Exeter, UK
The presentation aims to deconstruct contemporary Iranian national identity during the period of Khatami's presidency (1997-2005). The thesis argues that both the notions of nation and identity are constructed and contested, on both the state and non-state levels. The Khatami period has been chosen because it is characterised by extensive discussions on democracy, Iran's role in the world and region, and the role Islam has to play in society and government. Through my research I hope to illustrate that these factors can be better understood within a framework that examines these discussions and the current dynamics in terms of contesting articulations of national identity. Therefore, the thesis aims to deconstruct contemporary Iranian national identity by looking at the articulations of national identity in terms of discourses and counter-discourses. For example, the articulation of national identity among more conservative parts of the current Iranian government, symbolised by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, is considered as a hegemonic discourse. Counter-discourses of national identity examined in the thesis are that of the reformists in the Iranian government, symbolised by former President Khatami, civil society in Tehran. The study seeks to determine how the notions of Islam, democracy, anti-imperialism (in terms of independence from the West) and Iran's cultural heritage dominate the discourses and counter-discourses, and whether it can be said that there is in fact a dominant, rather than hegemonic, discourse articulating national identity.
Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
This paper draws on observations in the field, and the deconstruction of the structures in art education at Tehran and al-Zahra Universities to illuminate the sense of agency in the behaviour of the student body. Projecting data from Tehran, visual and ethnographic texts, the paper argues that far from being 'lost', 'over-affected' by Westernisation, and in pursuit of 'purely materialistic' goals, this young urban generation seeks to be critical, reflexive, and progressive. The data is a manifestation of their struggles and triumphs, common experiences, and thoughts in the post-revolutionary era, towards the fuller understanding of both self and society. Contrary to contentions from outside Iran, the student body are neither a-political, nor disinterested in socio-politics, but they search for peaceful means and expression through art in order to think clearly, and to structure lives. The above abstract is in the context of an investigation of the development of art education in the Islamic Republic, with the author as a participant artist.
The historical spatial development of Tehran is usually shown as starting from Dar al-Khalafeh-ye Tehran inside the walls of the late nineteenth century, and going later towards Shemiran in the north and to Rey in the south. In the late twentieth century, some housing units were built in the east and west. This evolution created the well-known dualistic capital city of the 70s, with a strong and busy central core from Bazaar to Abbas-Abad. This remains true. However, a detailed study of the social and economic activity of Tehran and suburbs in the last decade (Atlas of Tehran Metropolis, 2005), has shown new trends in the making of new central places in this metropolis. The places of reference are no longer the Bazaar or Ferdowsi square. The geographic model of Tehran is no longer the strong centrality of Paris or London but perhaps, the multicentrality of Los Angeles. This evolution, as a matter of fact, fits with the First Masterplan of Tehran (A Farmanfarmaian and V Gruen, 1968). Based on a detailed cartographic analysis of Tehran and its province at local scale, this paper shows the historical trends of the spatial evolution of Tehran, focus on the emerging new centres, and discuss the formal or implicit ideas or theories that can be found in planning the city of Tehran from the Qajars to the new Master plan of Tehran (2005).
David M Hughes
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
Taking the work of Geertz and other symbolic anthropologists as a guide, this paper explores the intersection of magic, religion and medicine in early-modern Iran. The modern scholarly discourse on 'high magic' in the Islamicate context has overshadowed the existence and importance of rituals, practices and beliefs of daily religiosity. By examining collections of do'as from several sixteenth and seventeenth century majmu'ehs, this study challenges some of the traditional categories of scholarship on Muslim thought and practice. The paper situates these supplications, both as thought and as practice, within their social and political contexts. The texts are seen as potential mirrors, reflecting a broad cultural symbology of the society in which they are produced. What is the function of a written supplication text? How are these texts to be viewed vis-a-vis the high magical and medicinal texts of the period? The paper rests on the belief that by examining the symbols within these supplicatory texts, we can gain a better understanding of the quotidian life of the non-elites. The study incorporates methodological insights gleaned from scholarship on other cultural contexts with the hopes of erasing the binaries that plague such conceptions as: prayer/spell, magic/religion, and thought/practice.
Alice C Hunsberger
Hunter College, City Universioty of New York, USA
Beginning in his own lifetime, notices of Naser Khosrow (394-470/1004-1077)'s life and works have been included in the major Persian language source texts of history, religions, geography and poetry. Sometimes the entries criticise and sometimes they praise. Yet even when they contain apocryphal information, these secondary sources provide a valuable window on the reception of this very public intellectual over the centuries. Putting aside questions of biography, chronology and denomination, this paper looks specifically at the selections of Naser Khosrow's poetry that have been included in a number of anthologies or biographies of poets written over a seven hundred year span. My analysis thereby produces a portrait of this poet as he was viewed by the finest literary scholars. The anthologies to be studied include al-Baydawi's Nizam al-tawarikh (thirteenth century); Jami's Baharestan (fifteenth century); Amir Dowlatshahi's Tadhkirat al-sho'ara (fifteenth century); Lotf Ali Beg Adhar's Atashkadeh-ye adhar (eighteenth century); Reza Qoli Khan Hedayat's Majma' al-fusaha (nineteenth century) and some twentieth century works such as Zabihollah Safa's Tarikh-e adabiyyat dar Iran. Several apocryphal accounts are included, notably al-Baydawi's rendition of Naser Khosrow's meeting with the Sufi sheikh al-Kharaqani (d. 425/1034) and a poem in praise of Naser Khosrow falsely ascribed to Farid al-Din Attar (d. 617/1220). While the paper's analysis takes into account the narrative assessment by each anthologist, it focuses primarily on gauging the relative importance of the content of specific lines by comparing their frequency of citation, and thereby discover if literary judgment changed at all over the centuries.
University of Wolverhampton, UK
This study uses Iran, as a developing non-western country, for further research into consumer behaviour. In the context of appropriating Western cultural trends among Iranian youth, this research investigates whether/how 'cultural globalisation' has affected the identity of such consumers. The significance of this research lies in the fact that Iran has undergone major socio-cultural, economic and political changes since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Although the country's legislation has been implemented in such a way as to protect religious values against the influence of western culture, the consumption of Western cultural goods has recently accelerated among Iranian youth, who comprise nearly 70 percent of the country's 70-million population. Some social critics within the country see this practice as a 'corrupting influence' of 'decadent Western culture', or what they call 'cultural invasion'. Such attitudes may be interpreted as a reaction against cultural globalisation, which has affected Iran in the last decades. Consequently, Iran offers a unique context to examine the meaning and nature of consumption as a possible form of resistance for some, but rejection by others and its relationship to the individuals' concept of self and identity, with a particular focus on young consumers. Drawing upon cultural globalisation, as a theoretical position, the research has come up with some major themes emerging from the data collected so far. The study examines the manifestation of cultural globalisation in the Iranian context by looking at varying relationships between the consumption patterns of Iranian youth and their identity construction.
University of Queensland, Australia
The cultural experience of Iranian women in Iran is different from that of the Iranian women in Western countries in many ways. In Iran various ethnic, cultural and religious limitations are imposed on women, while in Western countries those limitations are limited or removed. The limitations include clothing, social contact with the opposite sex, choice of job, and social mobility. Once out of their homeland and away from those restrictions, Iranian women might start to construct a new identity for themselves and in doing so the role of language as a bridge from a religious and patriarchal culture to a Western one is of great importance. The aim of this paper is to study the ethno-linguistic changes in the identity of Iranian female immigrants in Australia and to identify the core values in their culture, as expressed in their use of language, both Persian and English. The paper aims to shed light on an understudied aspect of the population under investigation. The population is first-generation female Iranian expatriates in Australia and the focus of the research is on their linguistic and socio-cultural identity. The study only includes participants in Brisbane (capital city of the state of Queensland). This study integrates two topics of research, namely, identity and acculturation within the field of applied linguistics. By looking at Iranian migrants' perceptions of their immigration to Australia and the difficulties of their adjusting to the new culture, the study explores and analyzes the socio-cultural and ethnic identity reconstruction of the group under study and the effect of this on their language use.
When Iranian reformists took power in 1997, civil society and its issues became one of the main socio-political debates in Iranian society. In the reform period (1997-2005), non-governmental news agencies were very active in improving Iranian civil society. They transgressed and ignored ideologically-based policies of the government and entered into many forbidden areas (called red lines) by their critical news, interviews, reports, photos, etc., and made a crucial change in the country's media environment. In the mentioned period 15 non-governmental news agencies were established, which challenged the Iranian governmental Radio-TV and also IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency). In the most part of the mentioned period the non-governmental news agencies became the main source of news for national and international media, especially in the time of socio-political crises in Iran. The present research studies the role of non-governmental news agencies in developing Iranian civil society through analyzing their news, reports, interviews, etc., between 1997 and 2005 and their effects on opening the political arena of the country.
University of Edinburgh, UK
Iconographically, the legendary Iranian hero Rostam is easily identified by his clothing – a tiger-skin coat. Having stemmed from descriptions of his dress by Ferdowsi, this distinctive costume element became recognisable in the illustrations of the Shahnameh, intending to single him out. His striped coat remains an iconographic cliche in the Shahnameh. Yet its art-historical significance has not been fully investigated yet. The establishment of the design in Rostam's coat is indeed intriguing: his clothing was already highlighted by multiple dots in Sogdian examples found in Pendjikent (now in Tajikistan). By the early fourteenth century, judging by some surviving pictorial examples, it had taken a form of simple wavy lines, basing on actual observations of tiger or leopard spots. It became stylised and combined with other sartorial elements according to pictorial and decorative modes in Iran. But what is interesting is that it was gradually transformed into a curious composite of wavy motifs and Buddhist-inspired flaming jewels, a pattern which eventually came to be known as cintamani in Ottoman art. It is also essential to look closely at the role of a tiger-skin coat in the development of Shahnameh iconography, particularly in association with legitimacy. This costume, which readily evokes a valiant image of Rostam, was in favour with rulers and patrons throughout the ages. Clearly, the dynamic transformation of Rostam's tiger-skin coat, whose visual journey ranges from pre-Islamic Transoxiana to Ottoman Turkey, is one of the good parameters of the evolution of iconography in the Iranian world.
Fars Encyclopaedia, Iran
Mosleh al-Din Sa'di (1213-1292) is a watershed figure in classical Persian literature, both in terms of the variety of works he has written or composed and in terms of the chains of works inspired by his poetry and prose. From a literary historical perspective, too, one can divide the whole belletristic tradition in Persian as one preceding Sa'di and one that followed him. In spite of this unique significance, Sa'di studies have lagged behind those devoted to other major figures, either in world literature as exemplified by studies in Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Schiller or in terms of comparable figures in Persian literature, such as Ferdowsi, Rumi, and Hafez. This paper presents an overview of the history of a collective cultural effort begun about a century ago to collect and publish all useful information and knowledge on this epoch-making figure in the classical canon of Persian literature. This multi-generational scholarly effort can be said to have gone through at least four distinct stages, namely stages of initiation, compilation, editing and text preparation, and critical evaluation. The name given to the whole effort, Daneshnameh-ye Sa'di, has been chosen to give an impression, both of the overall direction of the effort and of its inclusive scope and reach. The historical perspective assumed in this project is also intended to serve a model for future efforts directed at other outstanding figures of Persian literature in general and specifically in bringing the efforts of modern literary historians, editors, and scholars and critics into a new level of coherence.
Université de Paris 1, France
The 1970s and 1980s saw a proliferation of religious symbolism in contemporary Iranian literature. Of all of the works produced in this context, Mahshid Amrshahi's End of the Ta'zieh stands out as the only one (as far as I know) that does not use this religious symbolism in positive light. The basis of End of the Ta'zieh is the account of the events in Karbala, a narrative that enjoys the most impassioned and sacred position amongst religious Shiites. For those that make idealised and positive uses of this story, the events of Karbala are the most revered prototypical story whose narrative, by virtue of its sanctity, not only relay meaning and value to its specific characters, events and lessons, but gain new significance each time it is told. End of the Ta'zieh operates in the exact opposite of this value system. In this story, the recounting of the story of Karbala not only fails to revive the significance of the story or to show it in sacred light, it actually causes a devaluation of its worth and paradigmatic position. As such End of the Ta'zieh is a clear expression of the diminishing position of the sacred from history. The story of Taqi, the hero, is not merely the story of his breaking from the world of children and stepping into maturity, it a story of his passing from a world mixed with the magic of religion onto a world which has been robbed of that magic. The conclusion of End of the Ta'zieh is not merely the end of the passion play, it is equal to the end of its social value.
Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia, Iran
There is not much known about Abu Mansur Movaffaq ibn Ali al-Heravi, the writer of al-Abniyah 'an haqa'iq al-adwiyah. Also, the writer only talks about 'Amir al-Mosaddad al-Mo'ayyed al-Mansur', to whom he has dedicated his book. Some historians have tried to figure out the real name of this amir, and in the light of that, find the exact date when al-Abniyah was written. However, none of these scholars has tried to do so with respect to the 'sources' based on which the book was edited. This paper intends to provide some pieces of evidence concerning the influence of Ibn Sina's Qanun on this book, as a probable source for Abu Mansur Heravi. It also proves that this book dates back to the mid fourth century AH, and probably the year 447.
Persis M Karim
San Jose State University, USA
Since the late 1990s, writers of the Iranian diaspora have attained a certain following in both the United States and Europe. While the most obvious examples of this success are memoirs authored by women such as Tara Bahrampour's To See and See Again, Azar Nafisi's best-selling Reading Lolita in Tehran, Firoozeh Dumas's Funny in Farsi, and Azadeh Moaveni's Lipstick Jihad, and Marjane Sartrapi's graphic memoir, Persepolis, the emerging fiction and poetry of this community has received far less attention. Because memoirs play against a pre-conceived notion about Iranian women's silence and lack of agency and proclaim certain 'Iranian' truths, they also work to create an image of Iran in the US imagination that can limit the scope of literary expression. This paper investigates the emerging fiction and poetry of writers of the North American Iranian diaspora (men and women who write in English) whose work is rooted, not in the experience of looking back at childhood or early adulthood experiences in Iran, but rather in the experience of growing up in the West while being informed by Iranian culture, language, and politics. This literature of the diaspora has a complexity of language and sentiments that articulates a kind of neither-nor sensibility (neither Iranian nor American); it is also suggestive of the ways that writers are using fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to forge a public identity for the Iranian-American experience. Often however, these texts are read like memoirs, in that they are representative of the whole culture and as such, are often not appreciated for their literariness. In poets/writers such as Susan Atefat-Peckham, Farnoosh Seifoddini, Tara Fatemi, Reza Abdoh, Marsha Mehran and Layla Dowlatshahi, we see a new generation of diaspora writers whose writing is characterised by a different experience of situatedness between Iran and America and whose impulse is not on telling their own journey or biography, but is attentive to the culture and politics of 'betweenness'. This paper introduces some of these writers and the themes that characterise the literature of the Iranian diaspora.
The Centre of the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia, Iran
Drawing on an unpublished manuscript and select books, this paper sets out to identify sciences prevalent among the Iranian Nizaris through the fall of Alamut in 1256 CE (654 AH). This is done through critical examination of two categories of documents: 1) the unpublished manuscript of Dastur al-monajjemin, which is currently housed at the Paris National Library. Paul Casanova and Mohammad Ghazvini regard this text as one of the most preeminent works that have survived the destruction of Alamut; 2) Nasir al-Din al-Tusi's writings from 1226 to 1256 CE (624-654 AH) while he stayed at the Ismaili fortresses. In light of his trustworthy and accurate recording of sources, including the names of authors, the unknown author of Dastur al-monajjemin provides an invaluable account of books and treatises held at the Alamut library as well as sciences practised by the Iranian Nizaris during the imamate of Hasan Sabbah. The latter includes the whole array of sciences from literature, history and hadith to mathematics and astronomy. The Nizaris' dedication to these sciences after the death of Hasan Sabbah is manifest in Nasir al-Din al-Tusi who, like the unknown author of Dastur al-monajjemin, was committed to recording myriad sources and authors used for his research. Having included the dates of compilation for his writings, al-Tusi helps us differentiate between two classes of his research – i.e., those carried out during his residence at the Ismailite fortresses and those undertaken after the Ismailites sustained their major defeat. This paper demonstrates the continuity of scientific tradition in Dastur al-monajjemin and al-Tusi's writings. Further, in light of the pedagogic character of al-Tusi's writings, it shows how and why the aspirations of the Iranian Nizaris were oriented to promoting sciences, rather than merely destroying their enemies.
SOAS, University of London, UK
During the 1960s there were remarkable similarities in terms of various economic indicators between Iran and South Korea. In the early 1960s the two countries had similar population and per capita income levels. The degree of openness as measured by the ratio of exports and imports to GDP in the two countries was also on average close (with Iran having an edge over South Korea in this respect). In terms of growth indicators Iran in fact outperformed South Korea throughout the 1960s decade, with much higher savings and investment rates and a more spectacular growth performance along with a higher degree of price stability. Since the mid-1970s, however, the growth path between the two countries appears to have diverged sharply. Korean growth accelerated and surpassed Iran's over the subsequent three decades. Admittedly, war and political turmoil in post-revolutionary period have played an important role in economic performance in Iran since the 1970s. However, it is the contention of this paper that even allowing for the impact of political upheavals, there remains a qualitative difference in the nature of economic growth between the two countries even during normal times - e.g., 1960-73, and the more recent post-war period in Iran – with important implications for the sustainability of growth in the two cases. What policy lessons can Iran learn from the experience of Korea? A comparison between the two countries during the 1960s growth episode can provide some of the key elements for answering this question. To answer this question one needs to go beyond the quantitative indicators mentioned above. The differences in initial conditions, resource endowments, and institutional set ups, set limit to, and condition the outcome of economic policies. Similar policies and development strategies can produce different results in different contexts. The paper highlights the importance of context specificity in designing policies and strategies for sustainable growth. It also discusses the implications for the sustainability of the current phase of economics growth in Iran.
University of Oxford, UK
No classical Persian poet was a greater and more passionate lover than Sa'di. One may even make the higher claim that he was the greatest lover, certainly the greatest lyricist of human love, in classical Persian poetry. Yet the impact of Bustan and Golestan has been so great that they have overshadowed the work of Sa'di as a poet of love-songs. Not only have these love songs been translated seldom into Western languages compared with those two books and especially Golestan, but even in Iran Sa'di's ghazals have never been appreciated as much as they deserve, except in vocal singing in traditional Persian music. This paper seeks to situation Sa'di alongside Hafez and Rumi as one of the three greatest Persian ghazal writers of all time.
Institut fuer Iranistik der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Austria
This paper aims to illustrate the cultural impact of Persian and Iranian culture on China after the end of the Mongol dynasty. The study seeks to provide a comprehensive history of the Persian language in China until the end of Ming dynasty in 1644. Persian was the lingua franca of the Silk Road at least from the Mongol period onward. Even after this trans-Asian link ceased to exist, Persia kept its status in some areas of the route. However the question still remains: what happened in China where Persian became one of the official languages during the Mongol Yuan period (1271-1368) and spread throughout the whole empire? Moreover, although intercourse with Central and West Asia perished by no means after the breakdown of Mongol rule, how is it that Persian became the prime language of Chinese Muslims by the end of the nineteenth century? This study looks at the enduring linguistic and cultural influence of Persian in China after the Mongol period where the Mongols' numerous institutions such as schools for Persian interpreters, the compilation of Persian-Iranian glossaries and the translation of Persian texts were sustained well into the succeeding centuries.
University of Oxford, UK
The cultural history of Iran has shown an uneasy tension between traditional – which is often labelled as native, national, Islamic – on the one hand and on the other the modern – which is seen as imported, Western and secular. This tension showed an increase mainly after the 1979 revolution, when Iranian avant-garde artists – as well as intellectuals in other fields – were caught between two poles of authenticism and modernism. This paper discusses the existing, and perhaps conflicting, ideas in visual art activities in Iran, while examining recent artistic events, productions and exhibitions mainly in the early 21st century. It is not the task of this paper, however, fully to examine all the variety of artistic genres within the country, but to examine the dominant dichotomy in cultural and artistic thought with which Iranian artists are confronted. These are the idea of 'contemporaneity', or being imbued with the 'spirit of the time', dominating particularly the younger generation of artists' minds; and at the same time 'specificity', relating to the issue of cultural and national identity which is still an underlying precept of compelling force. The first involves the idea that the 'post-modernist' imagery is of fragmentation and hybridisation – the scattering of traditions and the recombination of their diverse elements. The second refers to the ever-present obsession of cultural concern (and frequently social concern) with which Iranian artists are engaged within the country. The question is, however, how to construct an art discourse that uses contemporary concepts as articulation of indigenous tastes or broader metaphysical positions considered as culturally 'ours.' Hence the paper seeks to examine the several factors which have contributed to formation of those mentioned ideas in Iranian art. It aims at examining the parallel movements in mainly the socio-political and cultural arenas and also the effects of globalisation and transnational cultural and social links in this period.
Islamic Azad University, Tehran
Many religions share the notion of a saviour and final resurrection that will signal the end of human misery and injustice. This paper seeks to study this messianic thought in several religions and to analyze its influence on the poetry of Nima Yushij, Ahmad Shamlu, Mehdi Akhavan-Sales, Forugh Farrokhzad, and Sohrab Sepehri. Nima, for example, saw the appearance of the Saviour with much anticipation, certainty and delight. Shamlu was not clearly devoid of this mind-frame, although his uses of such imagery are more ambivalent and shifting. The despair and loss of hope in the poetry of Akhavan-Sales and Farrokhzad cast a shadow on their notions of the messianic mind-frame. At times, Forugh openly reveals her doubt at the appearance of the messianic figure as is evident in her poem Didar dar shab ('Nightly Visit'). In the poetry of Sohrab Sepehri, the notion is alluded to through the poet's use of ancient Zoroastrian character, Sushians, in his poem Mosafer ('The Traveller').
Iranian Sociological Association, Iran
An essential feature of urban life under the Islamic Republic has been the conflict between the state's attempt to Islamicise public space and the individual bodies within those spaces, and the citizens' attempts to claim spaces of autonomy and/or regulate their own public self-presentation. This paper argues that the struggle over defining the moral city and shaping urban public space has undergone three distinct phases. The first phase, from 1978 to the 1980s, was shaped by the powerful mobilising capacity of political Islamic principles. It was defined by notions of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, and was little resisted. Urban spaces were given to displays of politicised religious morality, streets were named after martyrs, alleyways were marked by shrines, sermons and prayers blazed from mosques, and any display of inappropriate public conduct was policed with severity. In the second phase (1985-97), amr-e beh ma'ruf was codified and became a strictly authoritarian project, just as urban life veered toward a renewed consumerism, and the populist appeal of political Islamism began to loose its mobilising appeal. Moral policing of urban public space became institutionalised, as various coercive organisations were created to enforce Islamist rules and control public life in streets, parks, and places of leisure. At this juncture two polarised and differing interpretations of the Islamic state's responsibility for creating an ethical society were formulated. One approach stressed individual responsibility for ethical public conduct. The second approach, a return to the hesbat tradition giving absolute power to religious authority to confront moral threats to the political order, stressed the responsibility of the religious leader, and by extension the Islamic state, to confront ethical laxity and 'cultural invasions'. However, in the third phase (after 1996) these two ethical approaches to public moral control have been undermined by shifting demographic and social contexts. The emergence of the post-revolutionary youth generation as social actors whose constant presence in urban public space undermines state coercive capacities, and continuously reshapes urban life, has radically altered the dimensions of the struggle over defining the moral city. How urban space has been affected and shaped by these historical trends after the revolution of 1979 is the primary focus of this paper.
Frik Aziz Khatami-Tirgordi
Yerevan State University, Armenia
The socio-political developments and Cold War conditions in the Middle East in 1970-80s have changed the geopolitical situation and the equilibrium of powers in the region. This contributed to the shifting of some aspects of US Middle Eastern policy. These events forced US Presidents Carter and Reagan to rethink Middle Eastern policy. Iran's new Islamic regime made fundamental changes in Iran's foreign policy. This paper introduces post-revolutionary Iran's place and its role in US regional policy. In outward appearance it seems that after the revolution US-Iranian relations entered a new stage of antagonism and mutual hostility. But the investigation shows that in 1980s there were some factors where the interests of the two countries corresponded to each other, in which case Iran and the United States were acting together. It is true, after the revolution Iran and the United States stopped being allies but this did not prevent them for collaborating with each other secretly when necessary. The main and pivotal issues which are discussed in this paper are 1) Carter's and Reagan's efforts to fill the Iranian gap in the Middle East after the Revolution; 2) the factor of US-Iranian mutual interests in the White House Middle Eastern Policy in the 1980s; and 3) the factor of antagonism between Iran and the United States in regards to regional policy.
Harvard University, USA
This paper addresses the relationship between 'scientific knowledge' and 'scientific craft' in the Islamic Middle Ages, and discusses the historical meanings and distinctions in Arabic and Persian scientific works, between mathematical 'illustrations', 'constructions', and 'demonstrations' on one hand, and physical 'operations', 'productions', and 'combinations' on the other hand. The focus is on two subdivisions of geometry: optics, a subdivision of plane geometry, and mechanics, a subdivision of solid geometry, where the Arabic term mithal is used as geometrical 'examples' and 'models' respectively. Drawing from a range of textual and material sources as early as the third/ninth and fourth/tenthcenturies, the presentation traces the transmission and transformation of the expressions, conceptions and manipulations involved in scientific explanation, application, and experimentation in the context of both Islamic and European developments.
London Metropolitan University, UK
SOAS, University of London, UK
This paper explores the varied definitions of what constitutes 'the political' in the Iranian blogosphere and explores some of the political debates within the blogosphere through a study of selected blogger voices. Despite, or because of, the difficult conditions under which political communication functions inside Iran and notwithstanding a tough information policy environment, Iranian blogging, celebrating its fifth anniversary, is a vibrant public sphere of articulations of various kinds of 'political' issues. While far from more 'traditional' modes of political communication such as the press and organised parties, it would be wrong to dismiss the blogosphere as merely transient, 'personal' and expressive. Indeed, its space of diverse individual and collective articulations of the political addresses old and new concerns to new audiences at home and abroad and may well extend the sphere of the political in ways unimaginable to both religious and secular political elites.
University of Manchester, UK
Remembering the 1979 revolution and the Islamic Republic's early years has become yet another level of contestation amongst Iran's major competing factions. The Islamic Republic's major rival factions, this paper argues, have recently begun to promote their political message as corresponding to the proclaimed values and aspirations of the young Islamic Republic. They compete over how their prominent figures and their role in founding and defending the Islamic Republic are remembered. At the same time, they contest the other factions' narrative, and discount or challenge the way their role in the Islamic Republic's founding years is remembered.
Since 1997, we have been witnessing the emergence of new memoirs, written and published by the revolution's veterans, such as the former President Rafsanjani, Sheikh Sadeq Khalkhali, and Ayatollah Montazeri. This process has taken a different turn, especially since the months leading up to President Ahmadinejad's election. The new form is 'transcribed interviews/speeches' by distinguished revolutionary veterans, many of whom are hardliner or reformist figures, such as Habibollah Askar Owladi, Mohsen Reza'i, Behzad Nabavi, and Sa'id Hajjarian. The method that both reformist and hardliner factions use to spread these 'oral histories' adds to the significance of their message: their favourite medium is the Internet. Any such interview/speech is always published on more than one reformist or hardliner website. It is often accompanied by critical commentary contesting or confirming the claims of the narrator. This paper's objectives are hence to identify the emergence of 'a virtual oral history' of the early years of the Islamic Republic of Iran by its very protagonists and to explain and characterise how such narratives contextualise the present differences between rival factions in a historicised manner. Identifying the root causes of the present differences in events that date back to the early years of the Islamic Republic of Iran and/or the advent of the Islamic Revolution, the paper discusses how contested memories tend to shape and reshape ongoing factional differences.
The emancipation of Iranian women was a positive by-product of the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Under Mohammad Reza Shah, Iranian women were symbolically and literally represented by his own wives: Iran's three queens, Queen Fawzia, Queen Soraya and Empress Farah. The last and perhaps the most influential of royal wives, Farah Diba, played a significant role in promoting Iranian traditions and culture. Her decision to choose traditional Iranian textiles and handmade crafts for her official wardrobe had ramifications beyond superficial fashion. The net result was not only a collection of unique gowns and outfits which she wore well but more importantly it was an inspired validation of an ancient Persian handicraft tradition. It revitalised an almost forgotten art form into a national 'Fine Craft'. It was in 1966 that I was charged with the mission to design the Empress's clothes and start the handicraft project. From that date until the fall of the Pahlavi regime in 1979 the empress wore to all official ceremonies costumes that could be defined as 'Iranian Haute Couture'. I continued working with Empress Farah until 1979, not only designing a collection of garments for her using Persian textiles and embroideries, but occasionally for other members of her family, including the Shah and their children. In this endeavour, a team of creative artists were involved including Mohammad Noragi for Batik silk, Monireh Jahanbani for Baluchistan hand-stitching, Ostad Tariqi for Zari (brocade), and Pari Zolfaqari, who was exceptionally talented in executing the final product. For more than thirteen years I was privileged to be the conductor and leader of this gifted and brilliant team of artists. I brought to the task my design sensibility as an architect and designer and my own travels through the country. We journeyed throughout far-flung provinces in search of crafts and found those who still practised the tradition of their ancestors, and found ways to promote their art by incorporating it into new designs. Our team succeeded in creating la haute couture d'Iran a collection worthy of an Empress and able to proudly hold its own in face of the great European houses of haute couture. Brief as the movement was, it brought visibility and a national sense of pride, not just for the royal entourage but also for a much larger sector of society and even internationally. We aimed to keep and respect Persian tradition, innovating in a manner that respected continuity to create a 'national' Iranian art form that was simultaneously ancient and modern. The question now is whether it has had a lasting legacy or not.
Columbia University, USA
In the study of Persian miniature painting and its development through the fifteenth century, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of the illustrations in the Mantiq al-Tayr manuscript at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This manuscript of the allegorical work by the twelfth-century mystical poet Attar contains three paintings that are among the earliest specimens of the new style of Persian painting ushered in by Behzad and other artists at the court of Sultan Hosein Bayqara in Herat. While these three paintings bear all the traits of the new style, they also are unusual in containing figures and events that are apparently unrelated to the text they depict. Over the years, these enigmatic paintings have enticed art historians' curiosity and generated a number of largely inconclusive interpretations. This paper thoroughly analyses the ambiguous foreground of one of these well-known paintings, 'The Bearded Man Drowning,' and specify the nexus between Attar's metaphoric language and the painter's supposed cryptic depictions. The lower half of 'The Bearded Man Drowning' shows figures engaged in various actions and a series of conspicuously obscure details that betray no literal connection to the text they accompany. Through a close reading of Attar's text, the paper shows that the figures and actions depicted in the lower half of the painting are in fact pictorial wordplays analogous, but not identical, to the rhetorical devices commonly used in Persian mystical poetry. The paper also shows how, using what Attar's text has to recommend to a Sufi initiate, the artist has depicted images that signify specific practices of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, which enjoyed a great influence at the court of the last Timurid prince. This approach opens an array of possibilities for further study in the relationship between the visual and verbal imagery of later Persian painting.
Harvard University, USA
This paper will examine how the circulation of cultural idioms constitutes notions of self and home in The Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin, the memoir of an Armenian published in 1792 in London.
Emin was born in the midst of the eighteenth century upheavals of Iran, including the devastation of the Armenian center of New Julfa in 1747 under Nadir Shah. He and his family moved from Hamadan to Baghdad, Basra, Gilan, Surat, and finally Calcutta. Fleeing from having to follow in his father's mercantile footsteps, Emin traveled to England where he spent the next few years working menial jobs, learning English, and making the acquaintance of such eminent British personages as William Pitt and Edmund Burke. He developed aspirations of Armenian national independence and traveled to the Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire to realize his dream. His aspirations were ultimately disappointed, and he was forced to flee to New Julfa and then to Calcutta, where he wrote his English-language memoir.
An often conflicted cultural hybridity, engendered by his circulatory migration, characterizes Emin's idioms of self and nationhood. In order to 'translate' his life, Emin employs Orientalist images and references familiar to an English-speaking audience. But Emin's Orientalism is hybridized and conflicted by his familiarity and partial affiliations with the peoples he is representing. Emin simultaneously subverts and submits to Orientalism's dualism by representing Armenia as irrevocably Eastern, yet with a potential to realize European national virtues. In contradistinction to the self-serving, helpless merchant, Emin narrates himself as the realization of Armenian potential, describing a pious, brave masculinity essential for the maturation of Armenian nationhood. This masculinity resonates strongly with Iranian concepts of the noble and selfless javanmard (chivalrous brave). Although Emin seeks to highlight the cultural difference between Armenia and the East, this severing is only partial, destabilizing the binary of east and west upon which Orientalism depends.
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan
Although usury is prohibited by Islamic law, there have actually been some means to lend money with interest. Bay'-e shart, a sale with stipulation, was one of such means. This social practice prevailed in Qajar Iran, and people would go to sharia courts to arrange the contracts and draw up the documents. In this paper, I analyse some bay'-e shart documents from Qajar Tehran and try to clarify the social background of the practice. The system of bay'-e shart was rather complicated. As its name shows, it is categorised into a kind of sale in Islamic law. In this case, the seller takes on the role of a borrower, and the buyer takes on that of a lender, the merchandise, then, becomes the mortgage, and the price of the merchandise equals to the loan. Shart here means the stipulation which gives the seller/borrower an option to cancel the contract after a certain period. At the same time, the seller/borrower leases the merchandise from the buyer/lender, and gives him a rent, which actually means the interest. Through this system people were able to lend money with interest, without breaking the prohibition of rebh. We cannot find any professional bankers or merchants who took part in the transactions in the documents. On the other hand, we find some courtiers, builders, and women. The usual rate of the interest was 15-30%. Some transactions caused conflicts among the sellers/borrowers, the buyers/lenders and the shareowner of the mortgage. These conflicts, as well as some doubt on legality of the transaction, brought problems to the Qajar state. However, the state could not prohibit the transaction; that is because the transaction was indispensable for the economic flow at that time.
Johann Wolfang Goethe Universitaet, Frankfurt, Germany
The contemporary Western Iranian languages display nominal systems of widely differing kinds: when one disregards vocatives, there is, for instance, a one-case system with ezafe in New Persian, a two-case system plus ezafe and grammatical gender in Zazaki and Kurdish, a three-case system in Gilaki and a four-case system in Baluchi. Among these, only the derivation of the New Persian system from attested Middle Iranian and the origin of the oblique plural (general plural in New Persian) ending -an is immediately obvious. Moreover, as the distribution does not go together with isoglosses in historical phonology, the development of the nominal systems cannot be accounted for by a family tree model. This paper argues for an explanation of the Western Iranian nominal systems in terms of language contact and linguistic area. The ezafe in Kurdish and Zazaki corresponds to the Persian one in function, but not in form. Unlike the Kurd and Zazaki ezafe, NP -i has Middle Iranian predecessors, so the structure may have been copied from Persian, its form being developed further in Kurdish and Zazaki to match the two-case system with gender distinction. The elements used here may derive from demonstrative pronouns. The Baluchi four-case system can be shown to be based on an earlier three-case system which is identical to the Gilaki system both in form and function. Its starting point may be seen in the system of earlier Parthian, the oblique singular (-y in pre-Manichaean Parthian) being reduced to genitive function and a new element added to get a neo-oblique (ending -a, which is placed after the indefinite article). The shared innovations in the Gilaki-Baluchi system strongly argue for a joint development in a time when the two languages were spoken next to each other.
Georgia National Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia
Georgia National Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia
The copies of Ali Qapu fresco paintings kept in the Oriental Department of the Georgian National Museum have attracted attention for several reasons. The copies were made in 1932-33 by Matilda Mgebrishvili when she lived in Iran. These are life-size copies made as a result of her visits to the palace. It is historically documented that the Ali Qapu palace was richly painted, but unfortunately figurative images have been almost entirely damaged. The conservation and preservation of the frescos were performed in 1970s by the Italian Oriental Institute and it incorporated a great number of famous and still active scholars. It became possible to reveal only some small fragments of figurative paintings that provide evidence that such scenes were painted in the main hall adjoining the balcony and in the upper storey, the so called music room. 28 copies kept in the Oriental Department of the Georgian National Museum have some similarities with the other copies of Ali Qapu paintings made by another artist, Sarkis Katchadurian, in 1931-32. Some scenes copied by these two artists are identical and unique as the original fresco paintings have been lost. The copies kept in the Oriental Department somehow replenish Sarkis Katchadurian's paintings and make it possible partially to restore the decorative programme of the Ali Qapu palace. The subject of the copied material as well as the style of paintings make us think that these copies must have been made from the so-called music room that was the Shah's private leisure recess. Therefore the paintings represent leisure time and love scenes, and the style of painting is very close to Reza Abbasi's paintings. The most popular attributes of European attire merge with the traditional Iranian milieu peculiar to this period.
Institut fuer Geographische Wissenschaften, Germany
Afghan poppy cultivation is presented here as a case in point to exemplify the linkages between external influences and local effects. World market and power relations have influenced cultivation patterns, processing and trafficking. At the same time poppy cultivation pinpoints an internal development which is strongly linked to deteriorating state control, warlordism, and regional power politics. Opium production has served as a major source of revenue for the upholding of disparate political structures which reflect the present political map of Afghanistan. Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased substantially during the last 25 years from merely 200 tonnes of annual production to 4200 tonnes in 2004, with farmers making use of former development efforts in creating irrigated oases in Helmand and Nangarhar, substantially increasing their incomes after the Taliban's ban on production, making it a cash crop with no competition. Fairly new production zones have been added in recent times, e.g. Badakhshan – the stronghold of the Northern Alliance – has gained third position with major increases in the last few years. Afghanistan's poppy cultivation and opium production has to be interpreted in terms of globalisation and fragmentation. Drug trafficking affects the neighbouring states of Iran, Tajikistan, and Pakistan as they function as consumer markets, and at the same time trade routes for contraband drugs moving towards the west. Consequently the Afghan poppy cultivation is interpreted in a holistic manner in this paper.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Poetic language and form in both Indo-European and Indo-Iranian are a much discussed subject, with considerable work published in the recent decades (Watkins 1995, Elizarenkova 1995, numerous works of Schlerath, Schmidt, Schwartz etc.). Nevertheless, the technical aspects of poetic figures, and in particular the simile, have scarcely been dealt with. Thus, the focus of my research in this paper is the distribution of similes in the Avesta. First, it is remarkable that the Old Avestan texts entirely lack similes, even though these are the main poetic figure in the Rig Veda and their preeminence carries on to Classical Sanskrit literature, too. This absence of similes in the Gathas is especially surprising because the Indic and Iranian poetic traditions are so closely related otherwise, in terms of style and diction. Old Persian also lacks similes, though their absence in this corpus is less surprising than their absence in the Gathas. However, in Younger Avestan there do appear similes. This paper collects the similes in Younger Avestan, discuss their structure and evaluate them both in their own context and in the context of Indo-Iranian and Indo-European poetic language.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
One measure of the 'greatness' of a revolution is its ability to attract academic attention over the generations. Though it is only a quarter-century old, the Iranian Revolution may prove, by this criterion, to be 'great'. Despite a language barrier and evidentiary difficulties that limit Western scholarship, the Iranian Revolution has already, in less than one generation, offered social-scientific observers at least half a dozen faces. The paper seeks to examine several social-scientific explanations of the causes of the revolution and to summarise the evidence confirming and disconfirming each of them. The presentation hypothesises that ongoing geopolitical conflicts will keep the Iranian Revolution fascinating for new generations of social scientists, and that evolving social-scientific trends and the emergence of new historical evidence about Iran will continue to generate novel explanations for the revolution in the future.
Mara A Leichtman
Michigan State University, USA
Incorporating West African cases into discussions about Shiism and global Islam highlights social, political, and cultural change in relation to migration, ethnicity, proselytising and Muslim networking. Whereas the Lebanese Shiite community has been present in Senegal as early as the 1880s, a small Senegalese minority began to convert to Shiite Islam only recently as a result of the Iranian revolution of 1979. Iran has a history of economic cooperation with Senegal from the time of the Shah, but Senegalese President Abdou Diouf closed the Iranian embassy in 1984 for its encouragement of Islamic propaganda. The embassy reopened in the early 1990s, and was careful to stress only economic activities in Senegal. Nevertheless, the role of the embassy and non-governmental Iranian institutions in spreading knowledge of Shiite Islam through sending books to Senegal, bringing Senegalese to Iran, or building a hawza in Dakar, cannot be ignored. Leaders of the Senegalese Shiite movement are drawn to the religion for many reasons - political, spiritual, philosophical, financial, or because Shiite scholars convincingly answer their questions about Islam. They spread the word in Wolof or other local languages through teaching, conferences, holiday celebrations and media publicity. While influenced by the maraje' of Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, Senegalese Shiites emphasise that their Shiism is Senegalese. Indeed, through keeping their feet in both Sunni and Shiite worlds, Senegalese Shiites hope to find their place in Senegal's politics of religion. This paper explores the location of Shiite Islam in national and international religious networks, and the making of an indigenous Shiite Islam in Senegal.
University of Exeter, UK
Hakim Nizari Quhistani (645/1247–721/1321) was one of the most eminent Persian poets of the Mongol period. His Persian Divan, recently published in an excellent critical edition in Tehran, is totally steeped in the symbolism, imagery and metaphysics of celebrated Sufi poets who were his contemporaries, as well as highly influenced by Ismaili doctrine and esoteric philosophy. Nizari's influence on Hafez's Divan was first pointed out by Jami in his Baharestan who observed that 'the literary style of Hafez's poetry is close to that of Nizari Quhistani, although in Nizari's poetry there is much unevenness of quality to be found, contrary to that of Hafez' (Ala Afsahzad, Muhammad Jan Umraf and Abu Bakr Dhuhur al-Din ed. Baharestan va rasa'el-e Jami, 2000, p. 148). This influence is also highlighted by Mazahir Musaffa, who presents some twenty-six pages of parallel verses exemplifying the deep influence of Nizari's verse on Hafez in his introduction to Divan-e Hakim Nizari Quhistani, ed. Ali Reza Mojtahedzadeh (1992, pp. 347-73). Many if not most of the parallels cited by Musaffa, however, are of a loosely conceptual nature rather than concerned with metrics or imagery. In this talk I compare some of the key theosophical topoi, theological themes and Sufi ideas in Hafez and Nizari's ghazals in order to assess the precise breadth and depth of the influence of the Ismaili poet's religious views on Hafez.
Indiana University in Bloomington, USA
Since the time of E. G. Browne, literary historians have painted a bleak picture of the state of the poetic art during the long reign of Shah Tahmasp. Under the influence of this stern and pietistic ruler, so the story goes, poets were forced to harness their talents to serve the emerging Shiite state ideology. This image of poets chafing under the reins of a sectarian fanaticism, however, does scant justice to the range and variety of literary expression during the period. The middle of the sixteenth century witnessed striking innovations in poetic language, genre, and thematics, and the rise of the new dynasty seems to have inspired a wave of literary experimentation. Perhaps no poet exemplifies the complex and dynamic spirit of the age better than Mohtasham of Kashan. He is, of course, best known today for his stanzaic poem on the martyrdom of Imam Husayn at Karbala. Such poems, however, make up but a tiny fraction of his vast oeuvre. Far more substantial are two works of a very different tenor, Noql-e oshshaq (1558-59) and Resaleh-ye Jalaliyeh (1572). These proto-novels combine prose and poetry to tell the story of the poet-narrator's stormy affairs with, respectively, an upper-class courtesan and a footman of the royal court. Written in a highly crafted prose abounding in the metaphorical language of deference, innuendo, and politesse, the earlier of these works, Noql-e oshshaq (A Lovers' Confection), purports to give an autobiographical account of Mohtasham's adventures in the sophisticated, urban demimonde of Safavid Persia, where poetry served as the preferred means of courtship and negotiation. To introduce Noql-e oshshaq to a broader audience, this paper gives an account of its genesis, a summary of its plot, and a close reading of two short passages. Literary, historical, and comparative approaches are also outlined for the future study of this engaging depiction of erotic and cultural life in early modern Iran.
Mark David Luce
University of Chicago, USA
The Samanids during the fourth/tenth century made a major effort to bring Islam to the Turks and indigenous populations. The advent of the ethnically Persian Samanid dynasty introduced for the first time an element of self-rule which strove to improve general conditions for the population and to win the local and surrounding non-Muslim populations to Islam. While Islam had been introduced to the area for over 200 years, it had manifested itself in a variety of different forms and at times led to revolts, insurrections, purges and civil war. The efforts to bring Islam to the eastern frontier finally triumphed. However, Islam itself evolved and mutated into a number of permutations, which the Samanids considered to be politically threatening. Their propagation of Islam also required that written guidelines for orthodoxy should be established. A contextualisation of both the Tarjameh-ye tafsir-e Tabari and the Tarjameh-ye al-sawad al-a'zam will help us better understand this process. It is most significant that both of these two early prose works were both translated into Persian. This paper endeavours to present a picture of the religious milieu of fourth/tenthcentury Khorasan/Transoxiana, clear up past misunderstandings of the true nature of the Tarjameh-ye tafsir-e Tabari, and examine 'orthodox' Islam as presented by the Tarjameh-ye al-sawad al-a'zam.
Pavel B Lurje
Institut fuer Iranistik der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Austria
The present paper examines occurrences and role of royal and high official titles (of Iranian, Turkic, Chinese etc. provenance) in the Sogdian onomastics, especially in toponymy. The high variety of titles in the texts preserved suggests the absence of a unified monarchy in Sogdiana, and a federation of city-states; this fact is well known on the basis of other sources of information, as well. The correspondence of some Sogdian lexemes related to royal power to Ossetic words (and the evidently borrowed character of the former ones) witnesses the Iranian nomadic (Scythian, Massagetan, Dahan) stratum in the development of royal institution(s) in Sogdiana. Several place-names from Sogdiana and neighbouring areas display a pattern: 'royal title/name of ruler' + 'town, settlement'. Consequently, the underlying towns were built or rebuilt by corresponding authorities. Such place-names are most common in the Tashkent area (Chach) and in Semirechye, which are areas of Sogdian colonisation and not mainland, thus displaying important aspects of urbanisation among the colonists and their relation to surrounding nomads.
University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Drawing on evidence from urban planning and development, this paper offers an analysis of the Iranian revolution as a stage in the country's troubled process of modernisation. This may appear strange to those who are used to seeing Iran as the archetypal traditionalist country engaged in turning the tide of history backwards. However, by distinguishing cultural symbolism from political and economic practices, by tracing patterns of institutional and physical continuity and change, by considering the revolution as a heterogeneous social movement rather than a homogeneous phenomenon, and by comparing Iran with other countries, a different picture emerges. Ever since its humiliating encounters with the expanding West two centuries ago, irrevocable changes have occurred in the life of Iranians, resulting in tensions between tradition and modernity; tensions that have characterised Iran so far, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The urban elites that represent these tendencies have often confronted each other, but have also united in at least two major revolutions. They continue to share the same set of problems: how to resist and embrace change at the same time; in other words, how to maintain a confident sense of identity while addressing the need for physical and institutional change. While their approaches towards identity have been different (nationalism versus religion), their responses to change have been similar on many issues: embracing a utopian ideal achievable only through a radical break from the past, which is a hallmark of modernisation. This is often imposed from above on many areas of everyday social life, particularly visible in attitudes towards urban development and transformation, which is characterised by a primarily modernist vision.
Hokkaido University, Japan
Modern scholarship is not always in agreement on the role of the Georgian subjects at the Safavid court. While Georgian historians try to emphasise that the mission and main purpose of these Georgians was to be of assistance in the fight of Georgia for its freedom and independence, other scholars paint a different picture altogether. Namely one in which the Georgians at the Safavid court are represented as members of a slave-military elite, who are very accepting of the authority of their Safavid overlords. The drawback of both these point of view is that it presupposes a very simplistic set of relationships between the individuals involved. It also needs to be pointed out that historians working on these aspects of Safavid history have perhaps relied too much on the writings of Western observers such as John Chardin or Father Krusinski, whose accounts also present a highly simplified version of Safavid court culture. In the presentation the author discusses several recent findings and stresses that the political struggles at the court might be easier explained if one takes into account a variety of ethnic, local, and religious issues. The paper furthermore illustrates the complex webs of marriage alliances with in the court, which makes it evident that some of the events reported by Father Krusinski, and repeated thereafter by many later historians, are unlikely to have a factual basis.
Tehran University and Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia, Iran
Bakhtiari is a dialect of Lori, an Iranian language spoken by nearly 4,280,000 people in southwestern Iran. It should be noted that Bakhtiari is not a dialect of Kurdish in spite of sharing a number of lexical and phonological features with that language, and along with Luri, Feyli, Leki (Laki, Alaki), and Kelhuri, constitute the family of Lori dialects. Linguists have identified two classes of Lori dialects: Lor-e Bozorg, which is spoken by the Bakhtiari, Kuhgiluyeh, and Mamassani tribes; and Lor-e Kuchak, which is spoken by the Lors of Lorestan. This paper deals with the negation patterns in the Bakhtiari dialect, from a typological point of view, provided by Payne (1985), and Kahrel (1994). The data used for the study have been collected from the speech of the settled Bakhtiari people in Kalkale and Miyan Rudan villages, rural districts of Dorud, in Lorestan province.
Islamic Azad University, Shahr-e-Rey & al-Zahra University, Iran
In the twentieth century, Armenian women of Iran have benefited from a more open environment and have had access to more progressive notions of women's participation in public than their Muslim counterparts. Living in the Caucusus/Armenian–inspired community who embraced Westernisation more readily and earlier than the Muslim mainstream, Armenian women formed an important part of the political, social, and cultural drive for greater social and legal freedom for Iranian women. This paper looks at the legacy of this activism through the study of the various organisations and institutions of the Armenian women of Tehran. In many cases, Armenian women were the first to establish non-profit and relief organisations such as The Armenian Women's Organisation of Tehran, Armenian Benevolent Organisation (Women), and Armenian Women's Organisation (Haigin). The study is based on the written and pictorial materials from the archives as well as interviews with the leadership of these organisations.
Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran
Unprecedented since the 1979 revolution, a series of demonstrations by thousands of teachers engulfed Tehran and other cities of Iran in the January 2001. The next significant wave of teacher protests began in March 2003, during which many teachers went on strike in several cities, including Tehran. The last significant wave of teacher protests has been based on collective petitions to different levels of the authorities since 2004. These three different waves of teacher protests have had the same content: an attempt at improving their working conditions and salaries through different modes of collective action. This paper provides both theoretical and empirical framework for analysing the political economy of teachers' economic demands in Iran during recent years, narrating the teacher movement in the above-mentioned three waves, according to which it seems that teacher protests have substantially declined since 2001. Such declining trajectory raises an important question: what are the consequences of the decrease in teacher protests in the political arena for teachers' activities in the economic arena? The hypothesis may be summarised as follows: teachers' job dissatisfaction generates the pressure of economic demands among them, which will be channelled into either individual economic action in their everyday economic life or the collective act of communicating their grievances to the authorities in the political scene; the more pressure escapes through individual actions in everyday economic life, the less is available to foment the collective action in the political scene, and vice versa. Considering a decreasing trend of teacher protests in the 2001-2004 period, an increasing trend of economic responses to job dissatisfaction on the part of teachers is expected to have appeared on the employment area. Therefore, in spite of strong dissatisfaction with their jobs, a majority of teachers are resorting to individual and unorganised economic responses rather than collective and organised political responses, a characteristic which has formed teachers' responses to job dissatisfaction into non-movement rather than classical movement, with disastrous but unobtrusive macroeconomic consequences.
Derek J Mancini-Lander
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
This paper serves as part of a larger project that explores knowledge transmission among communities of learning in the Early Modern Persianate world. The present inquiry aims to ground this investigation in an understanding of the urban environment in which these exchanges of ideas occurred, and thus considers how members of such circles of learning conceptualized the spaces in which they exchanged ideas. The very notion of 'city' existed as an imagined reality in the mentalities of those who participated in the complex systems of spaces and institutions that embodied the life of the city as a whole. A true understanding of how ideas flowed within various urban structures is predicated upon an understanding of the particular ways in which urban populations of any given region conceived of the complex urban phenomenon. One must explore their particularly urban epistemologies of place.Using the example of the Muhammad Mofid Bafqi's Jami'-i Mofidi, a local history of Yazd, I begin to map the epistemic topography of one such urban landscape in the seventeenth century Safavi context. Mofid first presents his city's history chronologically, but then departs from this rendering of historical events and retells the city's stories through taxonomically arranged categories of descriptions of its districts, monuments, and personages. Thus, he defines his understanding of 'city' through its history, but pivoted around anecdotes about various classifications of spaces and people who occupy them. The city, for Mofid exists largely through the physical monuments and endowments left by their benefactors, the memory of their history, and the "benefits" this past legacy transmits to the present city. Mofid is particularly interested in the contemporary religiosity of Yazdis, and consequently, in the remembrance of the spiritually charged origins of the spaces in which religious rituals and learning occur. This paper will focus specifically on his treatment of these spaces and the relationship between contemporary realities and the memory of their evolution.
University of Alberta, Canada
The central focus of this paper is a comparative study of the Persian Sufi poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi (1212-1273) and the English metaphysical poet, John Donne (1572-1631). The study analyses the two schools of thought to which these poets belong as well as their individual worldviews to elucidate the different dimensions of the shared philosophy governing their poetry. This is, in itself, a metaphysical endeavour, namely, to use Dr Johnson's phrase facetiously, 'yoking together' two literary monarchs who appear to be culturally, chronologically, and geographically so distant. The task of comparing the religious poetry of Rumi and Donne is primarily a typological one. After presenting a thorough definition of 'mysticism', the paper illustrates that despite some differences seen in addressing the 'Divine' in the works of the two poets, the two Islamic and Christian mystical systems -- to which the two poets belong -- have much in common. Mysticism, Islamic or otherwise, is generally believed to have originated from the West in the influence it received from Plato and Platonic writings. Also, in voicing the shortcomings of reason in achieving union with the 'Beloved' and in going against mainstream religious thoughts, Rumi and Donne have much in common. The emphasis commonly laid upon logic in gaining proximity to God characterises the religious expressions of the predecessors of both Rumi and Donne. Next, the paper highlights some of the main differences between the two poets, including the distinction that exists between naturalistic pantheism and mystical/philosophical pantheism. The portrayal of the clash between older and new science in Donne's poetry is yet another factor in distinguishing the works of the two poets. This close and comparative study of the two poets highlight the basic principles that underlie the metaphysical poems of Rumi and Donne. In a yet more general sense, the paper sheds more light on the bonds between the two disciplines of religion/mysticism and literature and would thus examine not only the interdependent issues in the two disciplines but also the invisible and yet highly astonishing closeness that exists in the representative works of the two literary and religious traditions.
Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Manzoorolajdad
Tarbiat-e Modarres University, Iran
The Shiite support of scientists dates back to the tenth century (fourth century AH) when dar al-'elmswere widely established throughout Iran and Iraq. This support is reflected in various books and treatises compiled in the names of, and dedicated to the Shiite rulers and noblemen of the tenth and eleventh centuries (fourth and fifth centuries AH, respectively). Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani and Ibn Sina are two renowned scientists who enjoyed favourable support of the Buyid rulers and wrote books in their names. In addition to the Shiite rulers, the Shiite noblemen of the same period played a prime role in advocating advancement of science and exaltation of the scientists. This paper aims to examine the life and times of one such nobleman, Abu al-Hasan Mutahhar ibn Abulghasim Ali (d. 1098 CE / 492 AH) who is better known as Morteza Zo'lfakhrayn and who served as the Alid naqib of Ray in the late 11th century. Shahmardan ibn Abi al-Khayr Razi and Ali ibn Ahmad Nasavi, two prominent mathematicians and astronomers of this era, paid homage to him and dedicated three of their scientific books to him. Focusing on the life of this Shiite naqib, I examine the key role of influential Shiite individuals in promoting and propagating rational sciences during the Saljuq era. I also try to shed light on the complex relationship between the Shiite religious beliefs and political objectives on the one hand, and certain Shiite individuals' support of the scientists on the other.
California State University, Sacramento, USA
This paper examines one important aspect of the Iranian state's cultural policy during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1926-1941). It will focus specifically on state-sponsored commemorations and public ceremonies that collectively worked to construct a new Iranian national memory during this period. The empirical focus of the paper will be on the growing prominence of poetry and poets in the Pahlavi state's official culture. In particular the bulk of the paper will analyse the much-publicised visit to Iran, in 1932, by the Indian artist, novelist, and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. The visit to Iran by Tagore was, as the paper argues, tied to the Iranian state's interest in constructing an Indo-Iranian cultural identity as the basis of a modern Iranian national consciousness. By analysing primary source material connected to the visit, including Tagore's own written account of the event, the Ministry of Culture's official pronouncements on Tagore's visit, newspaper accounts of the public ceremonies associated with the visit, and memoirs of organisers of the event, the paper argues that Tagore's presence in Iran was intended to portray to the public a visual and cultural reminder of a living tradition of Iranian 'authenticity' that had remained dormant, yet vital, in the Indian subcontinent and which was now being revived by the Iranian state. The emphasis on the revival of Indo-Iranian cultural connections was part of the larger cultural policy of the state to disassociate Iranian identity from its Islamic past and revive pre-Islamic historical memory. In this sense the paper I argue that Tagore was represented to the public as a living and contemporary embodiment of a particularly Iranian national identity -- tied to a specifically Iranian historical consciousness and to a distinctly Iranian spiritual style -- first actualised by the classical tradition of Iranian poets and now embodied by Tagore.
Roxanne D Marcotte
University of Queensland, Australia
Asir al-Din al-Abhari (d. 663/1264) wrote the Aghaz va Anjam (Genesis and Return). This eschatological work raises a number of interesting questions related to its redaction. Written at the request of 'dear friends', Abhari presents in this work 'succinct' views on mabda' and ma'ad. The text ends, however, with the following statement: 'the summary (mokhtasar) which Imam Asir al-Din al-Abhari composed is finished' (mm, 174.3). Is the Anjam va Aghaz an original work of Abhari, or did Abhari himself write a summary based on an earlier, or earlier works on mabda' and ma'ad, perhaps even one of his own works? Did Abhari write an original work, or is it merely a summary of an earlier philosophical text, perhaps a Persian summary of an Arabic original work on mabda' and ma'ad? Avicenna (d. 428/1037) wrote an Arabic Mabda' va Ma'ad, but a quick examination of the table of contents of Avicenna's work reveals that it is probably not the source of Abhari's Aghaz va Anjam. What might then be the origin or sources of Abhari's work? This paper focuses on Abhari's Anjam va Aghaz (Sabzavari edition) and tries to provide some answers to these questions. The structure and the content of the work are analysed and compared with other Persian and Arabic philosophical texts on mabda' and ma'ad, mostly from the Avicennan tradition. Avicenna did write other works that included sections on mabda' and ma'ad, as did a number of his disciples who imitated him. One difficulty, however, is the fact that Abhari was both a theologian and philosopher, making it possible for his Anjam va Aghaz to be influenced by theological considerations. One of Abhari's contemporary, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 672/1274) also wrote an Aghaz va Anjam (Amoli edition), which may share elements with the Avicennan tradition.
United States Library of Congress, USA
In 1976 Iran hosted the first international women in architecture conference. Famous and not so-famous women architects from around the world were invited to a Caspian resort, greeted by the Empress Farah and pampered at the grand Hotel Ramsar. The topics were global and the audience was as select as the panellists and discussants. While it made international news, the local community was oblivious. Was this simply another example of the pomp and ceremony of the Pahlavi regime? Or was Iran in the 1970s the natural locale for such an event? My paper will attempt to address the simpler question of why such an event would occur in Iran and what role if any did Iran play in the international architectural scene? During the last years of the decade, a Who's Who in architecture passed through Mehrabad airport or travelled the road between Tehran and Isfahan— I. M. Pei, Louis Kahn, Moshe Safdie, Robert Venturi, Jacqueline Robertson, and others. The Shah of Iran was determined to modernise the country and oil finally made it possible. Oil became indispensable worldwide and Iran became the new architectural hub as authorities converged to offer well paid advice. Western-educated Iranian architects became instant partners of the world's most renowned architectural firms. Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Perkins and Will, Llewelyn, Davis and expert planners from Harvard University set up shop in Tehran. Entire cities were planned. A new government township called the Shahestan-e Pahlavi, was designed to centralise the multitude of government offices in Tehran. The largest urban park in the world— Pardisan was conceived as an ecological microcosm of the world, designed by an Iranian-American collaborative with landscape architect, Ian McHarg. Then, the 1979 revolution brought an abrupt end to the foreign presence in Iran and the Shah's grand projects remained unrealised. Built and unbuilt projects of the 1970s in Iran have yet to receive any attention in ongoing historical or political debates. Using selected case studies, this paper will attempt to extrapolate the result of the intense exchange that took place in the architectural stage that was Iran of the 1970s.
Richard C Martin
Emory University, USA
This paper challenges the general trend in Religious Studies and Islamic Studies to ignore and even condemn Muslims who have secular identities, by choice or by default. The main argument is that scholarly writing on Islamic religion has been blind to the significance of what I shall define as the secular dimension of Islamic thought and society. The tendency has been to write about the orthodox traditions of Sunni, Shiite and Sufi Islam. This essentialist thrust has failed to account for secular Muslims who continue to embrace aspects of their heritage, but who are often overlooked as social and intellectual actors in modern Islamic societies. In this regard, the project offers a critique of modern scholarship on religion that has too narrowly defined its subject matter. In recent decades, the relationship of secular modernism to religion has become a global culture war whose combatants include theologians, historians of religion, social scientists, politicians, and journalists, among others. The debate has been particularly acute among Muslims, some of whom, as in other traditions, see secularism as the antithesis of religion, and often strongly associated with Westernisation, and others who see secularism as the most rational basis in the modern nation-state for religious communities to coexist. This project is not about secularism as such, however, but rather it calls for an analysis and critique of the debate about secularism in the mosque and the academy. At the same time, it reflects the global aggressiveness of religious identity, especially since 1990, and thus it invites comparative analyses as well. Ultimately, the project calls for history of religions scholarship to write Muslims with secular identities back into Islamic intellectual and cultural history.
Royal Holloway, UK
This paper will examine the case of an honour killing in 1844 of Bibi Assilu, who was the widow of the Persian writer of the British Residency, in front of her son, still a child. The case was taken up by Hennell, British resident in the Persian Gulf, because of her connection to the Residency, and thus had implications for the possible derogation of British prestige. The paper looks first at the circumstances of the murder, giving an account of the event and of those who either witnessed it or were involved in it. The discussion will then move to the position of the perspectives of some of those involved, considering that of Hennell, and asking why he took action in this case. The paper will also consider the position of the slaves who witnessed the murder, and the implications of their position under the sharia. Finally, the paper will address its main issue, the correspondence between Hennell and Sheikh Hasan Al-e 'Usfur, the qadi of Bushehr, and the rights and punishments due to the individuals concerned under the law. In essence, the paper uses the case to study the effects of proposed legal change in a society not yet prepared for it in social, cultural or institutional terms, and the personal price that can thereby be paid for it. It thereby assesses the way law, and social and cultural values, reflect each other and depend on each other for the resolution of disputes. It finally touches on the significance of the actual absence of penal institutions.
Illinois State University, USA
Studying the recent feminist historiography of early twentieth century, one is faced with a shortage of primary sources about women as well as a lack of theoretical sources on how to compose a diverse (in terms of class, region, ethnicity and religion) feminist historiography of Iran. A shortage of information related to women's historical sources obliged feminist historians to collect what little information was available in primary sources mostly about women's general achievements. The problem one often finds in reading feminist historians is that they tend to obscure women's private lives in the early twentieth century and generalise their diverse experiences. This paper utilises contract marriages which have not been taken into account in feminist historiography, to examine women's experiences in their private lives and their relationship with men based on socio-economic conditions through the surviving marriage contracts of the early twentieth century. These contracts have mostly survived from the legal court system of the constitutional era in the Tehran region and are an excellent source for examining women's issues that were taken to court. Temporary marriages, daily expenditure or nafaqeh and being forced into prostitution were some of the charges against husbands for which women of the time filed suit in a court of law. The other sources used are marriage and divorce procedures in the early twentieth century which were practised according to Islamic law.
Hafez Abid Masood
International Islamic University, Pakistan
The recent past has witnessed a phenomenal rise in studies on Anglo-Islamic relations during the early modern period. The field has gone a long way since the publication of Samuel C. Chew's The Crescent and the Rose: Islam and England during the Renaissance (1937). The publication of Nabil Matar's Islam in Britain 1558-1685 (1998) and Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (1999) is a new landmark in the history of the subject. Similarly, Daniel Vitkus' Turning Turk: English Theatre and the Multicultural Mediterranean (2003), Matthew Dimmock's New Turkes' Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern England (2005) and Jonathan Burton's Traffic and Turning: Islam and English Drama (September 2005) further illustrate the interest of scholars in the subject. One thing that becomes apparent at a cursory look is that most of the recent scholarship has been working on Anglo-Ottoman relations. The area of Anglo-Persian relations seems to have received little attention by the scholars except a few doctoral dissertations and journal articles. The purpose of the present paper is to explore the impact of Anglo-Persian relations on Early Modern English understanding of Islam. The paper argues that one of the most significant aspects of this understanding was the deepening of English knowledge about the sectarian division of Islam into Sunni and Shiite factions. This awareness was all the more important as it fell into a time when Europe itself was experiencing sectarian divide into Protestant and Catholic groups. The knowledge of Muslim sectarian division must have provided solace to so many in Europe who had anxieties about the state of Christian religion. The distribution of Shiite and Sunni along national lines -- Persia and Turkey, respectively -- might have fired the imagination of the likes of Earl of Essex who intended to exploit this religious division by using Persians against the Turks, going against the policy of Queen Elizabeth to have good relations with the Ottomans. Using plays like The Travels of Three English Brothers (1607), The Sophy (1642), Mirza: A Tragedy (1655), travel narratives of English visitors to Persia and other relevant material, this paper attempts to show to what extant the early modern English people knew the differences between the Shiites and Sunnis, the Turks and the Persians. It further shows how the awareness of this difference affected the English foreign policy towards the Muslim nations during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
University College London, UK
This study is concerned with the transformation of Iranian cities during the Iranian modernisation in the 1930s. The study explains this transformation considering spatial structure, urban social structure and social life in Iranian cities, based on spatial analyses and an investigation of changes in the social life. The spatial analyses, based on space syntax, will compare spatial configuration of traditional Iranian cities with some traditional European cities, as well as comparing spatial configuration of Iranian cities before and after the modern transformation. On a social level, this study is based on interviews with people who remember the urban society and life in the city of Dezful to appraise various aspects of urban life before and after the modern transformation. Moreover the Ashura ceremony, as one of the significant parts of social life, will be socially/spatially compared before and after the modern transformation in Dezful. The comparative spatial configuration analyses show that local spatial system in Iranian traditional cities is stronger than European cases; however they are weaker on the macro level. In other words, the local spatial structure has a more significant role in urban structure than macro or overall urban structure. Moreover, the analyses show that the significance of local structure is replaced by macro structure, which is based on the formation of new streets after the modern transformation. Investigating in social level shows that, urban society was based on mahalleh or quarter, and city quarters were divided into Heydari and Nemati quarters. In other words, urban society was based on local systems, therefore urban society as an integrated social system was difficult to detect. The local-based society is transformed into a macro social system, and social division, based on Heydari and Nemati, vanished after modernisation. The transformation of urban society has had a direct effect on social life and religious ritual like Ashura ceremonies. For instance comparing Ashura ceremonies before and after modernisation shows that it was a local ritual in term of events and its routes within the cities in traditional period; however the ritual events and routes were changed within cities that show an integrated urban social life after modernisation. Consequently, the statement of this study is: the significance of local urban system, in both social and spatial aspect, was replaced by macro system after the modern transformation.
University of Sussex, UK
Precapitalist Iran has traditionally been theorised in terms of the classical concepts of Asian mode of production and Feudalism, neither of which has proved to be adequate. This paper proposes an alternative theorisation of precapitalist Iran that is informed by Trotsky's theory of uneven and combined development. I show that precapitalist Iran cannot be adequately understood through an 'internalist' historical schema theory of geopolitically hermetic successive modes of production; rather, it can be better understood within the context of an internationally augmented Historical Materialism which posits the ontological co-constitution of 'external' and 'internal'. The aims of this paper are, therefore, threefold: to critically re-asses the extant approaches to precapitalist Iran; to theoretically and substantively valorise the historical materialist approach to non-Western precapitalist societies; to evaluate the ramifications of this alternative theorisation for understanding the specific trajectory of capitalist development in Iran.
California State University, Los Angeles, USA
From the Constitutional revolution through the Pahlavi monarchy to the Islamic Republic, nationalism has remained the core mythos of the modern Iranian nation-state. Conforming to global patterns, and with little critical self-awareness, modern historiography has been the fountainhead of nationalist mythology. Since the 1980s, however, more critical academic studies have developed two main theoretical approaches to Iranian nationalism: A postmodern school draws on Benedict Anderson and Michel Foucault to analyse nationalist discourses as 'technologies of power', involved with the construction of novel cultural and gender identities and boundaries (Kashani-Sabet, 1999; Najmabadi, 2005; Rejal, 1994; Tavakoli-Targhi, 2001; Vaziri, 1993). A second approach is the Marxian tradition (structural, Gramscian and subaltern) that views nationalism as a hegemonic ideology, articulated primarily within the state and binding various subaltern classes and strata to dominant ones (Abrahamian, 1983; Afary, 1996; Parsa, 1989; Foran, 1994; Vali, 1993). After a brief comparison of the above scholarly trends, this paper will focus on Marxism as modern Iran's alternate ideology of political mobilisation, second in mythic appeal only to nationalism. Using samples of historiography, journalism, fiction, and memoirs, it will demonstrate how four generations of Marxists produced historical narratives that challenged nationalist mythologies empowering existing political regimes. Still, Marxism and nationalism had an ambiguous relationship marked by significant overlaps as well as conflict. The anti-imperialist and populist discourses of Iranian nationalists and Islamists were heavily indebted to Marxism. Less studied is the phenomenon of most Marxists identifying utopian images of socialism with existing nation-state, i.e. the Soviet Union, China, or Cuba.
University of Delaware, USA
This paper subjects the treatment of Christians in Safavid Iran to a fresh examination. Using modern Western standards as a yardstick, historians have typically addressed the place and role of Christianity in Iran -- represented by indigenous Christians, Armenians and Georgians, and by resident missionaries and visiting travellers and merchants -- to rank the various Safavid rulers in terms of the degree to which they accorded tolerance to 'minorities'. The result has been a schematic portrayal of progressive 'decline', represented by a slide from the 'tolerant' Shah Abbas I to increasing repression of Christians (and other 'minorities') under later rulers, as religious officials gained in prominence and came to set the agenda of the state. Focusing on the seventeenth century, my presentation revisits the issue within the context of the internal dynamics of the Safavid state and society, and against the backdrop of 1) the cultural ambience of the Safavids as heirs to a Central Asian Turko-Mongol legacy, and Iran's proximity to and close interaction with ancient Christian lands such as Armenia and Georgia; 2) the foreign policy objectives of Iran's rulers, especially with regard to their struggle against the Ottomans. Persian court chronicles, European missionary accounts, and Western travelogues will serve to complicate the picture of degeneration from 'tolerance' to 'intolerance' and to substantiate the argument that 3) Christians generally enjoined not just the tolerance typically accorded to dhimmisbut also the fruits of the traditional Iranian respect for freedom of consciousness. 4) Various Safavid rulers and many intellectuals, including religious scholars, showed a genuine interest in Christian doctrine and philosophy. 5) Fiscal rather than simply religious motives often determined the treatment of non-Muslim groups within the population, and the unmistakable deterioration in the position of 'minorities', including Christians, must be attributed more to the worsening of Iran's economic conditions than to an increase in religious bigotry.
Sistan and Baluchistan University, Iran
During the Sasanian era, it was the custom for the most important Iranian provinces to be governed under the supervision of the king's son or someone who was close to the imperial family. Sakestan Province, having an important position in this period, was controlled by the crown prince and thus his title became Sakanshah. One of the major outcomes of this standing presence of the Sasanian princes in Sistan was relatively heavy urbanisation in the region. The oldest city of Sistan which was mentioned by Muslim historians and geographers is Ram Shahrestan or Abar Shahr, the capital of Sistan during the Sasanian period. Authors such as Jayhani, Ibn-e Hughal and Estakhri have all written descriptions of this city. According to geographers the city was abandoned because of a disconnection with its adjacent river and was then removed to another place under the name of Zarang at the end of the Sasanian era. However, identifying the actual location of Ram Shahrestan is difficult because of contradictions in geographical writings and because of the existence of manifold foothills in the Sistan plain. In this research, I have tried to specify the real location of Ram Shahrestan according to historical analysis and systematic archaeological surveys. By studying the available evidence, Ram Shahrestan's first establishment and final abandonment have been identified. On the basis of these, today's Tappa Shahrestan, 25 km southeast of Zabol, is the actual location of Ram Shahrestan which was occupied from the third century BCE up to the end of sixth century CE.
The province of Khorasan, in the northeastern part of Iran, after approval by the government in 2004, was divided into three separate provinces which were named Northern Khorasan, Razavi Khorasan, and Southern Khorasan. Northern Khorasan, with Bojnurd as its capital, is the subject of this paper. Since the creation of Northern Khorasan province, the cost of properties such as residential, agricultural and commercial lands has been increasing rapidly. On the other hand, not only Iran's government but also the private sector has supplied greater financial resources to this province in order to accomplish industrial and construction projects. These policies have caused rapid economical growth of this area in less than one year. But the indexes of social and cultural development have not grown in the same direction of economical development because of the lack of previous planning and management. In Northern Khorasan, Bojnurd and other cities have been seen economical development but with the same social, cultural and ethnic situations that they had before this spurt of growth. In this paper, I have tried to compare the socio-cultural situation of this province with its economical situation. This research is based on principles of social psychology and I have attempted to predict and analyse the short-term and long-term consequences of uneven development in this zone. Analysing some indexes such as ethnic features, traditional life style, rural and urban mentality, social participation of women, historical background, geographical position, public participation in politics of central government (before and after revolution), literacy levels (education, familiarity with laws, familiarity with the world's political and scientific events) and so on, I have tried to show that the separation of Northern Khorasan in this specific historical section has numerous unanticipated consequences not only in the same area but also in relation with the rest of Iran.
University of Cambridge, UK
It is well known that the Mongols themselves produced very little historical literature that reveals their own version of their rise to power under Chingiz Khan, and that most of our evidence comes from the records of the peoples they conquered. Even in Iran, contemporary accounts of the Mongol conquests are few and our main sources, such as Juvayni and Juzjani, are already writing a generation later. More significantly, they are writing at a time when the Mongol regime was consolidating its conquests and beginning to settle down to its new and less destructive role of ruling and governing: a time for image formation to back up empire formation. When Ghazan Khan's minister Rashid al-Din compiled his celebrated 'Compendium of Chronicles' (Jami' al-Tawarikh), the Mongols had converted to Islam. His work is the first to give a truly detailed account of the rise of the Mongols in their steppe milieu, based largely on first hand material deriving from Mongol sources. It is a seminal account, which exercised a great influence on later historiography. This presentation focuses on two little-known works that claim to be based directly on Rashid al-Din's chronicle. The first, a verse epic by Shams al-Din Kashani, was completed during reign of Oljeitu (d. 1316) and is stated by the author to have been commissioned by Ghazan Khan himself, to render the Jami' al-Tawarikh into poetry. The second, by a certain Sati ibn al-Hasan al-Kunavi, is a prose abbreviation of the Jami', also written as a commission, in 1377. Both works occur in rare illustrated manuscripts. The paper concentrates on the depiction of Chingiz Khan in these two works, both to explore the changing perception of the great conqueror in subsequent Persian literary sources, and especially to compare their accounts with that of their supposed source, Rashid al-Din.
The Islamic cultural revolution, part of the larger programme of Islamic evolution, was meant to create a new, culturally distinct Islamic generation. However, in contemporary Iran, there is a dispute over cultural authority and power, which in one way manifests itself in the cultural defiance of many youth of the so-called 'Third Generation', and the response to this defiance by the Islamic authorities. The situation of cultural domination and resistance in Islamic Iran, as well as the possibilities and limitations of clandestine cultures of the subjugated and cultural re-appropriation, along with the dynamic of cyberspace, is the focus of exploration in this paper. This paper will show that the implications for the maintenance of cultural Islamic ideals have become problematic, because this cultural Islam holds little weight with those youth who do not identify with the revolution or its ideals. Using the theoretical circumstances of domination and resistance as developed by social scientist James Scott (1990), the paper shows how in Islamic Iran, culture is tied both to domination and resistance: the domination of cultural symbols and rituals is essential to the Islamic government's authority, and correspondingly political resistance is dependent upon resisting and overturning cultural norms. The paper argues that this is how the Third Generation has significantly impacted contemporary Iranian society: by resisting, defying, and in some cases re-constituting aspects of the government's Islamic cultural programme, and by creating alternative cultures in cyberspace, this generation has forged a programme of survival in the face of Islamic domination. However, this does not mean that citizens in the Islamic Republic are not confronted, challenged, or silenced by the government, but it does imply a trend that points to the complications of continued Islamic domination, a predicament becoming increasingly pertinent in the context of a globalising era.
Institut Francais de Recherche en Iran, Iran and Universitaet Erfurt, Germany
The capture of all state institutions by conservative forces has finally blocked the hesitating 'reformation from above' of Iran's political system and the transformation process of the Islamic Republic has entered a new term. Simultaneously, the struggle for influence and control between social and political actors aiming at the preservation of the regime and those demanding its liberalisation, if not democratisation, has been intensified. Media play a crucial role in this process since the control of public discourse on political and cultural norms remains a key issue for the autocratic regime of the Islamic Republic. Media represent also an important tool of communication for opposition groups and civil society activists permitting them not only the mobilisation of resources and public support but also the formation of common positions and values. Thus, with the further limitation of the national mass media, the importance of alternative media has been raised. Drawing on reflections from political transformation theory and media studies, the paper provides a framework for examining the role of the Internet on Iran's democratisation process. After depicting relations and access of political opponents and civil society activists to the national media system, the paper will outline the development of the Internet in Iran and the government's policies of control and censorship. A brief presentation of successful Internet use by the reform activists will be completed by a qualitative study of content and structure of some websites chosen exemplarily. It will be argued that despite optimistic predictions, the impact of the Internet on democratisation processes is for now restricted, at least in Iran, to a certain urban and educated environment. Apart from facilitating the creation of alternative public spheres, the Internet helps also to strengthen the position of civil society activists vis-a-vis the autocratic state through the direct contact it provides to international media and NGOs.
Robert S Miller
ZOR Foundation Inc, USA
Squeezed between the regional empires of history, the Kurds are once again at a crossroads. The collapse of Iraq and its occupation by foreign powers in the last decade has resulted in a set of parameters similar to those existent during First World War. The new millennium has already set the stage for new treaty adjustments to correct existing national borders in the former Yugoslavia and Indonesia. A lengthy record of treaty adjustments exists for similar border adjustments throughout recorded history. Just in Europe alone: the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the Pyrenees in 1659, that of Baden in 1713, Passarowitz in 1718, Stockholm in 1719, and scores of others following the Napoleonic Wars of the nineteenth century. Better known to the world are the many new national boundaries drawn following First World War and Second World War. History supports the existence of the Kurds as a national people back into ancient history. Recognised as an entity in Ottoman times, Western promises regarding statehood made during First World War were abrogated. Encouragement for the Mahabad (Iran) government also came to naught. Iraq's modern history of abuse of its Kurds is an open book, while fifty years of Turkish martial law in eastern Turkey are a sad chapter for a modern secular state. Will Iraq's new experiment with federalism work, and if not are there viable alternatives?
SOAS, University of London, UK
Iranian-born poet and essayist Said (Said Mirhadi, born 1947) is, with over 15 major book publications and translations of his work into a dozen languages, one of very few 'allophone' writers of Iranian descent in Germanic countries who have long made it from the fringe into the mainstream of the European literary scene. Since the beginning of his literary creativity in the mid 1970s, SAID has chosen German as his language of poetic expression. In his earlier work (Liebesgedichte, 1989; Wo ich sterbe ist meine Fremde, 1994; Ich und der Schah, 1987; Dann schreie ich, bis Stille ist, 1990 and Selbstbildnis für eine ferne Mutter, 1992; Der lange Arm der Mullahs. Notizen aus meinem Exil, 1995) SAID's principal intellectual preoccupation was the socio-political development in his native country. In the mid 1990s, however, he moved toward wider topics, which were more directly related to his life in diaspora. While his earlier poems were in the best tradition of nineteenth and twentieth century (Jewish) German and Austrian political and love poetry (owing much to icons like Heine and Erich Fried), in the 1990s he started experimenting with other genres and forms, thus writing the fairly tale Es war einmal eine Blume (1998) and the modern parody on the medieval middle high German genre of the Bestiarium, Dieses Tier, das es nicht gibt (1999), as well as the audio plays Sir Alfred, ex-territorial (1995) and Mr Hoelderlin empafaengt niemanden mehr (2001). Throughout his gradual development from an Iranian exiled writer into a multicultural German poet and essayist, SAID always reverted to certain rhetoric techniques that over time became distinctive features of his writing. In my view the 'dialogical feature' is the most important one among them. This paper analyses the various rhetoric functions of the 'fictitious dialogue' in selected texts by Said from Wo ich sterbe (1994) all the way to his latest published work Ich und der Islam (2005).
The years following the 1979 revolution in Iran have witnessed an unprecedented surge in the quality as well as quantity of fiction writing. More novels and short stories have been written in this period than ever before. A new generation of writers with their own set of concerns and distinct identities has occupied the literary scene, experimenting with new literary genres and narrative techniques. This new literary corpus demands study at a variety of levels: language, narrative technique, ideological bewilderment, and subject matter; this latter includes war, torture, joblessness, personal illusions and private fantasies. The present study focuses on a vexed question which dominates the contemporary literary scene, namely, the differences between these post-revolutionary authors and their earlier counterparts, recognised novelists such as Jamalzadeh, Hedayat, Chubak, and Golshiri. With a close reading of the conditions that might have contributed to the emergence of such a highly charged divide, and the processes that might have influenced its trajectory, this paper undertakes a close analysis of Hosein Sanapur's The Hidden Half, to explore the nature and significance of literary currents that are driving the country's spheres of culture away from its past.
In this paper the transformation of Iranian music under the influence of gramophone records, cassettes, CD and films will be discussed. Within the past 100 years, from the first microgroove to CD Audios, traditional Iranian music, which had always been presented live to the audience, has been presented in the limited frame of different sound carriers. Today's Iranian audience acknowledges and relates to the music with these kind of audio media in 97% of cases. The issues that this trend raises and which I will consider in this presentation are 1) the problem of 'Time' in traditional performance of Iranian music; 2) the knowledge and advancement of the audiences before and after the appearance of this technology; 3) the tendency of becoming more social than being gnostic within this past 100 years; and 4) the appearances of economical relations according to the new way of life and the new music. At the same time, the influence of English recording companies, started form the middle of Mozaffar al-Din Shah's reign to the beginning of Reza Shah's reign (1906- 1926), and the relation of the artist with these companies, with the relevant audios and brochures will be reviewed.
Kwantlen University College and the University of British Columbia, Canada
In this presentation, the transmigration of Iranians to Canada and the construction of Iranian identities in the Canadian newspapers and media are explored in the context of anti-racist and multicultural perspectives. Why have Iranians transmigrated to Canada? How have they been depicted in the media and popular culture? The transmigration of Iranians to Canada and perpetuation of multi-hyphenated Iranian identities are analysed in the context of global, national and local factors. Their movement to Canada and identity constructions are affected and determined by dialectically interrelated factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, nationalism and economic considerations in both the East and the West. Identity construction and transmigration of Iranians to Canada are explored with references to historical data, personal letters, newspaper articles, secondary research, life history of informants and Census and Immigration data. The aim is to highlight Iranian transmigrants' 'situational' and 'relative' social positions within the context of socio-economic relations at both macro- and micro-levels. Iranian transmigration is viewed with references to ideological changes and conflicts (for example, from pro-Western to an anti-imperialist Islamic ideology), and how Iranian transmigrants were affected by socio-economic factors such as Eestern- and Persian-centric modernisation programmes, the revolution and Canadian immigration policy. Iranian transmigration to Canada and the establishment of communities in Canada are explored in the context of 1) how territorial communities change into networks of communities across national borders, and 2) how such communities are fragmented based on factors such as ideology, gender, ethnicity and political beliefs. Here it is argued that although the Iranian community in Canada is a fragmented society, it is nevertheless connected to other pockets of fragmented Iranian communities in other parts of the world. Despite the fact that this population is overwhelmingly Persian, Muslim, highly educated and middle class, gender, income, education, religion, political beliefs, and ethnicity cut across it. Such inequalities (income) and differences (ethnicity or religion) are the end result of the cumulative effects of socio-economic systems and relations in both Canada and Iran.
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, France
Hurufism is an Islamic movement of Gnostic-Messianic trend which originated in Iran in the second half of the fourteenth century. The Hurufi doctrine is strongly influenced by the occult sciences, particularly by the 'science of letters' ('ilm al-huruf), whence the name of the movement. Hurufi texts became first known in the Occident through the works of such scholars as Edward Browne and Clement Huart, whose attention was attracted by an odd idiom (the Astarabadi dialect of the Persian, no more spoken nowadays) of some manuscripts, coming mostly from the Bektashi order of dervishes. Some of these were published in 1909 by C. Huart in his Textes persans relatifs a la secte des Hurufis, which is still the largest existent publication of Hurufi texts. In the middle of the twentieth century, a number of scholars (Abdulbaki Golpinarli, Sadeq Kiya, Helmutt Ritter, etc.) contributed to the study of the Hurufi movement, either by researching the manuscripts and the historical sources or by the linguistic exploration of the Astarabadi dialect. These researches were continued in the works of contemporary scholars (Ya'qub Azhand, Shahzad Bashir, Ali-Reza Dawlatshahi, Ali Mir Fetros, Ali-Reza Dhakawati Qaraqozlu, etc.) Most of the Hurufi writings have not yet been published and are only available as manuscripts. The views presented in this paper are based on the study of the manuscript of the Javidannameh (British Museum, OC. OR. 5957), the major work of the founder of the Hurufi movement, Fadlallah Astarabadi (d. 796/1394), and some early commentaries of this work by his direct disciples. As was noted by E. Gibb: 'The task of discovering what were the special features of Fazlullah's teaching is rendered yet more difficult by the fact that the Hurufî books are utterly unsystematic in their arrangement' (A History of Ottoman Poetry, London, 1900, t. 1, p. 338). This remark is valuable to the highest degree when speaking of the Javidannameh. Indeed, the passages concerning the same subject are scattered throughout the different places of the text. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to bring together the data to show how the different levels and aspects of the created universe are unified in the Hurufi doctrine through the fundamental concept of a divine Word. More particularly, our purpose will be to discuss the notions of knowledge, time, the physical universe, and man, as different manifestations of the original Word. Though this idea is quite common for a number of philosophical and mystical teachings throughout the world, it acquires a specific interpretation in the context of the Hurufi thought.
Brock University, Canada
The trade in enslaved Africans expanded in Iran in the nineteenth century, particularly in the period following the closing of the northern frontier and the banning of the trade in Circassian and Georgians by the Russians. The trade in African slaves to Iran was part of a larger trade in the Indian Ocean. The east and northeast of Africa were the main sources of slaves destined for southern Iran. The process of enslavement, transportation and sale of Africans occurred through an established slave trade network and marketplaces in the African interior. Enslaved Africans were absorbed in different locations and socio-economic sectors. A large number of slaves along the shores of the Persian Gulf served as pearl fishers, labourers and as domestics. In Baluchistan, African slaves were employed as agricultural labourers and domestics. In urban areas enslaved Africans were mainly employed as domestics. A great number of African slaves were engaged in specific tasks in the harams of Shahs and princes. One group consisted of eunuchs, who served the Shah, his wives and their children. Many enslaved Africans were sold to local people in southern Iran. As a result, Afro-Iranian communities were established widely from the southwest through the coastal areas of the Persian Gulf to the southeastern parts of the country. One consequence of the emergence of Afro-Iranians was the development of African spirit possession cults which spread wherever the slaves were settled. This paper will demonstrate the nature and the structure of the slave trade and the relative importance of the diasporic communities of Africans in Iran. It addresses the African origins, trade routes, and slave market organisation. By assessing the well-organised trading activities, this paper shows the significance of the displacement of slaves in the formation of the African diaspora in Iran. I will show maps and short clips on Afro-Iranians.
Dalhousie University, Canada
The 'emergence' (zohur) of Shah Esmail in 1500 at the head of a Turkmen-dominated mystical order -- Tariqeh-ye Safaviyyeh -- and the subsequent establishment of the Safavid monarchy in Tabriz one year later has been interpreted popularly as the final stage in a transition between a parochial mystical movement based in Azarbaijan and a cosmopolitan empire stretching across the Iranian Plateau. While Esmail encouraged the Qizilbash rank-and-file and their veneration of the new Shah as morshed-e kamel ('the perfect guide'), nonetheless historians argue that Esmail actively sought to steer away from his earlier numinous ethos and look to other sources of legitimisation. Educated and literary Sufis (apart from the Qizilbash) were deemed by historians to have no or little role in this new Safavid enterprise on account of their alleged asceticism and disavowal of worldly matters. However, recent studies have suggested that medieval Sufi organisations like the Naqshbandiyyeh and the Ne'matullahiyyeh were not above temporal entanglements and indeed actively built up networks and relationships with imperial agencies. In this vein, this paper seeks to re-examine the khanaqah-dargah (hermitage-court) dynamic by examining a particular chancellery missive which was sent to the Uzbek ruler, Muhammad Shibani Khan, on the eve of Esmail's successful invasion of Khorasan and killing of the Uzbek Khan himself in 1510. This royal letter, written and conveyed by one Sheikhzadeh Lahiji, is a testimony to the incorporation of elite Sufi luminaries into the Safavid administration. While we know that Sufi personalities such as Abd al-Baqi Yazdi, the chief pir of the Ne'matullahiyyeh served as both sadr (chief religious functionary) and vakil (vicegerent), we know relatively little in terms of the Safavid chancellery during the reign of Shah Esmail. Through the lens of this particular letter, this paper will examine the extent to which a wide array of Sufi doctrines, motifs, and terminology were popular among early sixteenth-century Safavid munshis, and the degree to which non-Qizilbash, literary-minded Sufi elite were incorporated into Esmail's emerging bureaucracy.
Eastern Michigan University, USA
Comparative national values surveys have revealed that Iranians appear to be less religious and more nationalistic than the public of such other countries as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The trend toward the rise and significance of nationalism as a key element of Iranian identity and political discourse is remarkable, given more than twenty-seven years of Islamic rule and religious propaganda. This paper analyses this trend in light of cross-national values survey carried out in Islamic countries in 2000-2006 period.
Fatemeh Etemad Mogthhadam
Hofstra University, USA
This paper tests the hypothesis of a significant underestimation of women's labour market participation in the official surveys in Iran. According to the official data, the percentage of female in the total active labour was about 13% in 1996, the last available population census. Furthermore, according to the official data the share of females in total active labour in agriculture was about 10%. An examination of a large body of field research on the subject, however, suggests a much higher participation rate, about 40% of the total. This paper examines these studies and explore the reasons behind the underestimations. Pointing at the growing visibility of urban women in public space, the increasing share of skilled and educated women, rising cost of living, and the need for both male and female incomes to support an urban family, some observers have suggested that the official data underestimate urban female labour participation, as well. Unlike the rural, however, the informal urban, those gainfully participating but not accounted in the official data, market has not been sufficiently explored. Thus representative estimates are not available. Anecdotal studies, however, suggest the existence of a significant female informal economy in both traditional and modern industries. In 2002, the author undertook a micro study of 350 working age women in the affluent northern part of Tehran. In this sample, 36% of the surveyed women were active in the informal market. This result was striking because the majority of the women had high school and university degrees. This is in sharp contrast to the findings of other developing countries in which informal participants are generally poor unskilled and are unable to join the modern formal economy. This paper also explores the reasons for undercounting of urban female labour.
Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran
'Individualism' and the rights accorded to it in the contemporary world have become a basic and legitimate component of modern political theory. The relationship between this concept and values such as freedom, equality, rule of law, democracy, etc. have made any new political paradigm untenable without proper and due attention paid to 'individualism'. Even a concept such as 'human rights' cannot become an established and rooted part of any society as long as the society does not encompass the rights and concept of the human individual. Through data and sociological research, this study seeks to show how the current period in Iran is the most fertile time for the political development of the country exactly because of the social understanding and expansion of 'individualism' and 'individual rights'. Secondly, the study seeks to understand the shortcomings of a wide range of Iran's political thinkers and theorists up to now in relationship to political development and individual rights. The theoretical frameworks offered by researchers, even in the context of revolutionary and idealistic moments, has continuously stressed the 'inexistence', 'unavailability' and 'impossibility' of this political development. The current study seeks to show the sociological developments of the concept within Iranian society in order to help chart the 'existence', 'availability' and 'possibility' of this development.
World of Islam Encyclopaedia and University of Zanjan, Iran
The term 'homeland' is understood to be one of the new social and cultural terms in use after and because of the Renaissance. This paper argues that this is not the case and that this term was used by other nations and cultures at other times. For example, one of the most attractive and significant views of 'homeland' in oriental history, is the Iranian mystics' point of view. On the one hand, these mystics were seeking cosmopolitanism and abolition of natural and political frontiers so that they could find boundless Gospel, and on the other hand, they internally and naturally loved their homeland and this is why they behaved differently and sometimes paradoxically. For example, a group of them had to ignore their internal needs for homeland and country, and some others unconsciously got in a tangle with their holy and mystical ideals. And some of them lived in a painful paradox since they obviously scolded the homeland outwardly but loved it inwardly. Overall, Iranian mystics faced the concept of homeland in four ways: 1) total contravention of homeland; 2) proving and moderating homeland; 3) contradiction in terms and entanglement; 4) trying to coordinate propensities and mystical beliefs. The most significant theoreticians on the homeland concept were amongst those Iranian mystics who were living in ninth-twelfth centuries. These centuries were, the most brilliant era in Iranian mysticism and most of the mystics lived in the eastern part of Iran (Khorasan, Transoxania, Turkistan) and the western part of Iran (Mesopotamia, Jebal, Fars). Both groups expressed their ideas in verse and prose. In this view, the world is divided into western homesickness and eastern homeland (Jabolqa and Jabolsa), which is, however, not a geographical division of the world. The 'homeland' and the evolution of its meaning and the way they are viewed today, are one of the most important discussions in oriental studies and can solve many of its conceptual, linguistic and social problems and approaches. It has been attempted in this article to present a clear and precise image of this term and define the Iranian mystics' favourite image, the mystics who had an important role in the unification of cultural life of Eastern nations, especially Iranian and Muslim nations.
Institute of Islamic Studies Tehran-McGill Universities, Iran
Ethical sources of Persian literature, in both prose and poetry, can be classified as follows: the Qur'an and its commentaries; traditions of the Prophet and the Shiite Imams particularly, Nahj al- balagha of Ali ibn Abi Talib; the Greek tradition, especially Plato, Aristotle, and Galen; the mystical tradition in both Arabic and Persian Sufi literature; Iranian sources written under the title of andarznameh; sayings of sages in different traditions; and moral instructions in Persian poetry. The structure of ethical philosophy is based on virtues and vices the source of which are reason and passion. In the Shiite tradition virtues come under the army of reason, whereas vices are the army of ignorance. In both philosophical and religious ethics I'tidal is recommended and it has been said that the term is derived from adl, meaning justice, that is justice between two extremes, concluding that if the faculties of the soul are kept in moderation, virtues are actualised whereas if faculties move towards two extreme sides vices are realised. The most important materials for the study of philosophical ethics are: Ibn Muskawaih's Tahdib al-akhlaq in Arabic; Nasir al-Din Tusi's Akhlaq- e nasiri in Persian; while Ghazali's Ihya' al-ulum, Tabari's Makarim al-akhlaq and Naraqi's Jami' al-sa'adat are the best sources for religious ethics. It should be noted that the term al- tibb al-ruhani is used for ethics, the best example of which are the works by Razi and Ibn Jawzi. It can be concluded that ethics in Iran is presented in different ways through different philosophical, religious, and literary sources.
SOAS, University of London, UK
The revolution in the performance of art music in Iran occurred in the early 1970s with the help of different radio and television programmes such as Golha. But the performances included touches of the techniques imported to Iran and introduced innovations to the old method Takht ensembles. Throughout the 1980s, the system changed rapidly with the establishment of the Chavosh Centre of Art Music. M. R. Lotfi and his fellow Shayda Ensemble generated a whole new repertoire of music in regard to 'performance'. The music follows the pattern of radif all the way through, despite the fact that it is quite motivating. The demand for the music is different from that of the 1970s and the leap created in this short amount of time built a whole new set of ideas about Persian music for these musicians to look at. Due to the end to the Iran-Iraq War, as we got to the 1990s, the environment was not so tight or perhaps as tight as the early 1980s: musicians started a new version of performance and music. This was the beginning of fusion music and created a whole set of collaborations that had not been done before. This development began a conflict between the musicians of different generations around the contention that the music of Iran was getting away from its roots (defined as the radif and the ability to improvise freely). The older generation of musicians believed that rehearsed improvisations carry little meaning, whereas others would deny this and accept the fact that in order to be collaborative, to be able to 'jam' with other musicians and to get in touch other cultures, there must be certain way points that everyone knew about and would refer to in different stages throughout a performance.
The Baha'i community in Iran, although periodically persecuted, was in a strong position at the end of the nineteenth century. At this time, it was at the forefront of such issues as education, advancing the social role of women and bringing about democratic change in society. It was gaining converts rapidly and was setting up educational and democratic institutions throughout the country, even at village level. This strength brought about a reaction from two main groups. The clerical classes increased their attacks leading to anti-Baha'i pogroms in some cities. This paper will focus, however, upon the manner in which the other group, the Azalis and individuals allied to them, created a perception among liberals, democrats and intellectuals that the Baha'i community was inimical and antithetical to progress and reform, that it was in league with foreign powers and that it should therefore be opposed. Thus the Baha'i community, which could have been an ally and a powerful resource for those advocating progress and development in Iran, became instead the 'internal enemy', a group to be feared and contained. The main weapons in the Azali campaign against the Baha'is included creating conspiracy theories and forgeries. These were mainly intended to show the Baha'is as unpatriotic agents of foreign powers or as reactionary elements opposed to change. In the mid-twentieth century, the elements created by the Azali campaign were taken over and added to by a small number of Baha'i apostates acting in league with Islamic groups. This paper will argue that this process resulted not only in a denial of human rights to the Baha'is but also, by creating scapegoats, second-class citizens and a culture of conspiracy theories, it facilitated the establishment of the authoritarian regimes and contributed to the failure to create in Iran a vigorous civil society.
Centre National de la Recherches Scientifiques, France
After the arrival of numerous Avestan manuscripts in Europe in the eighteenth century, philologists soon realised that some of the manuscripts contained texts in other ancient Iranian languages and even translations of some of these texts into Middle Persian or Pahlavi. This paper will analyse the relationship between the original Avestan and the Pahlavi translations of some of these texts in order to understand some of the differing and divergent religious, moral and social values of their respective times.
Hokkaido University, Japan.
The purpose of this study is to trace and examine the Shiite pilgrimage from Iran to Ottoman Iraq in the nineteenth century. In Iraq, there are four Shiite shrine cities, Najaf, Karbala, Kazimayn and Samarra. These cities are generally called 'Atabat, which means 'thresholds' and because they house the tombs of six of the Imams, these cities are revered as holy places. Among those cities, Najaf and Karbala are considered the most important places by Shiites: the former is the burial site of Imam Ali and the latter is where the third Imam Husayn ibn Ali was martyred and buried. The 'Atabat have been the centre of the Shiite pilgrims, who visit for ziyarat (pilgrimage to a tomb or shrine), pray, and ask for the Imam's protection. In the nineteenth century, this flow of pilgrims reached its zenith, especially those from Iran. The number of Iranian pilgrims to the 'Atabat was around one hundred thousand per year. The paper examines the Iranian pilgrims to the 'Atabat with special attention paid to the way of travel, to ritual and everyday activities in holy cities, and to problems they faced during their journey because of the discrepancies between the systems of medico-legal border control of the Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran. The sources include Persian travel-literature (safarnameh) and unpublished materials preserved in the national archives of Iran and Turkey.
University of Tokyo, Japan
Genealogical literature on seyyeds has by and large been neglected as a source for social history of Iran. This presentation will demonstrate the value of this literature by exploring the social context in which Lubab al-ansab wa l' alqab, a work belonging to the genre, was compiled. Lubab al-ansab was compiled by Ibn Funduq in late 12th century Bayhaq to be dedicated to a powerful seyyed who had effective control of the district at that time. In-depth investigation into the work itself and into other relevant sources makes clear that the work was compiled with a definite objective to represent the dedicatee as an authentic naqib (chief of seyyeds) in order to strengthen his influence over other seyyeds in the district. It is decades ago that J. Aubin studied the process through which the dedicatee's lineage came to control the local politics of the district. Aubin, who had no access to Lubab, simply linked the rise with the dynamism of Shiite population. The above-mentioned feature of Lubab, however, calls for a reconsideration of the background. The importance of the purported naqibship and the resources accompanying this position, foremost of which was the availability of client seyyeds, should be taken into consideration. Late Saljuq Iran saw the simultaneous rise of at least four seyyed lineages in different local societies. The Ala al-Dowlehs in Hamadan, the Qumis in Ray, the Zabbaras in Bayhaq, and the Buthanis in Nishapur. All these lineages except the Ala al-Dowlehs were famous as lineages of the naqibs. The Ala al-Dowlehs link with the naqibship can also be reasonably supposed. Drawing attention to the importance in the period of naqibship and seyyeds as a social group is another objective of this presentation.
A H Morton
For the Ilkhanid historians Qashani and Rashid al-Din, the principal source of information about the Saljuqs was the Saljuqnameh of Zahir al-Din Nishapuri. Their sections on the Saljuqs adopt the structure of Zahir al-Din's work and retain much of its content and wording. However, now that the original Saljuqnameh is available, it becomes relatively simple to separate and analyse the alterations and additions they made to it. The Ilkhanid accounts, though by no means identical, are closely related and can to a great extent be treated together. Cahen and Ates have noted passages in the Jami' al-tawarikh and Qashani's version (misleadingly published as the original Saljuqnameh by Esmail Afshar) which could not have come from Zahir al-Din, but the scale of the additions made to the Saljuqnameh in these works has not been evident. Among other things, it is clear that written sources other than the Saljuqnameh were utilised. Passages that are paralleled in Bundari's Zubdat an-Nusra are quite frequent. Of particular interest are two series implying the existence of narrative sources that are now lost: 1) a body of material showing an interest in Anatolia and in particular the early history of the Saljuqs presumably originating in Anatolia in the thirteenth century or earlier. 2) A series of additions and alterations giving prominence to the career of the powerful favourite of Sultan Mas'ud, Khass Big ibn Palangiri (d. 548/1153), which is unlikely to have come into existence much later than the twelfth century.
Norma Claire Moruzzi
University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Even the most casual visitor to Tehran's streets has been able to remark the progress in women's adaptation of state-mandated hejab: more and more visible hair and make-up, shorter and tighter jackets and pants. The ubiquitous Tehran badhejab is usually taken to be a youthful resistance to the regime's authority, or even an 'eroticisation' of the public sphere. Young women who individually insist on modest veiling are usually assumed to be the unfashionable remnants of a repressed, premodern element of regime supporters. But is the variation young women's wearing of hejab more of a distinction of style than substance? To what extent is self-representation through hejab a conscious manifestation of different forms of social status, rather than a naturalised indication of political or religious identification? Based on in-depth interviews in Tehran with young women aged 19-29, this paper argues that young women choose their style of hejab as one way of staking their claims to different forms of social capital. Badhejab girls use minor innovations in dress cut or colour to identify themselves as fashion leaders, identifying their best options for an upward social trajectory with a western model of consumer culture and sexualised modernity. But chadori (modestly veiled) girls are not necessarily always wearing their chadors. These young women describe adapting their veiling to suit particular social circumstances (headscarf and manteau to do impersonal local grocery shopping, chador for personal and professional social occasions), and very consciously describe their modest hejab as the public social marker of their affiliation with elite religious families. While the chadors of provincial girls are seen as simply religious or traditional forms of dress, Tehran chadori girls wear a chador to claim a place in the social trajectories of an established elite, without implying a specific political or religious commitment.
Princeton University, USA
'Then what was the revolution for, anyway? '
The Servant, Goli Taraghi
Many critics have observed that the writings of Iranian authors in exile are preoccupied with the 1979 revolution and its aftermath; others have noted that the concerns of exiled writers drift generally towards memory, are suffused with nostalgia, and suggest the confusions of post-national or liminal states of being, often expressed through a preference for genres such as memoir or semi-autobiographical fiction. One such liminal state of being is the condition of post-revolutionary class disorder and the uncertainty of position that ensues. In studying the three stories by Goli Taraghi Amineh's Long Journey, The Servant and Father, this paper will explore the ways in which domestics are a modality through which the narrator plumbs the depths of the gap that has emerged where a surer (class) identity once existed. In the scope of sociological readings of Taraghi's work, little attention is paid to how the destabilisation of social order I have alluded to is represented through the structure of the narrative, and in particular, through the disruption of the conventions of short narrative. The paper will argue that in the narrative breakdown, a breakdown of social order is also enacted. Nowhere is this so evident as when relations of gender and social power are negotiated. Most interesting is the way in which the narrative may be followed closely to reveal points at which social codes evoked within the text falter or achieve unexpected responses, threatening the narrative coherence and the social order to which it corresponds. Because the coherence of the narrative depends on a stable narrative voice, it is important to note the way in which this sense of self is repeatedly undermined by exchange with the servants in the stories.
Mohammad Karim Mottaghi
Cultural Heritage Centre, Iran
1029 years have passed since the construction of the tallest brick structure in the world in the Iranian city of Qabus. There have been numerous studies on this tower, but these studies have all failed to give a proper description of the glory and grandeur of this architectural masterpiece. Knowledge of the current conditions of the tower would shock any specialist or lay person. The author of this paper hopes to draw the interest of the appropriate agencies and ministries, especially the Ministries of Culture and Tourism, and specialists in the filed of preservation and architecture to protect this important structure and to include it in the list of the world's protected architectural structures. The paper laye out the secret to the longevity of the tower, the process and technology of the brick-making, the quality of the grout, and the history and biography of the technicians and engineers of the tower. The study will also discuss the architectural context of the Qabus Tower, and will discuss its historical and geographical background.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA
The 25 centuries-span of time that separates the rise, progress, and fall of the Achaemenid Empire from the present has not taken away the glorious memory of the Achaemenid era which has physically survived through its monumental relics. It does not mean, however, that the monuments of this period have not suffered destruction and vandalism in the course of time. The systematic description of historical monuments began in Iran much later than in Greece or other parts of the civilised world, with the coming of European travellers from the seventeenth century onwards. A detailed observation of ancient monuments of Persia, especially of the imposing ruins of the Achaemenid period in Fars, led to a systematic record of the extant monuments of this period. The travellers' accounts have also provided the first reliable study of the aspects of the Achaemenid art, the review of which reveals that a large number of monuments have disappeared in the course of centuries. Since the publication of Alfons Gabriel's monumental contribution, a careful examination of these accounts has become of interesting importance in the development of the archaeology of the Achaemenid period. This paper deals mainly with monuments in the heartland of the empire, with a focus at Persepolis and Pasargadae, where the basis for the study of the Achaemenid art stemmed from. This examination also attempts to inform on a number of vanished monuments and architectural elements, which can only be retrieved through a critical appraisal of archaeological evidence recorded in travellers' accounts of the past.
In a society where even serious music may be demonised by the religious establishment, traditional entertaining music suffers. Its emphasis on dance rhythms with special musical effects and its association with unruly lifestyles, comic sketches with sexual implications, and socio-political satire have always made it the anathema of the establishment. Thus, though people enjoyed their work, popular entertainers were often ostracised and sometimes denied burial in common cemeteries. During the Pahlaviera, the rapid process of Westernisation resulted in snobbish attitudes toward the genre, and multi-faceted censorship resulted in distortions. Even on National Television, the tendency was to encourage a hybrid type of popular music, which combined religious chants (nowheh) and traditional music with Western jazz, pop and rock music. By the early 1970s, conscious attempts had begun to redefine national forms, which was especially fruitful for Iranian classical music. This period ended in 1979, when the clerical government prohibited all forms of music except revolutionary and religious chants. By the mid-1990s, things had changed again and various forms of music were now practised, but traditional popular music remained absent. Some experts tried to preserve the genre by publishing books containing popular songs, but Mahoor's audio CD of Ruhowzi music, for example, has not yet received a publication permit. Iranian traditional popular music is, thus, despite being loved by people, the least studied and most forbidden genre of music in Iran. This paper aims to make an analytical study of the origins of the genre, discuss the socio-political issues related to it, describe its essential features and forms, and recommend ways to preserve and revitalise it in a world of rapid globalisation where preserving regional cultural heritage is of essential importance.
This paper explores the notion of morphology, as the form and structure, of the traditional Iranian city. It will argue that developing an understanding of morphology of traditional cities in Iran is possible once the physical, empirical fabric of the city is seen as the context within which intangible, transient body of practices unfold as its 'other' morphology. This argument is elaborated by examining the festival of Ashura in the context of the city via Sohravardi's illminationist school of philosophy. Shiites believe that, Husayn, the younger grandson of Prophet Muhammad, whose right to the caliphate was usurped by Yazid, was killed on the 10th of Moharram, the first month of the lunar calendar. Every year, this event is commemorated as Ashura (the tenth day) amongst Shiites in a festival that brings a temporary suspension to the everyday life of their cities. Traditionally, this period provided an opportunity for the elite of the city to show their status by patronage. Regular processions of Husayn's mourners go through designated paths thus revealing an otherwise hidden hierarchy of places in the fabric of the city. They pass through a series of religious spaces and the houses of the city's elite, some of whom hold passion plays in their court yards. The web of spaces demarcated by the Ashura processions reveal the other, intangible morphology of the city. A transient image/imagination of the city is therefore constructed through the interaction of three forces: religious festival, the spaces and paths that relate to this festival, and the imaginative recovery as means of keeping tradition alive. This paper first explicates a notion of tradition as a context for such acts of recovery, then elaborate within the context of the above three forces the importance of spaces of festival which will make eloquent the importance of the intangible morphology in a traditional city. This leads to the conclusion, that at least in Iran, the concept of the so-called 'Islamic' city, which attempts to reduce the city to a manifestation of traditional religious doctrines, is static and misleading.
Well into the early twentieth century, part of the training of an educated European or American included drawing. Before the camera became mandatory travel equipment, water colours provided the chief means of bringing home the colours and sights of the Middle East, even by amateurs. Many early drawings became incorporated into books published by travellers, diplomats and others. Among the most prolific writers were American missionaries who spent long years in the Ottoman Empire and Iran. Many such books include black and white drawings that provide aids to understanding mode of travel, work and dress among Middle Eastern people. Few of these printed drawings, however, contain the enlivening effects of colour. Hidden away in various archives for over 100 years is a set of twelve watercolours executed in great detail by the Rev. Justin Perkins (1805-1869), the first American missionary in Iran. Perkins signed, dated and commented on these drawings done from 1834 to 1868, the dates during which, with the exception of fundraising tours to the United States, he lived and worked in Urmia, West Azarbaijan. These drawings are now at Union Theological Seminary, a part of the Columbia University library system. They appear not to have been previously consulted. Seen variously from the perspective of the late twentieth century as Western colonialist incursions into the Middle East, or as efforts that encouraged irredentism among indigenous Christian minorities, little appears understood of the multi-ethnic approach of the early American missionaries such as Perkins and the potential of their work for elucidating the ethnic mix in northwest Iran during the turbulent nineteenth century. Using these visual materials as a starting point, this presentation will focus on the ethnic mix of the province that today has its capital in Urmia.
Shahnaz R Nadjmabadi
Johann Wolfang Goethe Universitaet, Frankfurt, Germany
The migratory movement from the Iranian coastal areas to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf comes in the context of a long historical development and began long before the oil boom of the 1960s started in this region. The geographical proximity and historical connection of the Iranian/Arabic zone have led to the position of the Iranian migrants who live in the Arab countries today, which is one of privilege in contrast to those migrants coming from south and south-east Asia. Discussions over the last few years on border, transborder, translocal and transnational migration have emphasised the connections and relationships sustained by the migrants simultaneously between their home villages and the host country. In my paper I am discussing this topic both from the point of view of the present expansion of the Iranian community in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, and from the point of view of the influence of transmigration on the development process of the Iranian coastal area. I aim to demonstrate which resources the Iranian migrants are adopting to maintain the most useful social and economic connections on both sides of the Persian Gulf. The historical perspective will reveal the strong solidarity and interdependency linking together the Iranian coastal population and their Arab neighbours.
This study is an analysis of books dealing with various topics of the humanities which were written and published following the election of President Khatami. The purpose of this analytical study is to understand the positions, changes, tendencies, currents and evolution of the intellectual formations in contemporary Iran with the hope of understanding and predicting the directions that the intellectual life in Iran will follow in the current period. The first part of the paper will include a statistical analysis of various writings dealing with human and social sciences. The second will make a similar analysis of religious books of the era and will study the role of the state in publishing and promoting these books and the increase of interest in books dealing with other religions as well as non-orthodox aspects of Islam itself (such as philosophy, history, law, etc.). The paper will then study literary publications and will look at the preponderance and development of literary styles, particularly in the novel. The study will look at women's writing specifically and the proliferation of post-modern literary trends in the Persian novel. Finally, the study will look at scholarly writings in the fields of the humanities such as sociology, political science and philosophy. Special attention will be paid to the topics of globalisation, modernism and post-modernism, feminism, and democracy in this literature. The study will conclude by qualifying the various trends within the intellectual classes and will aim to understand their current and possible future developments and alliances.
Sistan and Baluchistan University, Iran
'Removal from the Body' or 'Intentional Death' is one of the most important questions for theologians and mystics alike. The first place of journey toward God is the human power to separate from the body and to repudiate it. This characteristic is so important that from the point of view of the sages, if someone has not obtained this characteristic he will not be called a sage.
The purpose of the present article is to answer the following questions based on intentional death: 1) What are the different definitions of intentional death given by Islamic philosophers?
2) How would one reach the ways of intentional death? 3) Is intentional death one of the routes to Knowledge? This paper is concerned with the definition of intentional death and the various methods of reaching it. Various Islamic scholars such as Ibn Arabi, Sadr al-Mote'ahelin Shirazi, Sheikh Shahab al-Din Sohravardi and Ghazi Said Qomi are among those whose views are discussed here due to the similarity of their methods and contents. Although each of these learned men were different in their principles, they regarded the aim of intentional death as being primary in this, the secondary world.
Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France
Since the sixteenth century, when the contact between Persia and the West increased, Western travellers to Persia have been very interested in Persian antiquities. This fascination, strengthened by the European Romantic movement in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, has greatly increased the prosperity of the Persian art market. The exhibition of the Persian antiquities in the great European museums such as the Louvre and the British Museum has long awakened the desire of collectors to enrich their 'cabinets de curiosites' with such precious objects. Thus, during the nineteenth century and at the beginning of twentieth century, Western merchants and collectors went to Persia with increasing frequency in the hope of acquiring antique objects for low prices. Contrary to merchants who for economic reasons never talked about the details of their businesses, some collectors discussed in their travel accounts their acquisitions of Persian 'objets d'art'. Henry-Rene d'Allemagne (1863-1950) was one of these collectors who, at the beginning of the twentieth century, travelled in Persia from Khorasan to the region of the Bakhtiyaris. He published an account of his travel in four volumes. This paper will analyse this work that has remained a classic for nearly a century. Furthermore, thanks to unpublished sources (personal notes of Dr Jean Vinchon (1884-1964), a friend of Henry-Rene d'Allemagne who accompanied him during this trip, the paper will show how much of Allemagne's information is misleading and even untrue. Based on this perspective, by comparing the travel accounts of Henry-Rene d'Allemagne, the notes of Dr Jean Vinchon, and several Iranian archival documents, the paper will proceed to elucidate, for the first time, the affair of the robbery of an Achaemenid weight from Iran.
Academy of Sciences of Georgia, Georgia
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the thorough study of Persia by the French was conditioned by Napoleon's desire to launch an expedition to India. In the present article I attempt to reconstruct the general situation and military potential of Persia as viewed by Napoleon's envoys. My analysis is based on the reports of the French emissaries, which are preserved in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires. Information about the general situation in Persia and also about its military potential during the first decade of the rule of Fath Ali Shah is preserved in the reports of Alexandre Romieux (1805) and Amedee Jaubert (1807). The first comprehensive description of territorial-administrative units and military conditions of Persia belongs to the General Gardane's mission members (1807-1809). They are as follows: the second secretary of the mission Joseph Rousseau; captains – Bontems Le Fort, Truilhier, Bianchi d'Adda and Lamy; and lieutenants – Trezel and Fabvier. This rich archival material has never been used by scholars. Valuable information about Persia was published by the French diplomats: Ange de Gardane (1809) – the brother of the General Gardane and the first secretary of the mission, Captain Auguste de Bontems Le Fort (s.d.), Joseph Rousseau (1818), Adrien Dupre (1819) – the attache of the mission, Joseph-Michel Tancoigne (1819) – the interpreter of the mission, Andrea-Auguste de Nerciat (1825) – the second interpreter of the mission. The evidence of the French emissaries is compared with General Gardane's Some Ideas, which is dedicated to the expected Indian expedition. Analysis of the data makes it clear that neither France nor Persia were ready for the Indian expedition. The idea failed; however, the comprehensive materials on Persia and the adjoining regions, collected by the military and civil persons sent to Persia by Napoleon carry great scholarly value even today.
Based on a character from the novel Women Without Men, written by the celebrated Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur, this film chronicles the emotional and psychological breakdown of a young woman, Zarin, who has been working as a prostitute in a brothel ever since childhood in Iran (1953). One day, as she attends to one of her clients, she sees him faceless. From that moment on, every client is faceless. Overcome with senses of horror and shame, she believes it is the cast of God's punishment, and she is going mad. She therefore flees the brothel to seek redemption. She goes to a public bath (hammam), to wash and scrub her body until she bleeds, but as she emerges out of the hamman, she discovers all the men in the street remain 'faceless'. She then frantically finds her way to a mosque and begins to fervently pray in the hope that God will forgive her for her indiscretions.
Mohammad Taghi Nezam-Mafi
Becker College, USA
After a flurry of activity in the seventeenth century when England and Persia exchanged ambassadors, diplomatic relations between the two countries ceased, such contacts that persisted being carried out by factors of the East India Company or travellers such as John Chardin. My paper addresses the causes and the consequences of the renewal of Anglo-Persian diplomatic relations in the first decade of the nineteenth century. In examining the political atmosphere which engendered the missions of John Malcolm and Harford Jones to Persia, I argue that the exigencies they endured in the fulfilment of their offices, in combination with the make up of their characters, compelled the envoys to closely identify with, if not deliberately confuse, the treatment of their persons with the dignity of the governments they served. This conclusion, and the rigidity with which the two men sought to enforce and uphold it, led the envoys to strange conceits, to affectations of grandeur, displays of largess, quibbles over minutiae and protocol; for both envoys decided that to assert British authority in Persia meant, in a sense, to act 'Persian', to adopt an 'idiom of ritual'. Thus by choosing to adopt signs of difference as spectacle, Malcolm and Jones came to regard Persia as theatrical space populated by actors. But Malcolm and Jones performed before two audiences, and even as Malcolm and Jones endeavoured to appear 'authentic' before the Persians, both envoys had to convince their English audience that they were merely 'acting'.
University of Arizona, USA
One of the most striking features of the Masnavi of Jalal al-Din Rumi in comparison to narrative poems of previous authors is the Masnavi's distinctive style of narration. Whereas other mystical poets, Sana'i and 'Attar, comment on stories after narrating them, so that the two modes remain distinct from each other, Rumi includes long discursive digressions throughout the course of his narrations, so that the discursive content of any story far outweighs the narrative content. I argue that this narrative technique employed by Rumi in the Masnavi works to subvert narrative temporality, that is, the linear temporality that we experience in everyday life, in a specific manner. Rumi's discursive commentary explains the meaning (ma'na) of each scene or image (surat) within a narrative not in relation to its position and function in the narrative in which it occurs, but as if the image were standing independently, outside of any narrative time, even when the resulting meaning conflicts with the function of the scene within the narrative. The effect is that the meaning of individual scenes is disembedded from the narratives in which these scenes occur, so that narrative time becomes ironic: it never determines the ultimate meaning of any of its elements. This is in keeping with the mystical idea that the linear temporality of our everyday lives is illusory, and the true meaning of phenomena resides in the atemporal realm of divine truth. I show how the narrative technique of the Masnavi achieves this mystical effect by comparing Rumi's narration of a particular story (the merchant and his parrot) with that of Attar, who is Rumi's source for the story.
City University, London, UK
The post-1997 'cultural thaw' in Iran and the ensuing relaxation of restrictions on local popular music production has led to the emergence of a grass-roots popular music movement, generally referred to as musiqi-ye alternativ or musiqi-ye zir-zamini. Largely rock-oriented in style, much of this music is able to circumvent official government channels by being circulated through the Internet. Contemporary Iranian rock music is particularly interesting for a number of reasons. As well as providing a forum in which young people can express their views in the context of wider debates on democratisation and an emergent civil society in Iran, this music also enables musicians to forefront alternative visions of Iranian identity in an increasingly globalised world. In particular, through their musical and verbal discourses, many rock musicians seek to disengage themselves from the nationalist agenda which has long dominated aesthetic discussions of Iranian music, instead invoking universalising and cosmopolitan discourses in interviews, on web-sites and elsewhere in order to position their music firmly within a global music market. One indicator of this trend has been the increasing number of rock bands choosing to sing in English rather than in Persian, something which is often justified in terms of 'becoming universal' and attracting non-Iranian audiences. Indeed, one band (127) sings only in English. Whilst the use of English has hitherto been unremarked upon in the context of cover versions of Euro-American songs, the deliberate choice of English for original songs by Iranian bands has sparked an intense debate which touches on deep-rooted anxieties about questions of national identity. Drawing on several periods of recent fieldwork in Iran, including interviews with musicians and audiences, this paper will explore some of the issues raised by the debate over language use and consider its implications in relation to competing visions of Iranian identity.
Isfahan University, Iran
The Qajar central government made a few attempts to conduct a general census spurred on by Naser al-Din Shah's vague desire to modernise the country from 1870 onwards. These attempts came in the form of reports directly received by the court and known as Gozareshat-e boyutat-e saltanati (Reports for the Royal Court). A collection of these documents focus on the city of Mashhad, the single accurate census taken there during the Qajar period having been prepared in 1889: Ketabcheh-ye nofus-e arz-e aqdas. Its author was Zayn al-Abedin, a Qajar prince educated in the Dar al-Fonun of Tehran. In a short introduction he stated that, 'This book gave an account of the number of inhabitants of Mashhad-e Razavi in detail, including men and women, young and old, poor and rich, educated and uneducated, famous and unknown, by recording the total number of occupations and industries, and the number of their houses'. Zayn al-Abedin provided this rare source of information about the inhabitants of Mashhad, particularly the middle and lower classes, in the course of his official duties as tax-assessor in the city. The report is based on the number of families resident in each city quarter and classified in three ways: social group, type of employment (government, craft, or other), and wealth. Interestingly, Zayn al-Abedin did not include in his classification the aristocrats (ashraf) and notables (a'yan), but this may be explained by the fact that members of this group did not pay taxes. In this article, I relate the data of this comprehensive text to other sources, endeavouring to explore the following themes: 1) population and social stratifications at the local level; 2) variety of occupations and their relation to social prestige; 3) income and its connection to social classification.
Mohammad Reza Nourbakhsh
The mechanical clock, the printing pressand firearms are considered the three most significant European technical innovations of the Middle Ages. The circumstances surrounding these inventions, as well as the technological, socio-economic and political consequences of their introduction, are indeed critical in shaping the modern world. There is enough historical evidence to give us a relatively clear idea of the introduction of these inventions to Iran and the extent to which they were accepted and adopted in the years after their arrival. This paper, first briefly reviews how these inventions were introduced to Iran and to Iranians. Firearms were more readily adopted and were internally produced in a relatively short while after their introduction, obviously due to their usefulness, or rather necessity in hostilities both internal and external. However, the mechanical clock and the printing press were not as successful and did not take hold for a few centuries. Secondly, this paper examines some of the possible explanations for the contrast between the rapid spread of the clock and printing in most Western European countries and the lack of their widespread adoption in Iran. This phenomenon cannot be attributed solely to scientific and technological backwardness of Iran during that period, for these factors did not hinder the adoption of the third invention, namely firearms. This underscores the significance of certain other factors which will in turn be examined.
Mostafa Farzaneh quotes early twentieth-century Persian writer Sadeq Hedayat as advising him to study a certain masterpiece for finding clues to the love aspects of his The Blind Owl. He, writes Farzaneh, wrote the name of the book neatly on a piece of paper and handed it to him. It read: 'Lady Macbeth au Village, de Nicholas Leskov'. The paper is an attempt to find the bearing this claim may have on the study of Hedayat's novella and another shorter work of him entitled Three Drops of Blood. It comes to find that there are explicit points of relations among them. The paper starts by pointing to the traces of the Russian story woven into the texture of Hedayat's short story. Nazi, the female cat of the short story whose reappearing mewing disturbs the narrator's sleep, has its counterpart in the Russian work. Even the short story's title, Three Drops of Blood, is said to be an allusion to the three murders in Leskov's novel. Based on the assumption of the paper that The Blind Owl is the culminating point of Hedayat's achievements and, hence, relying on his previous creations, the paper goes on to contend that the said influences found their way through the short story to the novella and coloured it. They, among others, constitute two of the main themes in The Blind Owl: viewing the existence as a penal colony and portraying woman as the 'bitch': the responsible partner through whom the will to live ensures its continuity.
Leo Jungeun Oh
The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of Buddhist art, particularly Chinese and Central Asian, in Ilkhanid royal manuscripts, contextualising this influence in pre-Mongol times. In particular, the study systematically analyses how Buddhist iconography and motifs were transformed in Ilkhanid paintings. It may not be easy to associate Islam with Buddhism, as these are very different belief systems and cultures. However, it is not a question of the existence of such influence, but a matter of the absence of profound research on it. In the context of the Islamic world, the Ilkhanid dynasty was an Islamic state. However, the dynasty had first been governed by Buddhist rulers before Ghazan Khan converted to Islam in 1295. Therefore it is undeniable that Buddhist iconography greatly influenced the formation of some aspects of the iconography of Ilkhanid art. The study shows how this conversion signalled the adaptation of Buddhist images which were primarily devotional into new parameters for representation in Islamic painting which was primarily for the purposes of illustration and decoration.
University of Oxford, UK ; EPHE-Sorbonne, France
'It is said that according to the Prophet, God rubbed Adam's back and it is from there that his "progenitor" came out in the form of atoms… (G. GOBILLOT, LaConception Originelle (ses interprétations et fonctions chez les penseurs musulmans) . In Persian, the two words: posht (back) and kamar (waist), contain the idea of 'where the sperm comes from'; posht implies 'generation' and 'descendants', and kamar 'strength'. An example which illustrates perfectly the distinction between the two terms can be found in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, where he uses posht to mean 'generation' and kamar to mean 'strength':
be-puzesh bar-e to sar afkandeh-am
(I prostrate myself)
ze tars-e to jan-ra bar-afkandeh-am
(Before Thee, pouring out my soul in awe)
gar in kudak az posht-e pak-e man-ast
(If this youth springeth from my loins indeed)
na az tokhm-e bad gohar Ahriman-ast...
(Not from the seed of evil Ahriman)...
How Sam had a Dream Touching the Case of his Son
A. G. Warner, t. 1: 244-45: 138
My study traces the Greek origins of this idea by looking through Persian medical, religious and poetical literature.
Islamic Azad University, Iran
A glance at the history of political thought in Iran shows that the structures of power were based on a totalitarian system resting on the theory of farr-e izadi (divine grace) bestowed upon an individual. This idea can be traced from the Ilamite period to the invasion of the Aryans and the formation of the Median and Achaemenid dynasties. The concept of 'divine grace' seems to have continued until contact with the ancient Greeks. Farr-e izadi seems to have died out as an operative concept for the next two thousand-three hundred years until it was revived by the Qajar court following its heavy defeat at the hands of the Russians. The defeat made the Iranians realise that they had fallen on the margins of civilisation and that it was time to draw away from their traditional thought and adapt with the modern world.
SOAS, University of London, UK
Until recently, there were only deferential references to the clergy in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Other than leading ritual acts such as prayers, marriages, deaths and sermons, the man of God was removed from the quotidian concerns of ordinary people, and remained largely peripheral to the main characters of the films. Considering the sensitivity of the topic, and the strict codes set down by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which bans all films and videos that 'blaspheme against the values and personalities held sacred by Islam and other religions mentioned in the Constitution', this is not surprising. However, the new millennium saw the arrival of films that depicted the clergy as their protagonists. This paper studies these various depictions with particular reference to films such as Mirkarimi's Under Moonlight (2001), Tabrizi's Lizard (2004) and Qanbari's U (2004). Each of these films articulates a discourse that differs from previous representations of the clergy in ways that not only propose a different engagement of them with the public, but also critically examine the lofty positions they enjoy in society and which, in turn, serves only to further emphasise their top-down relationship with the laity.
Johns Hopkins University, USA
Iran's strategy of wooing the Arab states of the Middle East and emphasising an Islamic framework for state-to-state interaction is often believed to be rooted in the Islamic Republic's ideological worldview. However, this belief tends to neglect crucial changes in Iran's foreign policy after 1) Britain's withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and the introduction of the United States' Twin-Pillar policy in the early 1970s, which made Iran the de facto gendarme of the Persian Gulf; 2) Iran's rise in power as a result of the surge in oil prices in the early 1970s; 3) the defeat of Nasserism and Egypt's pro-Iranian orientation under Sadat; and 4) Iran's shifting attitude towards Israel after the Yom Kippur War. The paper argues that Iran's 'Arab Option' did not emerge out of the ideological musings of Iran's Islamic revolutionaries, but out of Iran's new-found role as regional hegemon under the Shah. The sustainability of this role required Arab acceptance of Iran's position of preeminence, which only could be won through a tilt in Iran's foreign policy towards the Arabs.
Martin Luther Universitaet, Halle, Germany
The Saljuqs came from Central Asia and went to Iran not entirely out of their own will. Their attempts at establishing their rule over the Bukhara-Samarqand region (central Transoxiana) were never quite successful, and apparently they did not try to rule directly, but kept the local Qarakhanids. At the end of Saljuq presence in Central Asia, the defeat of Sultan Sanjar at the hands of the Qarakhitay (1141) in a way sounded the death knell of the dynasty. The later capture of the sultan by the Ghuzz (1152) and the rise of the Khwarazmshahs as an independent player in Central Asian and Iranian politics would not have been possible without this event. It has often been remarked that the Saljuq who started as a nomadic confederation in turn were overthrown by such confederations. The paper will address the following questions: how did the Saljuq relate to Central Asia? Is there anything like a 'return to the roots' discourse in the sources? What do the sources tell us about the Saljuq 'nomad policy' when applied to Central Asia? Is there anything in the fate of the later Saljuqs which could be related to a more general analysis of the relative strength of 'nomadic' vs. 'sedentary' armies?
Irina K Pavlova
Institute of Oriental Studies, Russia
In the second half of the nineteenth century many Russian businessmen began to invest their capital in the economy of Iran. They had many important reasons for their measures. First of all the rich natural resources of Iran and its strategic position in the Near East attracted their attention. The activities of the Russian businessmen opened a new page in the history of the Russian-Iranian relations. Some of these businessmen were: Lazar and Jakov Polykov, Mikhail Chomykov, Nike Novoselskyi, Georgy Lianozov, Ludvig Nobel. These men tried to propose projects in different spheres of the Iranian economy such as road and railway building, steamship lines, banking, telegraph, private trade. For example, Lazar Polykov organised the first Russian bank, the transport company and other ventures. Ludvig Nobel tried to join the Russian oil lines with Iran. Unfortunately, in most cases the projects of the Russian businessmen were not put into effect, and so private capital ceded its place to the state sector of Russia. All these very important materials we found in the State Russian Historical Archive. These documents give us many new facts about the activities of Russian businessmen abroad, specifically in Iran.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
"The stranger or foreigner is a melancholic figure, 'faithful to the shadow', ' drawn to an inaccessible elsewhere."Julia Kristeva
As an Iranian born in America, I am inspired to examine the writings of immigrants who have had to reconfigure their identity to adapt to a new way of life. This essay investigates two memoirs, Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran and Azadeh Moaveni's Lipstick Jihad, in order to determine how Iranians traversing cultural borders negotiate Iranian and American identity politics. I am concerned with how Iranian writers abroad have found essential the necessity of collecting and recording their stories about relocating themselves in the 'West' in order to reconstruct their ties with Iran. By writing as members of the diaspora, they attempt to 'fuse' the past with the present; re-writing, omitting, reforming, and transformingtheir story for global persuasion; however fostering an orientalised and limited perception of Iran. In exile, Azar Nafisi, who uses the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the events ensuing as the site for her comparison, selectively chooses what she values from each culture, often demonising and orientalising Iran through a championing of pro-American and 'Western' ideologies. On the other hand, Azadeh Moaveni's memoir takes place during the late 90s, from a time and space outside of the revolution, comparing her upbringing in the United States as an American-born Iranian with her return to Iran as an adult. It is compelling to ask: How does Moaveni 'other' Iranians in Iran against Iranians abroad, especially those living in the United States? Moreover does the global success of Nafisi and Moaveni's memoirs encourage the market's allocation of memoir as a genre for third world women writers? Granted the historical representations in memoir writing are skewed since they are based on personal memory,nevertheless, how do the writings of Nafisi and Moaveni affect international perception of Iran, since they are the more widely read sociological texts about the nation?
SOAS, University of London, UK
On a wave of anti-imperialist and anti-Western sentiment, revolutionary slogans of 'Economic Independence' and 'Neither East nor West, Islamic Republic' played an important role in bringing down the 'gharbzadeh' ('Western-struck') rule of the Pahlavi monarchy. And ever since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979, such slogans have continued to be used by many groups across the political spectrum. In particular, the goal of economic independence has driven much debate over the question of foreign investment in post-revolutionary Iran. For although Article 81 of the 1979 constitution bans the 'granting of concessions to foreigners', the existence of competing interpretations of the term 'concession' has resulted in an ongoing struggle between those who think that independence will only be realised through an economic growth that is powered in part by investment from abroad, and those who believe that any encouragement of such investment will only lead to exploitation and a betrayal of Iranian interests. In this paper, I will present a brief overview of the main players in this robust debate, and discuss the influence that contestation between them has had on the Islamic Republic's approach to foreign investment during the period 1979-2004. I will also consider the possible future of foreign investment in Iran under President Ahmadinejad.
Universitaet Bamberg, Germany
This paper examines the financial reforms for building the modern state during the Qajar period. The need for modernisation was understood by Iranian statesmen as early as at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Initially, such reforms took place just in the military, without entailing a structural transformation of the government. Amir Kabir tried to implement fundamental reforms to establish a powerful central government, but his effort were quelled by internal and external forces. Little by little, the traditional structure of the state confronted many difficulties; and foreign loans in Mozaffar al-Din Shah's period in particular challenged the legitimacy of the government. The Constitutional revolution was a reflection of the national intent to introduce reforms. But how, and with which resources and experts, should the reform be carried out? Thus the first measure was to engage a financial advisor, Morgan Shuster from America, but Shuster's failure in establishing the modern financial system disappointed the nation. After the First World War when the old order of the society and the state had been torn apart, Vosuq-al Dowleh made an effort to order to the chaos and to prepare resources to implement the financial and military reforms with the 1919 agreement, which was opposed strongly by public opinion. This agreement further destroyed the political unity of the society and added fuel to the fire of separatism. Finally, from this anarchy came the 1921 coup. From that year, the financial reforms ran parallel to military reforms.
Nashr-e Tarikh-e Iran, Iran
Although cartoons are an imported medium into Iran and the Iranian press, they have played at once an important and at the same time an ambiguous and deceptive role in Iran's recent history. Cartoons exerted undue pressure on politicians in both international and national issues at the same time that they helped educate and guide the popular masses. This paper is concerned with the role of political cartoons in three periods: 1) from First World War to the beginning of Reza Shah's reign; 2) the reign of Reza Shah; and 3) the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah up to the 1960s. The paper will look at the way cartoons and the most important cartoonists influenced public opinion and policy in relation to domestic and foreign policies in the critical period of the First and Second World Wars.
University of California, Berkeley, USA
In recent years Iranian cinema has cautiously begun to reflect the widespread dissatisfaction with the rule of the clerics among many Iranian citizens. Here I shall discuss two movies, The Lizard and Under Moonlight, in which the clerics are seemingly portrayed negatively and I shall argue that through the symbolic use of the clerics' robe, in both cases, men are exalted to higher levels of spiritual being. In both films the directors are very careful to avoid condemnation of the clergy but to convey society's rather negative sentiments towards the clerics who rule them. Furthermore, in both films the donning of the clerics' robe carries a sense of transformation and the man wearing the robe gains a deeper insight into his own spirituality. The lead characters' views towards the robe and the changes they both undergo as a result of their interactions with those around them are central issues in both films. In Under Moonlight, Hasan, a committed seminary student, has deep regards towards the robe and he hesitates to wear what he believes he does not deserve. But Reza, an imprisoned thief in The Lizard, has no such qualms and steals clerical attire to gain his freedom. Although both movies seem to be simple attacks on the clergy, they are in fact an appraisal of the robe and its ability to set men free. Hasan wears the robe in the end and frees himself from agonising questions plaguing his mind. He is now able to save a young thief from a life of misery. Reza, a felon, wears the robe and is transformed into a 'tame' man who creates love between people and God. The clerical robe is the vehicle that sets both men free.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Unlike some literary genres with universal applications, epic writings are embedded in their primary setting as well as the contemporary cultural background of the author. The fifteenth-century religious epic of Fatnmeh, by Emrani, is a good example of the coexistence of cultural phenomena in the religious setting of a literary work.While the primary content of the work is based on biblical sources, the presence of Iranian mythical and ethical elements demonstrates the poet's dual identity as a Jew and an Iranian. Such contemporary cultural impacts, portraying the 'spirit of the time', can be traced in the linguistic and thematic elaborations of the poet. In the case of Fatnmeh, the vast historical and cultural gap between the biblical setting and the medieval era of the composition is filled with the poet's personal inputs reflecting the societal norms, cultural background and the poet's power of imagination. As an educator and leader, the poet transmits Iranian cultural values and ethical standards to the majority of his illiterate readers who may not have had access to such normative behaviour in literary form. The use of rhetorical arts, meta-language, common epic characteristics, mystical concepts and allegories, as well as the ethical comments in the midst of a religious epic is a proof of the cultural unity and literary trend of the era from which Iranian Jews did not feel apart. A parallel study of Fatnmeh with a range of other Iranian literary works represents the level of sophistication and a socio-economic status rather than one of religious attachments. Thus, the lack of acquaintance with Iranian intellectual life and written cultural sources can not be considered a characteristic of illiterate Iranian Jews only, but applies to all other non-Jewish illiterate Iranians as well.
Montclair State University, USA
This paper tries to evaluate the impact of China's rapid economic growth on the world's energy demand and the possibility of its alliance with Iran as a rich energy source to provide China with ample supply of both oil as well as natural gas. China's economy has experienced one of the fastest expansions in the world, growing at an average rate of about 10 percent per year for the last 15 years. At this rate China can double the size of its GDP about every seven years. This rapid growth is transforming, at a fast pace, an agricultural society into one of the world's most dynamic industrial markets. Total trade in 2004 stood at more than $ 1.1 trillion, making China the world's third largest trading nation, after the United States and Germany. While China is still consuming far less oil than the United States (China consumes about 6.3% while America consumes about 30% of the world's oil production), increased production in industries like steel, aluminium and cement, which feed China's export growth as well as China's frantic construction boom, have driven up its energy consumption. In response to this rise in demand, China is going around the world in order to secure reliable sources of energy. China has struck energy deals with countries including Uzbekistan, Iran, Sudan, Myanmar, Chad, and Venezuela. China is offering powerful incentives to these countries with rich energy resources ranging from economic and military aid, to access to China's market, and China's support at the United Nations. Iran, which supplies over 11 percent of China's energy needs, has recently signed a $ 70 billion contract to secure supply of oil and gas to China. The fact that China is willing to secure energy from a country whose ideology is in conflict with that of United States or the West has important economic as well as political implications in the future.
Christian-Albrechts Universitaet, Kiel, Germany
The Pahlavi regime as a collectively acting subject constituted itself through a 'functional memory' by construing a particular past. Thus, the official or political memory served as the regime's key legitimising factor. Both Pahlavi Shahs got their hands on the Iranian past as well as on its future, that is, they legitimised their rule in retrospect and immortalised themselves prospectively. Al-e Ahmad (1923–69), who is regarded as one of the leading intellectuals of his time, tried himself at a 'counter memory' in contrast to the official historiography. The motive in producing such a 'counter memory' is to deligitimise the perceived oppressive balance of power. However, Al-e Ahmad's own lax dealings with Iran's history and the lack of a properly thought-out concept prevented him from establishing a convincing 'counter history'. This paper shows that Al-e Ahmad's critical look at the time and society he lived in led him to fall back upon certain periods of pre-Islamic and Islamic Iranian history. His main purpose in doing this was, on the one hand, to compromise the Pahlavi regime's interpretation of Iranian history, including its repudiation of Islam. On the other hand, Al-e Ahmad used Nasir al-Din Tusi, a controversial historical figure from the thirteenth century, to demonstrate what a 'committed intellectual' could achieve in his fight against a regime he perceived as illegitimate. Just as the Pahlavi Shahs misused historical data to promote their own ideology, Al-e Ahmad used bits and pieces of Iranian history to, again ideologically, question these same ideas. In this way, he presents Nasir al-Din Tusi as a model intellectual and depicts the devastations caused by the Mongol invasion not only as providence but above all as a chance for a fresh start.
EU Institute of Security Studies, France
If pragmatism were the sole factor underlining the EU-Iran relationship, a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and other agreements would have been signed a long time ago, due to the obvious economic attractions of forging closer links between energy-rich Iran and energy-hungry Europe. However, EU-Iran relations remain complicated. To engage Iran, the EU developed the formula of the critical and later the comprehensive dialogue. Whether 'critical' or 'comprehensive', the importance of the EU's dialogue with Iran should not be underestimated: it was an exercise in how to reconcile idealistic aspirations of promoting human rights and democracy with realistic needs of cooperation in the fields of energy and the economy as well as security. As seen from an EU perspective, the critical and the comprehensive dialogue were less a success in terms of ushering in dramatic improvements than in terms of the way in which it led to a gradual shift in the behaviour of the Iranians. As seen from an Iranian perspective, any kind of dialogue – critical, comprehensive or the dialogue of cultures – was seen as recognition of the regime. The European dialogue with Iran was often criticised as appeasing the regime. However, although the Europeans' critique of Iran's abysmal human rights record was rejected by Tehran, it was at least heard and made some form of impact. Indeed, with criticism from the United States falling on deaf ears in Tehran, it was only the EU's voice on human rights that had some credibility – for Iran's various other partners, like China, Russia, Muslim countries and Third World states, rarely if ever drew attention to the question of human rights. Deepening the dialogue was only possible thanks to the unexpected landslide victory of Mohammad Khatami in the 1997 presidential elections and the ongoing political success of the reformist camp. Crisis occurred when in 2002 clandestine nuclear facilities in Iran were revealed. In order to defer this crisis the EU under the leadership of Great Britain, France and Germany initiated a new format (E3+EU) to engage with Iran. For three years now the EU has tried to dissuade Iran from its enrichment activities. In this period a major success (the Paris agreement and Iran's voluntary suspension) was undone by a major setback (Iran's recommencement of enrichment activities in August 2005). Ever since then the EU and Iran have tried to come to a negotiated solution.
Tehran Univerisity, Iran
Ruz o shab is one of the five masnavis composed by the seventh/ thirteenth century Persian poet Hakim Nizari Quhistani, comprising, according to the poet, 550 lines (in my edition 446 lines). The frame story of this masnavi is a literary debate between day (ruz) or the sun (Persian: aftab;Arabic: shams) and night (shab), and it belongs to a literary genre that had become popular among Persian poets and writers during the Ilkhanid period. Nizari composed this masnavi on the Nowruz eve of the year 699 when the king of Quhistan, Shams al-Din Ali Shah, was having his annual banquet at court and had invited different courtiers and viziers, except the poet Nizari. The Shah apparently had been vexed with Nizari and had even confiscated his garden. In this panegyric masnavi, Nizari tries to praise the king and ask for his forgiveness and favour. Some scholars have assumed that the day in this story represents the Ismaili doctrine while its antagonist, the night, represents the orthodoxy, i.e. Sunni Islam. There is, however, no evidence that supports this hasty interpretation, made when the masnavi was not yet edited and available to scholars. In fact, there is no sign of Ismailism in this masnavi except for a verse in which the poet mentions the name of the Shiite Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, and claims to be his follower. On the other hand, there are clearly some Sufi ideas and even an anecdote about one of the Sufi masters, discussed in this masnavi. There are some indications that Nizari wanted to show his own relation to the king as that of the night to the day or the sun. One of these indications is the fact that the king was also called Shams al-Din (the sun of the religion). But even this interpretation should not be pressed too far, for in literary debates, in general, each antagonist is primarily supposed to stand for itself, not as a symbol or a representation of something else.
Ohio State University, USA
The early Arab conquest of Iran has long been held to have occurred in the years 12 to 13 AH, traditionally believed to have corresponded to the years 632-634 CE. Contemporary historiography, therefore, believes that this crucial juncture of Iranian history – a momentous watershed that ultimately led to the destruction of the Sasanian Empire – took place at the inception of the rule of the last Sasanian King Yazdgird III (632-651 CE) and after the ridda wars (or wars of apostasy) and the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Using a set of alternative chronological indicators, i.e., the rule of Sasanian kings and queens adopted from the xwaday-namag (or the Book of Kings) traditions, and examining these in the light of the futuh narratives, especially the traditions of Sayf ibn Omar, and numismatic evidence,this paper will argue that this conventional chronology is flawed. It will propose that the early Arab conquest of Iran in fact transpired in the years 628-632 CE, immediately after the ultimate defeat of the Sasanians by the Byzantines in the 'last great war of antiquity', and during a period of internecine warfare between the two major factions of the Pahlav (i.e., the Parthians) and the Parsig. This newly constructed picture will not only better explain the ultimate and perplexing defeat of the Sasanians by the Arabs, but will have crucial implications for our assessment of the chronology of the hijra and the date of the death of the Prophet Muhammad, among other matters.
Sholeh A Quinn
Ohio University, USA
The purpose of this paper is to extend the study of dreams further into the late Safavid period by examining dream narratives in the post-Shah Abbas period. Interestingly, chroniclers continued to rewrite the dream accounts, indicating that the themes in those dream narratives did not remain static after the death of Shah Abbas. This analysis demonstrates that several generations of Safavid chroniclers continued to focus on these dream accounts and suggests that these were important vehicles for expressing political ideas in the late Safavid period. The paper will examine chronicles of many traditions in the late Safavid period, including those that followed the conventions popularised by Iskandar Beg Monshi, and others which deviated from earlier norms, such as the so-called anonymous Shah Esmail romances, produced late in the Safavid period, and Fazli Isfahani's Afzal al-tawarikh, a chronicle that was revised in India and that makes interesting changes to earlier versions of the dreams. The paper will conclude by mentioning how the historiographical legacy of dream narratives continued even into the later Afsharid period, by comparing dreams of Nader Shah to the dreams of Sheikh Safi al-Din.
al-Zahra University, Iran
Sufi orders were considered a popular institution in the thirteenth and fourteenth century Anatolia. The influence that these orders exerted on official and unofficial elites cannot be underestimated. Most researchers and particularly Turkish researchers have studied orders as a phenomenon of Turkish culture, and they consider this dynamic within the Saljuq society as a Turkish characteristic. The purpose of this study is to understand the Persian underpinnings of these orders and the system that upheld them. Orders such as the Bektashiyyeh, Malamatiyyeh, Mowlaviyyeh and Qownaviyyeh were products of the Persian culture, and played an important role in disseminating Persian culture in Anatolia. The study shows the central place of the Persian language as a central component of the production of literature and the development of the students amongst the pirs and the sufi masters of the time. The orders, in fact, played an important role as the central site for the preservation of Persian culture.
Orly R Rahimiyan
Ben Gurion University, Israel
The purpose of this study is to examine the history of the anti-Semitic publication, The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion, in Iran. The Protocols -- published to this day in millions of copies, in all languages, around the world, mostly for political purposes -- is a fraudulent document purporting to describe a plan to achieve Jewish global domination. This subject in its Iranian environment has not been researched from a historical perspective. The Protocols are part and parcel of the anti-Semitic literature published in Iran. Translations of the Protocols are extremely popular in Iran. The book has gone through several editions. The first edition was issued in Iran during the 1940s. The translation was not made from the Russian original, but from the French translation of Roger Lambelin. During the early stages of the Islamic revolution (in the summer of 1978) the book was republished as propaganda against the Shah, Israel and the Jews. In 1985, a new edition was published and widely distributed by the Department of International Relations of the Association for the Spread of Islam in Tehran. One of the wealthiest foundations in Iran, The Shrine of the Imam Reza in Mashhad, financed the edition of the Protocolspublished in 1994. Sections of the book were even published in the newspaper Jomhuri-ye Eslami under the heading 'The smell of blood, Jewish conspiracies' (March 7, 1994). Following Jomhuri-ye Eslami, the newspaper Ettela'at published the chapters of the Protocols also during 1994 and 1995. Sobh, an Islamic monthly magazine, published excerpts from the Protocols under the heading "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for Establishing the Jewish Global Rule' in the December 1998-January 1999 issues, illustrated with a caricature of the Jewish snake swallowing the globe.
The paper seeks to understand the historical and political roots of the emergence of the Protocols in Iran. It will also examine the different versions of the Protocols that were issued, identifying the differences between the versions, and showing that these differences might have derived from diverse historical and cultural contexts.
SOAS, University of London, UK
This paper examines the role of the Internet as a tool for community mobilisation and expression among the Iranian diaspora. Through this investigation of current literature and the e-magazine, Iranian.com, the author will argue that the Internet has become a vital area for open communication and transformation of ideas that is not evident in other forms of diasporic media, namely satellite television from Los Angeles and print media. Thus, the Internet has become a valuable and important technological tool, evading nationalist discourse and socially conservative topics prevalent in Iranian diasporic media, giving a greater and varied voice to those within the diaspora and linking them with like-minded voices throughout the diaspora and in the homeland.
The focus on Iranian-Americans as apposed to the Iranian diasporas in other countries centres on the idea that these communities are alike and different at the same time. The diasporic experiences of Iranian-Americans contain subtle differences than the experiences of their diasporic compatriots in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. This paper will study some of the specifities of this community. In addition, an examination of second-generation Iranian-Americans has rarely been undertaken in academic circles. Because much of the communications within the diaspora is in Persian much to the disadvantage of second-generation Iranians, these second-generation Iranians have used the Internet as an outlet to express themselves, especially the different views they share culturally, politically, and socially with their parents' generation. Because English is the predominate language on the Internet, it is easier for the second generation to communicate in either English or the hybrid and Internet-friendly language that is known as 'Pinglish', a combination of Persian and English words and phrases. By exploring the second-generation of Iranian-Americans who have used the Internet as an outlet, we can understand their longings and desires and how they shape themselves within their dual ethnic and cultural environments. Lastly, by exploring the theme of 'community mobilisation' via the Internet, this essay will attempt to examine if the Internet has been responsible in bringing Iranians in America and within the diaspora closer together in regards to social, political and cultural issues.
Universitaet Zuerich, Switzerland
Titles and possible titles for royal women in Ancient Persia have been studied by Emile Benveniste (1966) and Maria Brosius (1996). It is only the neighbouring languages, like Greek and Elamic, that provide us with a corpus of female names and some information about female titles. However, it is often difficult to determine their original sound shape. ne comparatively well-attested title is transmitted by the Elamite form duksis. This obviously renders the Old Persian built on the usual Indo-Iranian word for 'daughter'. As further Elamite form abbamus was likewise suspected to be a woman's title. It has been compared to the female Persian name transmitted by Plutarch, the etymology, however, remaining uncertain. Brosius has shown that this form abbamus refered entirely to a woman whose name in the Elamite tablets is given as Irdabama, most likely member of the royal family and possibly wife of Darius I. In this paper it will be argued that abbamu's might not have been a title but rather an onomastic variant of the name Irdabama. Conversely, a form that usually is held to be a name, with its possible Elamite match form Ammasis, can have originated as a woman's title meaning 'born by/of the same mother'.
University of York, UK
This study focuses on Ismaili women in Birjand and was conduced through a series of conversations and interviews with Ismailis and non-Ismailis. It investigates the impact of being an Ismaili in a country where the official religion is Twelver Shiism mainly on the educational aspects of their lives. It discusses major obstacles and problems that Ismailis face in society, particularly in gaining higher levels of education. It tries to bring together different viewpoints either for or against tertiary education. It examines the institutional norms, societal cultures, and ideological beliefs which govern the prevention of females from having higher education and comes to an understanding of how Ismaili women see themselves and how they view and interpret their status in comparison with non-Ismailis. The findings reveal that not only do gender inequalities and traditional gender ideologies prevent females from obtaining higher education, but also in the case of Ismailis, they are barred from some fields of university due to their religious beliefs. Therefore, Ismailis are constrained to adjust themselves to the available opportunities that have been provided to them, although they try to negotiate and challenge the legal, cultural and governmental constraints to promote their interests in their public and private spheres.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
For the Sasanian Empire of Iran, the early sixth century CE marked a critical point. This era, the reign of Kawad I and Khosrow I, started with a major rebellion and concluded with fundamental changes in the administration of the Sasanian Empire. These changes were mostly undertaken by Kawad I and continued by his son Khosrow, although the later historians, particularly the Arab chroniclers, often attributed them to Khosrow alone. Aside from foreign conflicts with the Hephtalites and the Byzantines, a major initiator of these reforms was the rebellion of Mazdak, a neo-Manichaean reformer who preached a 'religion' of social equality. What made Mazdak's ideas particularly important is that he initially managed to convert the newly crowned Emperor, Kawad I, to his religion, an incident that enraged the established nobility and the Zoroastrian priesthood. The religious and socio-economic effects of this conversion are, however, beyond the scope of the present work. This paper examines one aspect of Mazdakite 'communism', namely the issue of sexual communism or communal sharing of partners and its effects on the issue of Sasanian royal succession. This is a feature of Mazdak's religion that put it most significantly at odds with the norms of the society in which it appeared. Sexual Communism of the Mazdakite religion made it most easy for its enemies, the established Zoroastrian clerical system, and the nobility, to discredit the whole movement. However, one particular aspect of Mazdak's preaching of sexual communalism was the issue of legitimate heirs. This is particularly crucial for the Sasanian royal line and the struggle for power that occurred between Khosrow and his brothers Kyus and Zam towards the end of Kawad's reign. In this paper, I shall suggest that some of the vague aspects of the Mazdakite rebellion, including its very confusing chronology, can be explained through this succession conflict. On the basis of this, the paper will present a closer reading of the available sources on the issue and will try to take a look at Mazdak's rebellion from the point of view of Khosrow's propaganda.
Georg-August-University, Goettingen, Germany
While the question of the nature and origins of 'Zurvanism' has preoccupied Iranists for a long time, little attention has been paid to the perception of time and its role in Zoroastrianism and particularly in 'Zurvanism'. Speculations about time are widely assumed to be connected with Babylonian ideas about astrology and astronomy. It is well known that two different type of times exist in Zoroastrianism, and the implications of this seem to merit further investigation, which may also throw new light on the nature of 'Zurvanism'. So far, the recognition of Zurvan among Zoroastrians has been described as a 'heresy' or as insignificant, but rarely as a legitimate expression of Zoroastrianism. This paper examines the evidence of the Avesta and the Pahlavi Books concerning the two types of time, and suggest that these reflect a view of reality that is inherently Zoroastrian. A connection between this understanding of time and Zurvanism can then be suggested.
Institut Francais de Geopolitique, France
The paper, based on the author's fieldwork in Iran (participant observation and open-ended interviews with a number of activists), analyses the question of gender and the Azeri national movement in Iran, in which women's representation is very low. Following the Islamic revolution, a female social identity has appeared within various social classes, and almost all the ethnic minorities. Reminiscence of patriarchal social structures combined with ethnically-based Azeri nationalism contribute to a traditionalist conception of womanhood, in which women are supposed to have a limited access to public space and should not participate in political activities. Therefore, there is a wide gap between the nationalist discourse and the female social identity: Azeri women do not identify with the promoted ethnic features of the national movement and do not want to participate in it. Those who become active usually follow the example of their male relatives. However, in the past five years, a new generation of women has started to join the movement as individuals. They belong to the post-revolutionary generations, and are socially mobile due to their access to higher education. They have adopted the nationalist cultural agenda, and describe the movement as the only real active political platform able to bring some change in their social environment. Claiming their female social identity, they advocate feminism, and aspire to gain autonomy from the nationalist leadership. The paper examines the differences between the two generations of women, revealing the profound cleavage opposing the generations born before and after the revolution. It also explains why some young women decide to join a nationalist movement in spite of its lack of a salient identity.
Thomas M Ricks
Two former missionary high schools in Tehran continue to be remarkably consistent and competitive among contemporary Iranian educational institutions; that is, Alborz and Nurbakhsh [formerly Sage College] boys and girls high schools respectively. Both schools, moreover, have ranked among Iran's top schools for more than eighty years, and both have almost identical American Presbyterian missionary origins. Following 1945, Sage College was renamed Nurbakhsh High School, and Alborz College (also called the American School) designated as Alborz High School by the Ministry of Education as part of the transfer of property from the Presbyterians to the Iranian government. The present paper intends, through a study of the political cultures of the two schools, to explain their impressive longevity, great appeal, and continued high standards in terms of their values and aspirations as found in the curricula, expressed by their faculty, and supported by so many of former students. The primary historical evidences are from three sources: 1) an ongoing oral history research project with former male and female Iranian students, their teachers and administrators with emphasis on the 1921 to 1941, and 1951 to 1979 years; 2) autobiographical and archival published and unpublished works including diaries, books, and official reports in Iranian and US public and private collections; and 3) the archives of the Presbyterian Historical Society (Philadelphia, PA).
Institut fuer Iranistik der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Austria
Despite research on archaeological remains and literary evidence, much figural wall painting of the Safavid period remains in the void. The paintings of the portal of the Qaysariyyeh at Isfahan which connects the royal maydan and the bazar have been ascribed to the period of Shah Abbas I but remain unstudied, leaving more than a shadow on their dating. Much more in the public than wall paintings in the interior of contemporary palaces, they show one of the largest battle scenes in Islamic art, framed by a royal hunt and a banquet of Europeans. The paper investigates forms, content and date of these images, proposing models and discussing the significance for the art history of the period.
Claremont Graduate University, USA
Due to the prominence of fire in their sacred texts and subsequent rituals, Zoroastrians have often, mistakenly, been referred to as 'fire-worshippers' by non-Zoroastrian observers since the Greek period. This paper will argue that both priestly and lay offering since the early period has also focused on water, but that the centrality of this focus has been overlooked by many scholars. In his Histories, Herodotus pays less attention to the role of fire in the Persians' religion than to their interaction with the various bodies of water they encounter. Xerxes' offerings to the waters include a golden phial, a golden bowl and a Persian akinakes; these objects bring to mind the booty of the Oxus Treasure as well as a recent hoard from a well in Afghanistan, both of which date to between 5th century BCE and third century CE. Jewelry and ceramic vessels dating from the later half of this period have also been found in ancient mines (which flood in the spring) and cave pools near Kashan, suggesting widespread lay practice relating to a popular cult, perhaps of the Yazata Aredvi Sura Anahita. Apart from a formal, priestly offering to water that is the culmination of the Yasna ceremony (the ab-zohr), and the centrality of 'the waters' to the liturgy of the Yasna Haptanhaiti, it seems that there has long been a tradition of less ritually circumscribed lay offerings to the waters, referred to obliquely in the Nerangestan. Reverence of the waters as the sustainer of life is still celebrated by Zoroastrians in the villages and at the shrines of Yazd and Kerman in Iran, and a similar offering made by some Parsis (mostly women) on Aban ruz Aban mah. This paper will consider the range and continuity of some of these practices, with reference to recent research.
California State University, San Marcos, USA
Some of Iran's pioneering institutions of modern education were founded in Tehran during the nineteenth century by American missionaries. Alborz College for Boys, for example, and the contributions of its American principal Samuel Jordan and its graduates have received much recognition and acclaim in historical studies and popular memory. This paper, however, will focus on the American Girls' School and its founders and students, a topic that has not received the same treatment. The American Girls' School/Iran Bethel, later called Nurbakhsh, was one of the leading educational institutions for girls in Iran from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s. The religious and cultural origins of this institution remain a subject of little research and inquiry. Based on American missionary and Iranian sources -- both written and oral -- this study argues that the Protestant evangelical mission of the American Girls' School was later subsumed by more secular cultural and nationalist goals due to the demands of its Iranian students and host government. English-language instruction and science education, in particular, were in demand, although foreign language was contested by the increasingly nationalistic agenda of the Iranian government. In the end, educating girls at the American School became a modernist priority for Iranians and thus distanced the school from its evangelical origins. To their chagrin, the school's American principals and sponsors adapted to their Iranian clientele in this regard. A study of the American Girls' School in Tehran offers a site for exploring gender, nationalist discourses, and the politics of identity in early twentieth-century Iran. As a result of cultural exchange, a school with evangelical Protestant origins turned into a vehicle for supporting secular Iranian nationalist goals.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
The paper examines one of the most puzzling accounts related to Alexander the Great/Iskandar in medieval Persian literature. The episode in question, which appears in the Darabnameh -- a prose dastan written down presumably in the early seventh/ thirteenth centuryand ascribed to Abu Taher Tarsusi -- describes the vehement argument between Alexander and his teacher, Aristotle, which is instigated by the invective of the latter against Iran and its kings. As a result, Alexander is cursed by Aristotle and deprived through his prayer of all the knowledge he had acquired under his guidance. To determine the significance of the episode, the paper puts under scrutiny two structurally similar accounts in early Arabic historical works by pseudo-al-Asma'i (ca.third/ninth century) and al-Dinavari (d. 282/895). Considering the possible impact of the Zoroastrian mythological tradition, and more particularly, of the unfavourable Sasanian attitude toward Alexander, it attempts to show that, even if traceable, the vestiges of this tradition lose their original 'meaning' in the Darabnameh, having mingled with certain interpretations of the prophetic figure of Dhu al-Qarnayn in Quranic exegetical literature. I shall argue that the episode of the discord between Alexander and Aristotle encapsulates the national-religious problematics of the Darabnameh as a whole, in which an effort is made to reconcile the Islamic element with the national Iranian stance through the figure of Alexander in a way that sets this work apart from the 'classical' versions of the Alexander saga by Ferdowsi and Nezami.
Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Hamza al-Isfahani's list of authors who, as he claims, have been available to him for his account of Iranian history, ought to have been one of the main starting points for the discussion of the traces of Sasanian historiography still extant in Classical Arabic sources. Nevertheless, this list, as given in his Kitab sini muluk al-ard wa l-anbiya, with a parallel in the New Persian Mojmal al-tawarikh, has been strangely neglected. The most useful discussion of it today is still, in my view, that of Baron von Rosen, dating back to 1895. The purpose of this paper is to make some general observations about this list and to try to lay the foundation for a more detailed examination. Among other things, I intend to show how sources inaccessible to Rosen at that time, such as the Nihayat al-irab fi akhbar al-furs wa l-arab and the still unpublished Berlin Ms Sprenger 30, may be used to shed further light on the way in which Hamza's list may serve to illuminate the vexed question of the traces of lost Sasanian historiography.
Rachael M Rudolph
West Virginia University, USA
Jamie E Jacobs
West Virginia University, USA
The development of national energy policy is frequently analysed from the perspective of competing interests: state, society and foreign policy. Less often does such an analysis emphasise the conflict -- or resonance -- of broader norms that circulate in both international and domestic policy environments, and the impact such norms may have on both national identities and state policy. This paper adopts a constructivist approach in understanding the relationship between identity and the process of policy formation in Iran, in the area of energy policy. The project asserts that secular and religious identities play an important role in shaping the debate, agenda formation, and policy implementation, as Iran experiences shifts in both domestic and transnational norms regarding the balance between secular and religious influences and their identities. It will be argued herein that the success of Iran's energy policy, in particular, the development of nuclear power is dependent upon the shared norms among collectivities within society holding both religious and secular identities. It is the shared norms among the collectivities that permit the cross-fertilisation and reconstruction of their religious and secular identities. In addition to the influence on the course of domestic policy, the shifting landscape of norm resonance within Iran likewise shapes their engagement of external relations. Through its examination of the institutional, participatory, and international sources of norms on energy policy in Iran, this paper seeks to add depth to the investigation of the 'religious vs. secular' by examining ways in which these transnational norms compete, complement, and interact to shape governance within Iran and its relations with the international community.
Christine van Ruymbeke
University of Cambridge, UK
This fifteenth century recast of the famous Kalila wa Dimna cycle of stories has elicited very little scholarly attention throughout the twentieth century, after having enjoyed several centuries of undisputed success. The present paper will take a new look at this text, which will not be considered either for its literary merit or for its 'tales' seen as amusing or moral stories, but with the aim of recapturing the reason why these stories have been considered so important a work (from its appearance at the court of Anushirvan, until it was criticised by Western and Iranian scholars alike in the late nineteenth century). More particularly, the research attempts to decant what might have been the original idea of the unknown pre-Islamic author(s). In a second step, the paper will analyse whether the fifteenth-century author Va'ez Kashefi at the Timurid court identified and recaptured the original aim of the text, or whether he added yet another link to the chain of corruptions the original raison d'etre of the text most probably underwent over the centuries.
Islamic Azad University, Iran
This article focuses on the Iranian younger generation's attitudes and behaviour toward gender roles and sexuality. Data gathered through in-depth interviews with urban girls (ages 20-28) shows how far attitudes toward family norms, sexuality, gender distinctions, the role of men and women within family and society, and the interpretation of Islamic religious doctrines on sexuality have changed. These changes are evident among both apparently secular and apparently religious girls. Social attitudes in the Islamic Republic have changed considerably during the past 25 years. Changes in attitudes towards sexuality are primarily visible in the new generations' opinions and practices toward veiling, heterosocial relations, and traditional family norms. Changes are evident not only among the 'badly veiled' (badhejab), but also among 'veiled' girls (often referred to as chadori, whether or not they actually wear a chador). Although distinct, these two categories must be treated as mutually dependent. Despite accepted opinion that chadori girls are more modest than badhejab ones, research among young women places this assumption in question. Although the behaviour of the younger generation is much more open than their parents, they still express inconsistencies between public self-presentation (how they wear hejab) and private fear and desire. Except for a vanguard within each category, traditional attitudes toward sexuality still strongly matter, including the repression of female desire, being a virgin before marriage, and a sexual double standard regarding modest behaviour for girls and boys. Yet on the basis of what the younger generation articulates, being badhejab does not necessarily indicate being more liberated in the matter of desire and sexual attitudes. While many of the badhejab girls seem to offer a more eroticised public self-presentation, interview data indicates that they are mostly hesitant to challenge sexual attitudes in their discourse or other behaviour. On the other hand, many veiled girls do not accept traditional social norms against gender mixing, and socialise with boys in the public sphere of the universities, students' associations, etc. Both groups express frustration at the often aggressive sexualisation of public spaces, although some girls access Islamic legalities and institutions (including temporary marriage) in order to manage heterosexual relationships. Thus, the university has become the main space for young people's social mixing, especially for girls from provinces or more religiously traditional families.
SOAS, University of London, UK
Using the Internet itself as a methodology for studying Iranian Internet use, this paper examines the demographic, voting habits, personal views and Internet activity of Iranians on the Internet. A survey geared toward Iranian internet users was undertaken on well-known and high-traffic Iranian Internet sites. Participants spent an average of three minutes filling out the survey, resulting in a heretofore undocumented record not only of Iranian Internet users themselves but the political, social, and cultural attitudes and habits of Iranians who use the Internet. The indications are that the mere act of intellectually and emotionally engaging with so many others via the Internet has opened the door to profound social and political changes not just in Iran but in Iranians -- changes that are likely to alter the Iranian political and social landscape for some time to come.
University of Ottawa, Canada
Is the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) able to provide women with the skills they need to compete in the national and international market economy? What are the barriers and obstacles that Iranian women face in institutions of higher education? How can these barriers be overcome? This paper attempts to answer these questions by examining the social, political, cultural and historical contexts within which education of women takes place in Iran's higher education system. Drawing from multiple sources of data, including official censuses, government documents, and interviews with individual university students, instructors, and graduates, I explore the systematic problems within the institutions of higher learning in Iran. A key argument is that while the Iranian government promotes and encourages women's participation in institutions of higher education, the experiences of many women point to their exclusion in different areas from policy making to approaches to teaching and learning, and instructional materials (textbooks, etc). The data reveals that equal access to institutions of higher learning (as depicted in the IRI's official census) does not necessarily correspond to equal treatment within these institutions and equal employment opportunities upon graduation. Individual participants' narratives illustrate the existence of cultural barriers to women's education and participation in the labour market. It is concluded that full inclusion of women in the IRI's educational system will be possible with concurrent policy reforms and cultural transformations that encourage equity, and promote gender-consciousness within the institutions of higher education.
Institut fuer Iranistik der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Austria
Linguistic analysis of personal names can be accomplished only in the field of tension between the morphological research into their derivational or compositional structure and the studies of their semantic motivation and phraseological background. Since the appearance of the first volume of the Dictionary of Iranian Personal Names at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 1977, followed by a series of publications on the Greek, Anatolian and Near East tradition of (Old) Iranian onomastics, comparative Iranian studies can now finally turn, on a solid base, to the linguistic challenges of morphology and semantics of the proper names together with their pendants in the domain of the appellatives. For up to this day, the distribution between onomastics and epithet studies in the two sister languages shows a peculiar, privative opposition: in the case of Old Iranian, we dispose of a meticulously arranged Dictionary of Personal Names, which, however, cannot, by definition, take into account the system of appellatives used as attributives or epithets. In Old Indian we have several individual studies of poetic epithets and word field semantics, however no real philological treatment of the onomastic system as a whole (here, only three monographs, of specific character, appeared in the course of one hundred and thirty years). And despite the amazing typological and genealogical parallelity in Indo-Iranian also in this spheres, their comparative research still remains a desideratum. To fill this gap, a study of epithets and proper names in their relationship to poetical phraseology in Young Avestan and Vedic in Indo-European comparison has been conducted for the past two years at the Institute for Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The material researched comprises, in its Iranian part, all the Avestan proper names attested, combined with the Old Persian names of the Persepolis tablets and of the so-called Nebenueberlieferungen published or revised, e.g., by Mayrhofer, Hinz and Schmitt in the last decades. For Old Indian, the data of the Rigveda are supplemented by the later Vedic and, to a certain exent, with the Epic and Classical Sanskrit traditions. The attributives, epithets and names are systematically compared to free syntagms of phraseological character and to poetical formulas attested in the literary monuments concerned. The epithets and the proper names in Indo-Iranian are also analysed from the viewpoint of their compound structure. The paper gives an account of the main results of this work, which will appear as a monograph in the framework of the Dictionary of Iranian Personal Names.
Lake Forest College, USA
Texas Women's University, USA
The issue of the Hojjatieh is
vital, given the mythologies spun around it both in Iran and abroad. The thing
about Hojjatieh is that it no longer
exists, except in the imagination of conspiracy-minded Iranians. So, 'their
current view' no longer exists. Part of the paper will address the taxonomy of
imaginary Hojjatiehs that float
around in the Iranian imaginary these days. A profound change occurred at the
time of the 1979 revolution, and that change is what we propose to discuss in
this paper. Hence, can we argue that the 'changing views' in this case will be
historical in nature? Contrasting Hojjatieh
to the views of other groups will be undertaken in the paper. Hojjatieh faced (both before and after
the Revolution) one major opponent: radical Islam (as formulated by Shariati,
Khomeini, the Mojahedin, etc.) It was
in dialogue with this interpretation of Shiite Islam that the political
philosophy of Hojjatieh evolved. With
the victory of the revolution, the Hojjatieh
had more than a rhetorical challenge as its opponents were now in control of a
state and backed by the charismatic authority of Khomeini. This combination
proved deadly for Hojjatieh despite
their mostly pitiful attempts to accommodate themselves to the situation in the
two years that they lasted after the Revolution.
Houman A Sadri
University of Central Florida, USA
With a focus on the theoretical and policy aspects of Iranian foreign policy, the main objective of this paper is to examine the nature, role, and scope of the activities of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) – a regional organisation originally established by Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan in 1985. Following a trend of regional integration by European and developing countries, ECO states seek economic development and growth via trade among members. Recently, different integration theories (including Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism) have resurfaced, following the strengthening of regional blocs, such as the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Thus, this paper begins by testing the application of Functionalism and Neo-Functionalism theories to ECO, as far as Iranian policy is concerned. Next, this research evaluates the trade off between economic benefits and political costs in ECO, for Tehran. Despite some similarities with the EU, ECO is a very different organisation. While the EU moved toward political and economic integration via a supranational body, ECO states are seeking economic integration without such an imposing political structure. In fact, ECO states, like Iran, have emphasised that regional decisions should be made first by their Foreign Ministry officials, and then coordinated among members via negotiations, without a role for a supranational political body. Methodologically, this paper presents a current events data analysis of Iranian foreign policy, its relations with ECO members, an overview of ECO's evolution, along with a list of ECO's challenges and successes. This research is not limited to investigating only secondary sources. In fact, it also relies on primary data produced by open-ended interviews with several ECO policymakers and experts, especially in Iran.
Mohammad Reza Saeidabadi
University of Tehran, Iran
Ever since the Iranian revolution of 1979, relations between Iran and Britain have remained volatile and have suffered from tension, instability, and upheavals. Neither reconciliation nor normalisation have been achieved between the two sides. While Iran's relations with the United States were predictably hostile, Tehran's ties with London could have been expected, at least by the end of the first tempests of the revolution, to be better and more stable. Why did Iran's relations with Britain deteriorate from the beginning, as distinct from other West European countries? What were the origins of Iran's resentment towards Britain? Which forces were behind the hostility between them? What are the prospects for future relations between these two countries? These are but a few questions, the answers for which will be explored by this paper. Not surprisingly, during the years since the Iranian revolution, the exploration of trends, events, roots of hostility, patterns of upheavals, and the vector of tension and instability in Iranian-British relations have remained ignored, overlooked or reduced to examination of pretexts rather than genuine causes. This paper attempts to produce an analytical study of Iranian–British relations since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 by employing a conceptual approach. While Iranian-British relations since 1979 have been shaped by both objective developments and perceptive and psychological problems, the paper endeavours only to provide the conceptual constructs of the conflict between Iran and Britain. Three concepts have been instrumental in influencing Iranian–British relations since 1979. They are: perception and misperception, conspiracy theory, and the British–American special relationship.
The Iranian army (qoshun) experienced large-scale upheavals during the Qajar period. But, in spite and because of both internal contradictions and outside pressures that were causing this turmoil, the military also saw some major steps toward reorganisation. New technological and organisational methods discovered in Europe were applied to the military by men such as Abbas Mirza Nayeb al-Saltaneh and his deputy Mirza Abu al-Qasem Qa'em Maqam. One of their many innovations was the introduction of military teachers from Europe and the establishment of the Dar al-Fonun and the translation of military manuals and textbooks from European languages into Persian. This paper is the first systematic study of these military manuals. These texts consist of over 50 manuscripts and three printed books amongst which are seventeen volumes of translations and seventeen volumes written in Persian.
This paper is based on the author's large collection of bumper stickers gathered before the 1979 revolution and catalogued on the basis of subject matter, date, and the documentation of the type of the vehicle and the message. Writings on textile, tools, utensils, saddles, calligraphers and luxury decorative items all indicate the richness of this tradition of enquiry. The interest in bumper stickers as a mode of communication with an unknown audience began soon after the introduction of automobiles to Iran. Bumper stickers, although in a way the continuation of a tradition, generated a larger audience, as messages to a larger public. The signs were continuously on the move and on public display. At first, bumper stickers were used by lorry and bus drivers travelling between cities. Then, taxis and vans joined the trend. Now, private cars carry stickers as well. After the Iranian revolution, interest in bumper stickers became intensified. It developed a complex pattern of hidden meanings. At the same time, the advice and sloganeering of it became more pronounced. In the 1920s, the stickers recited melancholic and painful emotional experiences. At the later stage, stickers sought to advise the public. Presently, socio-political and religious dimensions, as well as, witticism have augmented the subject matters of the past.
Boston University, USA
Today, at least a quarter of the nearly 67 million population of Iran are Turkish speakers. At least two thirds of this population lives in the three northwestern provinces of Iran, East and West Azarbaijan, the recently created province of Ardabil, and in and around the cities of Zanjan, Qazvin, Karaj and Tehran. Generally the people in these areas refer to themselves as Turks. This paper explores from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective the relationship of the Azeri-Turkish speaking and the Persian-speaking Iranians in everyday spheres of social life in the present. The objective is a fine-grained examination of this minority-majority encounter and what underlies the construction of Turkish, Azeris or Azarbaijani identity in Iran. It is argued that the nature and quality of their interactions has an important bearing on how a minority population formulates a sense of identity, and based on it behaves socially, politically, and nationally. The dynamics of identity construction is probed with reference to cultural sensibilities including language, religion, marriage patterns, local cuisine, music, and in particular boundary crossing which gives reality and meaning to the historical affinity and ethno-national covenant.
New York University, USA
This paper is a critical study of scholarly studies and translations published in Iran in the past few years. The study analyses these books and their attitudes towards facts and ideology in the hopes of evaluating the quality and nature of scholarship among the Persian-speaking community. In recent years it has become an accepted practice in Iran for translators to insert comments regarding the facts of translated text as footnotes, or to assert a right to change the text according to what they see fit to be published. This problem is especially egregious in the case of books dealing with religious minorities. Two examples are the translations of the Travelogue of Pietro della Valle and Esther's Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews. The translators in both cases have either omitted text or inserted footnotes making comments as to the accuracy of the facts without giving sources. Other books that will be examined are Vaqaye'-e ettefaqiyyeh by Saidi-Sirjani and a book on Amir Kabir by Hashemi Rafsanjani. The paper will consider the publishers' motives in this process and will look into whether or not these attitudes are sanctioned or encouraged by the Iranian government.
In 1833 a mission from the Presbyterian Church in America was sent to Iran. Gradually the missionaries developed and expanded their activities in Iran, establishing clinics, hospitals and schools in different cities. One of their aims was to educate Iranian women and raise the awareness of their rights, equality and responsibilities in society through establishing a girls school with a modern education system. In 1914 some of the graduated students of this school established a society based on the alumnae of the school to continue their activities and relation with the American mission. In September 1920, this society established a journal called Alam-e Nesvan (Women's World) as the fifth Persian periodical of women. Despite the short life of most women periodicals in Iran, Alam-e Nesvan lasted for 13 years; therefore it can be very useful for looking at the trends of women situation in 1920s and 1930s through the contents of that. Furthermore studying this journal's articles and related documents about that in different archives can lead us to some cultural policies of Presbyterian Church in Iran and its continuation. This paper will first briefly deal with the mission, its girls school and its activities. It will then try to examine the Alam-e Nesvan journals, its founders and editorial team as well as summarising and analysing the contents of articles. The last point in the paper will be the impact and effects of Presbyterian Church mission activities as well as Alam-e Nesvan journal on women movement in Iran.
Hadi Salehi Esfahani
University of Illinois, USA
This paper examines the causes of the rise and decline of economic growth in Iran during the last two decades of monarchy from a political economy perspective. It argues that the rise of economic growth in the 1950s (especially after 1963) was to a large extent due to the high degree of power concentration in the country. The political developments in the 1950s and early 1960s allowed the Shah to take the role of a powerful coordinator who could bring about discipline in major economic policies and address the country's grave economic problems. Those problems had remained unsolved beforehand because Iran's political system lacked effective institutional mechanisms to coordinate its diverse and highly fragmented polity. Lack of coordination had meant that every interest group had focused on grabbing more resources for itself, ignoring crucial policies needed for collective good such as education and infrastructure. An important ingredient of the Shah's system that contributed to its success in the 1950s and 1960s was the recruitment and engagement of capable technocrats in the design and implementation of economic policies. However, that system fell victim to its own tremendous achievements: The highly capable technocrats became a potential threat to the Shah's power and he had to keep them at bay. As a result, he increasingly replaced the outstanding technocrats of his regime with more pliable and obedient servants. The Shah's decision to go against the imperatives of continued growth was bound to lead to economic and political crises before long. The paper makes its case for the above claims using an analytical narrative methodology. For information on policy and institutional dynamics in pre-revolutionary Iran, the paper heavily relies on the memoirs and oral history interviews of prominent Iranian figures and policymakers, in particular the Iranian Oral History Collection at Harvard University (e.g., memoirs of Abolhasan Ebtehaj and the IOHC interview with Khodadad Farmanfarmaian). The paper also brings together analyses and results from a variety of books and articles published on politics, economy, and institution-building in Iran after Second World War.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
Iran experienced its first and most impressive period of rapid economic growth in the 1960s, well before the oil boom that started in 1974. Although in subsequent years growth rates nearly doubled thanks to much higher oil prices, the earlier period is of greater interest precisely because it seemed less dependent on rising oil revenues. What lessons can we learn from that experience? This question is of interest not only because of interest in clearing up a puzzle in Iran recent economic history, but because of interest in reducing dependence of the economy on oil sometime in the future. A better understanding of Iran's only successful growth experience before oil dominated the economy is surely helpful. This paper focuses on the role of households and uses new developments in growth theory that emphasise the role of demographic factors in economic growth.
London School of Economics, UK
The accumulation of physical and human capital only partially explains the variation in per capita income and growth rate across countries. More than half of the cross-country variation in per capita income arises from differences in total factor productivity -- even after accounting for investment in R andD, learning-by-doing, and externalities. Empirical literature on economic growth suggests that the cross-country variation in total factor productivity, and hence growth, is partly due to a missing cause. This paper argues that the missing cause is the society's institutional structure. The paper begins with a brief assessment of new classical economics which conceive of the economy as a collection of few sectors, each being populated by identical decision makers who interact with each other through equilibrium prices. Such a concept of the economy leaves very little room for many basic macroeconomic phenomena, including underdevelopment and stagnation. An explanation of these phenomena calls for modelling the economy as a society of heterogeneous individuals, who directly interact with each other through non-market media. Using the stag hunt production game theory, the paper explains how in such economies, there always arise multiple Nash equilibria, which can be Pareto-ranked. The existence of multiple equilibria means economies with similar amounts of capital inputs; labour and other production factors can produce quite different levels of output. Inefficient equilibria represent coordination failures, and thus underdevelopment. The occurrence of a particular equilibrium critically depends on the society's institutional structure, which determines the coordination level in the economy. The key to sway the economy from an inefficient Pareto equilibrium to an efficient equilibrium is therefore to alter the society's institutional structure. Unlike natural laws, production functions are not simply technological functions; they are determined by the economy's institutional structure. The paper next explores the types of institutions that ensure the occurrence of an optimal equilibrium. Using the theoretical framework, it next explains how key development issues in countries rich in natural resources, such as Iran, should be understood as coordination failures, and points to institutional changes necessary for turning the failures into successes. Specifically, the paper looks at the reasons for the limited ability of the firms in Iran to mobilise the capital of the society at large in high-risk high-return industrial ventures (a coordination failure) -- so critical to growth -- and the role that the state or banks can play as coordinators of industrial investment.
Abbas William Samii
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, USA
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad earned 62 percent of the votes (17,248,782 votes to 10,046,701 for his opponent) when elected in June 2005, and although this was less than 37 percent of the total electorate (46,786,418), it nevertheless represented a mandate. Coming after domination of municipal council elections in 2003 and parliamentary races in 2004 by a second generation of conservative Iran-Iraq War veterans, furthermore, Ahmadinejad's victory symbolised a seemingly unstoppable political juggernaut. Yet within weeks of his inauguration, the legislature demonstrated that it would not be a rubberstamp by rejecting four of Ahmadinejad's cabinet nominees. In the following months, the legislature expressed its dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad's provincial appointments and his annual budget. Ahmadinejad's international political efforts also earned a great deal of criticism. Where does the president stand now (August 2006), one year after his inauguration? Has he overcome the initial difficulties of a newcomer to national and international state-craft, or will he continue to encounter resistance from the older generation of conservatives and from the reformist movement?
Towson University, USA
The main goal of this article is to present some geometric constructions that have been performed on the sphere by a medieval Persian mathematician Abu al-Vafa as is documented in his treatise On Those Parts of Geometry Needed by Craftsmen. These constructions, which have been illustrated as flat images, could be considered the bases of the arts and designs that artists and artisans have created on both the exterior and interior surfaces of a dome. Therefore, such a dome art design is a result of cooperation between mathematicians and artists. This article also shows that the construction of the icosahedrons on a sphere presented in that treatise is not mathematically correct. However, the construction of the spherical dodecahedron is exact. The article also presents flat images of constructions of some Archimedean solids according to the treatise.
Ahmad Naser Sarmast
Monash University, Australia
This paper examines the definition and appropriateness of the term Musiqi-ye Khorasani, which is used in local contemporary Afghan writings that investigate the art music of the area known today as Afghanistan, especially in the pre-Islamic era and subsequently in the Islamic Middle Ages. Discussing the term Musiqi-ye Khorasani in light of several musical treatises in Dari/Persian, which are considered by Afghan intellectual and cultural figures as the main sources on theoretical and practical aspects of Musiqi-ye Khorasani, this paper establishes that contemporary Afghan scholars use the concept Musiqi-ye Khorasani as an equivalent of the concept 'Persian music' as used in the West, or 'Iranian music' as used in Iran, and a few other terms used in Russian sources on the musical culture of Central Asia. This paper argues that the term Musiqi-ye Khorasani is used in Afghanistan to identify a musical culture claimed simultaneously by contemporary countries of the region, including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as their musical heritage. Several reasons are given which might have inspired Afghan intellectuals to use the concept Musiqi-ye Khorasani instead of 'Persian' or 'Iranian' music. The positive and negative aspects of each of these adjectives in studying the music history of this region will be considered. The paper argues that the term Musiqi-ye Khorasani is a natural term and is more historically appropriate for describing the art music of Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran than 'Iranian' or 'Persian' music. This argument acknowledges the contribution of many peoples and nations of the region in the formation and development of an identifiable musical culture shared by a few countries, which were part of the historical region of greater Khorasan.
In this paper, I look at the presence of women on the Iranian movie screen. Cognisant of the fact that from its birth, Iranian cinema saw the participation of women in all aspects of production, in this talk, I will concentrate on women as actors in four periods of Iranian cinema: 1) the introduction of cinema; 2) the development and domination of Film-e Farsi up to 1969; 3) the 1970s as years of change; and 4) post-revolutionary cinema.
American University in Cairo, Egypt
Seyyed Hossein Nasr is undoubtedly one of the most internationally influential Iranian thinkers of the current period. Nasr's thought has two main sources. One of them is the Iranian hikma tradition. The other is Guenonian Traditionalism, a Western philosophy which he learned principally from a Swiss writer and religious leader, Frithjof Schuon. The paper will argue that, of these two sources, it is Western Traditionalism that is most important for Nasr, the Iranian tradition that is most important for his influence. Since the revolution, Nasr has followed a successful academic career in the United States. He is most influential, however, as a writer, a spokesperson for Islam in the media, and as the sheikh of a Sufi tariqa. His writings have been translated into many languages, and have inspired other writers; his media performances are generally admired; and his tariqa, though little known, is followed mainly by Western intellectuals who are often themselves influential. Nasr, however, is only one of a number of Guenonian Traditionalists in the West. Many others have also written books and communicated through the media, and others have also led tariqas. None of these others have really achieved Nasr's status or influence. The paper argues that this is because these other Traditionalists lack Nasr's knowledge of a tradition comparable to the Iranian hikma tradition, and also lack Nasr's personal qualities as a writer and lecturer. Despite this, it is not Iranian hikma but Traditionalism that explains Nasr's career. It was Traditionalism that diverted the young Nasr from the natural sciences to religion and philosophy. It was Traditionalism that gave rise to the Sufi tariqa which subsequently divided into a number of sections, the most important of which Nasr now leads. It is Traditionalism that bridges the gap between the modern western environment in which Nasr operates so successfully and the premodern (or at least non-modern) hikma that Nasr espouses. The paper is based on Nasr's writings, on a number of interviews, and on other research on Traditionalism.
Portland State University, USA
In adopting the Minimalist programme of Chomsky (1995-2004) this paper
studies interesting constructions that have been introduced as
Impersonal/Subject-less in Persian literature (Thacktson 1983, Karimi 1990,
2005, and Ghomeshi 1996, among others). Similar to psychological constructions
(Beletti and Rizzi 1988) these constructions always denote a
physiological/mental state to an experiencer. The experiencer DP in the sentence initial/subject position man is a 1stsingular
pronoun. It does not induce agreement on the verb which appears with 3rd
singular/default morphology. This situation seems like a violation of
subject-predicate agreement in Persian and that is why these constructions have
been named 'Impersonal' in the literature. Although the sentence initial
experiencer man (I) is optional, it
is always co-referential with a clitic pronoun (-am) attached to what is believed to be the non-verbal constituent
of a compound verb. The analysis provides syntactic evidence to show that the
constructions under investigation do not involve compound verbs. Following
Dabir Moghaddam (1997), the study argues that the lack of verbal agreement is
only apparent and that the psychological state is the actual subject of the
sentence. By nature, this element induces 3rd singular agreement on the verb.
It is proposed that the constructions under investigation have a Tense requirement and bring new
implications for the Phase Theory of Chomsky (2001-2004).
Imam Sadeq University, Iran
On July 1, 2005 Dr Ahmadinejad surprised the world by winning the ninth presidency in an upset victory in which most analysts had predicted a victory for Hashemi-Rafsanjani. The real surprise, however, came in the first round of the elections in which Ahmadinejad managed to score second and hence challenge Rafsanjani in the second round. Notwithstanding allegations about irregularities and organised vote directing by the Basij forces and other semi-official organs of the Islamic Republic, Ahmadinejad's rise in the first round marked a definite shift in the Iranian electorate's perceptions about a desirable president. The image presented of the ex-mayor of Tehran in the broadcast media and in his simple style of campaigning was that of a man of the people who was bent on fighting entrenched corruption in the government and deliver fruits of economic prosperity to lower-income households. Although we are not sure if this image really stuck and convinced voters to opt for him, it is certain that many voters somehow came to believe that he deserved their votes. The question raised in this study is why many Iranians decided to vote for him in the first round or preferred him over the experienced and more liberal-sounding Hashemi-Rafsanjani in the second round? I conducted a series of qualitative interviews with a sample of voters in various strata of Iranian society who had voted for Ahmadinejad in the first or second round of the elections. The purpose of this study is to make sense of the subjective meaning of voting for this rather lesser figure who did not look 'presidential' even by Iranian standards. The interviews are semi-structured and an interview guide is provided to all interviewers. It is hoped that by conducting these interviews we will gain some insight into important aspects of the voting behaviour of the Iranian electorate.
Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
This paper is about Mahmud Kharazmi, known as Puriya-ye Vali, a thirteen century champion-poet, who has almost remained un-noticed in Persian-speaking regions but currently is well-known in Uzbekistan, where people read his translated poetry in Uzbek and refer to him as the second Omar Khayyam or the Khayyam of Kharazm. He was born in 1249 in Organch, a place near Khiva, Uzbekistan. He was physically a big child and grew up to become a strong and powerful wrestler in Central Asia, India, and Iran and held the title of Pahlavan-e Paytakht (Champion of the Capital) for most of his life. He also was known for his generosity and philanthropy. His main profession was the furrier trade, making shoes, bags, and clothes from leather. However, this great, strong wrestler turned to poetry in his old age. It is said that when his physical strength deteriorated, he inclined to mysticism and started to write poetry. There are many folk stories in Persian literature about his strength, manliness, and good-nature behaviour. However, only a handful of literati are aware of his poetry. His literary work was accidentally discovered in late 1950s in Kharazm by Uzbek scholar To'xtacin Jalolov. Mahmud has written a masnavi in Persian called Kanz al-haqayeq, which is the only work attributed to him in Loghatnameh-ye Dehkhoda and Reyhanat al-adab, but there is no mention of his quatrains. However, Uzbeks, nowadays, regard him as an oliya' (a friend of God and a poet), whose quatrains not only compete with Khayyam's, but also contain his philosophy and thinking.
University of Haifa, Israel
Babis and Baha'is were harshly persecuted under the Qajars. Yet, in 1898 Mozaffar al-Din Shah officially permitted them to open schools in Iran. Under Reza Shah Pahlavi their fate improved, but in 1934 the Pahlavi state ordered the closure of the Baha'i schools. This paper aims at explaining these contrasts: permitting Baha'is to open schools when they were severely persecuted, and closing them when they were better off, with the hypothesis being that in both cases, the state was following a realistic policy, aimed at serving its immediate interests. In the period between these two events, the Baha'i community managed to establish some 45 schools and six kindergartens which served not only Baha'is but Muslims and others as well. By providing data on those schools, the paper will try to examine their contribution to the modernisation of Iran, in general, and its educational system in particular.
University of Oxford, UK
The notion of temporary marriage is both intriguing and positively uncharacteristic. In view of the fear and condemnation of zena (fornication or adultery), it is difficult to appreciate that Shiite Islam is willing to legislate for apparently free sexual relations. Moreover, the very existence of an institution enabling sexual relations outside of the celebrated structure of permanent marriage underlines the importance attributed to sexual relations in Islam and Islam's perception of social realities. Nonetheless, the strongest rein on temporary marriage is the powerful stigma it bears, one that makes even personal discussion of the issues -- let alone studying it and inviting people to record their personal experiences and feelings -- an undesirable act. The pivotal problem concerning the institution of temporary marriage today is the social stigmatisation of a legal and religiously acceptable institution to the point of dissimulating its existence. However, the structure offered by temporary marriage is also one that answers growing social problems that often find their roots in frustrated sexuality. Today, many lawyers, sociologists and clerics advocate the use of temporary marriage as a solution for social ills. This paper examines the role of temporary marriage as a sexual loophole. The marginalised position temporary marriage has occupied in the social sphere has given birth to a most interesting development in the use of the institution, especially amongst the youth. Indeed, temporary marriage is being resorted to as a means of legalising free sexual relations. Through their very actions, Iranians are increasingly questioning social codes and the very existence of a structure governing a personal aspect of life.
Tehran University, Iran
During the First World War, Iran became a major arena of competition between many countries: Russia and Britain on one hand and Germany and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The Iranian state, under the influence of all these forces, experienced varying and competing policies internally and the press of the period reflected these multiple ideological and political tendencies. For example, newspapers such as Ra'd, Asr-e Jadid and Ershad were supporters of the Allied Forces. Asr-e Jadid in supporting the Russian and English presence in Iran took a firm stand against the role of religion in politics which signified the support of the Muslim Ottoman. On the other side, journals such as Asr-e Enqelab, Now Bahar Showra and Bamdad-e Rowshan supported the Ottomans and considered the First World War as a war between Islam and kufr. This paper is a study of the aforementioned periodicals and an analysis of the way they participated in this internal struggle. The struggles between these newspapers caused the changing of sixteen cabinets during the period of the war. The paper is an analysis of the nexus of power and politics between public opinion, media and Iran's foreign policy during First World War.
The present paper concerns one of the earliest truly Islamic tales of Ali's prowess, evidently produced under Shiite influence and patronage: it is part of a small-sized Turkmen manuscript in the British Library, B.L. Or. 8755, dated 867/1462-3. The manuscript, containing 111 folios, written in a workaday nasta'liq hand, contains three romances, with two double-page and seventeen single-page miniatures. The Qesseh-ye Shir o Div (fols. 3b-16a), is the first text. It is a masnavi poem about the exploits of Ali, attributing mythical strength to its hero, as manifested in his combat with lions and divs. The second text (fols. 16b-22a), is the Qesseh-ye Esmail, a poem telling of Ebrahim and Esmail. The last text, which is also the longest (fols. 22b-108a), is Amir Ahmad o Mahsati, a prose romance about Amir Ahmad, the son of a pious khatib of Ganjeh, and the poetess Mahsati. The frame-story of the Qesseh-ye Shir o Div tells about the mission of Ali, considered best of all heroes, to journey with four companions from Medina to a far-off land in Syria in order to rescue its king and his subjects from the menace of troublesome lions that have plagued the realm and terrorised its people. After the mission is successfully accomplished, the Syrian king and his people convert to Islam and the victorious Ali returns to the Prophet in Medina. This narrative is interspersed however with sub-plot stories about Ali's encounters with divs on his way to Syria. He wages repeated battles against them, which he wins, culminating in single-battle with the king of the divs, whom he dispatches. After performing these feats, and slaying the divs' king and his son, Ali agrees to let the survivors live in return for a profession of faith. The whole story, in a sense reminiscent of that of Rostam in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, is thus a wholly fictitious narrative about the hero as rescuer of a people, and about his unceasing fight against the dark forces of evil, here represented by divs and lions. At the same time, it is also a purely Islamic heroic narrative, a kind of religiously oriented imitation of the literary model, transcending the latter by the emphasis on Ali's religious values and his role as propagator of the Islamic faith. Thus, unlike that of Rostam, Ali's is a religious mission initiated by Muhammad, and its ultimate goal is to convert to Islam all manner of infidels encountered by the hero. The story also shows that Ali acts as the lion of God; he is the chosen one, the instrument of divine will by means of which evil is undone and punished – in his invulnerability he no longer reflects real human experience, nor is he a mighty warrior like Rostam, defeating his enemies and gaining his ends by his own personal prowess. This Islamic heroic narrative, then, has in effect transformed and adapted for specifically religious purposes the literary imagery and iconography of the Shahnameh hero, Rostam, who is not explicitly religious in origin. The artists illustrating the narrative followed suit, using more or less stock images and visual quotations from the Shahnameh, with details drawn from a limited number of visual topoi. The striking textual images of Ali performing feats of daring against divs and lions are nonetheless illustrated in our Turkmen manuscript by only two miniatures, rather poorly executed, with simple compositions and relatively concise spatial arrangement. They perhaps indicate the relatively low social standing of the patron who could not afford to engage better painters, let alone commission more paintings to illustrate a text so rich in adventures. As I shall try to show, these apparently unsatisfactory elements were probably intentional, meant to deliver the message as straightforwardly as possible without distracting the reader/viewer from the religious-spiritual core. The display of a wide range of heroic feats in colourful, sanguinary scenes would indeed seem superfluous in the context of a spiritual message. A significant factor supporting my argument is the literary context of the entire manuscript in which this illustrated heroic narrative appears.
Boston University, USA
The Mughal court's lavish patronage of the arts attracted many Safavid poets and men of learning to India, who made the country their temporary or permanent home depending on their reception there. In addition to the patronage extended by rulers and nobles to Persian poets, Mughal princesses were also actively involved in the literary scene of their time. Princess Jahanara, daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan, and her niece Princess Zebunnisa, daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb, were patrons of the emigre Iranian poets Kalim and Ashraf respectively. There is an element of friendship in these literary associations, although sometimes there were scandals about their sexual liaisons that persist in the histories until our times. In a more unusual case, the young Iranian poet Orfi's attachment to his patron, prince Salim (later Emperor Jahangir), was interpreted by some as more than merely professional. This paper would like to explore the power dynamics and sexual implications of these three poet-patron relationships in the context of a literary culture that thrived on gossip and the larger Iranian-Indian rivalry at the Mughal court.
M Rahim Shayegan
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
In the spring of 130 BCE, Antiochos VII Sidetes, the last enterprising king of the moribund Seleucid empire, embarked, from his basis in Syria, upon a most ambitious campaign of conquest aimed at Mesopotamia and western Iran. The king's anabasis directed against the rising Arsacid empire was halted, Sidetes slain, his army devastated, and his retinue made captive. Among the prominent commanders, who, according to the Babylonian Astronomical Diaries, were instrumental in the Arsacid counter-offensive against Sidetes, was a certain Indupane (<*Hindub˝n(ag)?). Although his name is otherwise unknown, he may be associated with Indates, the Parthian strategos, who was initially defeated by Sidetes in one of the three battles he successfully led against Arsacid commanders. Another reflex of Indupane's existence may be found in a passage by Hamzeh Isfahani, who, citing the names of satraps and margraves who had ruled in the name of Iranian kings in the Gulf region, including the Characene (Mesene), mentions a certain Sindad in conjunction with yet another magnate by the name of Saxt. Based upon the trajectory of these two Iranian satraps, one (Indupane) being an Arsacid, and the other (Saxt)being a Persian appointee, during the late Hellenistic period in western Iran, we shall not only have a glance at the early Arsacid policy in the Persian Gulf region (the Characene) and Persis, but also, more importantly, show that already in the first half of the second century BCE (between 190/189 and 164), Persis, having seceded from its Seleucid overlord, had grown mighty enough to appoint her own governor over the Characene, that is, Saxt. Despite a short-lived setback under Antiochos IV Epiphanes, who, in 164 BCE, reconstituted the unity of the Seleucid empire, Persis, as the truth of her political autonomy and the appointment of Saxt over adjacent regions demonstrate, was well on its way to grow into a regional power, and possibly strive for hegemony in Iran, over a century following the fall the Achaemenid empire. It might have succeeded, had it not been for the rise of another Iranian upstart, the Arsacid dynasty, thus, for the time being, it had to bide its time for several more centuries to come.
University of Alberta, Canada
This presentation will explore the connection of contemporary Iranian Art Cinema with the traditions of Persian Poetry to study the innovative results in the realm of international cinema. My methodological scheme benefits from an aesthetic/poetic model to demonstrate how poetic cinema maintained old conventions of ghazal poetry as well modern Persian poetry. I will draw on Abbas Kiarostami's films as a means of illustrating my argument about employing poetic conventions in new Iranian cinema through his use of literary traditions inherited from Iranian culture and literature. Each ghazal of Hafez does not merely introduce one theme. On the contrary, we see several themes each presented in the shape of verses. In a similar way, in a film such as Life and Then Nothing Kiarostami initiates a non-narrative style in which more than one theme is presented. Like a ghazal structure, Kiarostami's cinema is influenced by an Eastern/Iranian tradition of non-linear narrative where the ideas are represented in a spatial manner as opposed to a more common narrative/syntagmatic style of filmmaking. By using poetic traditions borrowed from new Persian poetry, specifically found in the poetry of the late Sohrab Sepehri, Kiarostami has succeeded to elevate a symbolic atmosphere in Iranian cinema. Like Sepehri's poetry, Kiarostami's films evade political issues to embrace simple but poetic moments and lyricism in the lives of individuals who are surviving in a harsh environment. In his film style with minimal plots, location becomes a more crucial element, where different techniques in filmmaking such as lighting, colour, composition, music, sound, camera angel, and camera movement convey meaning. The aim of my analysis is to illuminate the link between Kiarostami's filmmaking and classical and modern Persian poetry to conclude that the realistic yet symbolical approach to his films constructs a poetic, non-linear, and plural version of reality. His filmmaking is now internationally acclaimed. Kiarostami's innovative cinema benefited from the traditions of Persian poetry to establish a new approach in the realm of kinetic aesthetics.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Sadeq Hedayat's The Blind Owl, the first modernist novel to appear in Iran, has too often been read unilaterally as a work of 'psycho-fiction' concerned purely with the representation of interiority and abstract issues of existential angst. This paper offers a new reading of this text, arguing that its nostalgic mode of representation enacts a negotiation between the existential and the historical, the psychological and the political dimensions of social life in modern Iran. Through a surrealist narrative that seems to unfold in a temporal void, Hedayat interweaves public and private time, subverting the cultural ethos and nationalist ideologies of his time, and transforming the text itself into an emblem of a unique historical moment of social and political collapse, a requiem for a dysfunctional national 'home'. Drawing on the philosopher Paul Ricoeur's elaboration of temporality and its relation to narrative, the paper argues that Hedayat's nostalgia, a key feature of his modernist aesthetic and one that defines his nationalistic writings as well, presents a symptomatic response to the political situation in Iran in the aftermath of the failed constitutional revolution: a response that not only reveals the metaphysical burden of modern identity as it carries the weight of a collective past, but also enables the writer to renegotiate his relationship to the nation and its history.
Trinity University, USA
One of the influential theoreticians of and spokespersons for the authoritarian forces in Iran is Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi Mesbah Yazdi. According to reformist intellectuals, Mesbah Yazdi is a theoretician not only of authoritarianism but (and more accurately) of totalitarianism, providing a discourse that legitimises extremism and violence. Some are worried that with the victory of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections of 2005, Mesbah Yazdi, who is the new president's religious mentor, might gain an even larger influence on policies. Mesbah Yazdi's writings are quite extensive and encompass not only political theory, but epistemology, ontology, and ethics. This study is an attempt to bring together all the facets of Mesbah Yazdi's writings in the hope of a better understanding the ideological bases that inform the actions of some of the current powerful forces in Iran. For the most part, this study is a content analysis of Mesbah-Yazdi's writings. It starts with an interpretation of his views, on concepts such as knowledge and its source, human nature, individual freedom, law making, ownership of property, and state and government, and continues with an investigation of how his broad worldview ties in with his concrete stand on contemporary issues in Iranian politics.
Mohd Asif Naim Siddiqi
Aligarh Muslim University, India
It is very difficult to trace the exact date of the penetration of Rumi's influence on the mystical ethos of the Indian subcontinent. References to Rumi in the letters of Sharf-Uddin Yahya Maneri (1263-1351) and the Masnavi of Bu Ali Qalander of Panipat (d. 1327) indicating the influence of Rumi provide evidence to the fact that Rumi was not unknown and unfamiliar in the Indian subcontinent in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, though he could not gain much veneration on account of the powerful Chishtian and Naqshbandi orders which did not have much affinity with the Rumi order of Sufism. Rumi during the period of Great Mughals (1525 AD-1707AD)again does not appear with great eclat on the Indian arena of mysticism. Only towards the last days of Aurangzeb and in the eighteenth and post-eighteenth centuries with the decline of the Great Mughals, Rumi suddenly gains veneration and popularity in India, not amongst Sufis only but also amongst the scholars of Sufi philosophy. This paper, after introducing different commentaries on the Masnavi available in MA Library at the Aligarh Muslim University, aims at presenting a critical evaluation of some of the verses of the fourth volume of the commentary of Molvi Wali Mohammad Akbarabadi.
New Jersey City University, USA
The intervention of foreign powers in Iran has been a central feature of Iran's life, particularly since theQajar era. This paper explores how Kasravi, a leading Iranian thinker widely considered a prominent exponent of Iranian nationalism, viewed this problem. We have found that Kasravi's historical writings generally followed the pattern of Iranian national thought, albeit without the chronic paranoia so common in so much of nationalism in general and Iranian nationalism in particular. We can see a positive reaction in Kasravi's writings during the Reza Shah period to the rise of fascism in Europe. This is visible first in his writing on Seyyed Zia (to be found only in Arabic in his writings in al-'Irfan) and then in much of his writings in Peyman, which followed a generally pro-Axis policy in its international coverage. It must be said, however, that Kasravi was unalterably opposed to any form of racism. He openly ridiculed the cult of Zoroastrianism and the Arab-baiting promoted under Reza Shah. Indeed, he generally held that Iranians were not of pure racial stock. With the Allied occupation of Iran, Kasravi quickly turned to saluting the Allied governments. He ridiculed the nationalist agitation against the occupation, calling for an accommodation to it as a simply fact of life. An interest in socialism first appears at this point, as well as a stronger support for democratic values. This paper is based on Kasravi's histories and his writings in his journals, Peyman and Parcham.
York University, Toronto, Canada
Taking as an example Sadeq Hedayat's famous novel The Blind Owl (pub. 1937), this paper will consider the utilisation of myth for the grounding of Modernity (arguably a transnational phenomenon) into the specific cultural milieu of twentieth-century Iran. It will examine the novel's bipartite universe -- along with its protagonists and their Doppelgaengers ('doubles' or 'familial spirits') -- against the inherent dualistic worldview of Iranian mythology. It will explore also Hedayat's debt to mythology in constructing a paradigm of death and rebirth, embedded in this allegorical manifesto of cultural reform. Focusing briefly on the shared ground between Iranian and Greek mythology in some of the images and allusions of the novel, it will advance a hypothesis regarding the significance of such ambiguities for Hedayat's reformist agenda.
Jagiellonian University, Poland
H. Golshiri in his article Chashm-andazha-ye dastan-e mo'aser-e Iran looking for the canon of Irano-Islamic narrative tradition points to the seven principal techniques of narration. One of them, in his view, is a narrative holism of the Avesta, especially Gathas, the Quran and its interpretations. As Golshiri mentions the holistic narration is an alternative to the linear narration of the Torah that became the canon for European narrative tradition. Unfortunately Golshiri did not specify what he meant by the narrative holism neither in the above-mentioned article nor anywhere else, and his literary practice remains as the only reliable source of his understanding of this phenomenon. In this paper I will look for the traces of this kind of narrative in his novel Ayneha-ye dardar. Nevertheless accepting the rightness of Golshiri's intuition, I will try to get the holistic figure of narrative from the Buf-e Kur of Sadeq Hedayat. The next step will be the implementation of this figure on the Rud-e Ravi of Abu Torab Khosravi. Abu Torab Khosravi is one of the most creative and original novelists in today's Iran. He writes short stories as well as novels. Rud-e Ravi followed Asfar-e Kateban which was published two years before and raised the attention of many critics. Following the well-founded anthropological patterns of the mystical and/or Shiite Persian imagery, Abu Torab's narration very suggestively destroys the differentiations between death and life, between the virtual world of literature and so-called reality. The past, the present and the future occur in a kind of totality the holistic character of which can be figuratively described as a sphere. Rud-e Ravi depicts a fictional society located somewhere in Iran in a fairy region of Meftahiyeh close to the real India. Its rules are based on the sophisticated esoteric teachings and entire loyalty to the Superior Authority. In that land even sickness and disaster are considered as revelation of the gift coming from the Superior Authority's predecessor. The narrator-hero's consciousness of the creative potentiality of the word, the text and sex are interwoven with the problem of political power and authority.
At the sudden death of Shah Esmail II (r. 1576-78) – who had decimated the Safavid clan by killing one prince after another – he was succeeded by his blind brother Shah Mohammad Khodabandeh (r. 1578-88). With no other Safavid princes alive but a blind ruler and his two infant sons, Hamzeh Mirza (d.1586) and Abbas (the future ShahAbbas (r. 1588-1629), royal patronage vanished away. The resulting void, however, was quickly filled by the active patronage of the ambitious vizier, Mirza Salman (d. 1983), who not only controlled the administration but had extended his hegemony over the military. The study of works directly attributable to his patronage may show how instrumental he was in bringing the Mashhad style – developed under the patronage of Prince Ebrahim Soltan – to full maturity, and in paving the way for the patronage of the last of the great Safavid patrons of the sixteenth century, his son in-law, the crown prince Hamzeh Mirza.
Fatemeh Soudavar Farmanfarmaian
The search for a princely Georgian ancestor led to the discovery of age-old connections, which, through many vicissitudes, maintained an ongoing cultural and political interaction between Iran and Georgia. The fact that some Georgian princes should have sought assistance and refuge in Iran even after the notorious sack of Tiflis by Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar in 1795, at a time when the inexorable rise of Russia put a much weakened Iran at a disadvantage, may only be explained by cultural affinities, cultivated over two millenia, even during periods of doctrinal and political divergence, and so well integrated that in some cases their origins had been forgotten. This paper proposes to analyse the historical and cultural motivations that lay behind their desire to seek protection from what many western authors refer to as a 'hostile' Iran rather than look to a 'civilised' Russia, as other Georgian princes had begun to do. The emphasis here will not be on the details, for which time and space are lacking, but on continuity up to the middle of the nineteenth century when the influence of Europeanised Russia became preponderant.
Due to the paucity of material in a quasi-virginal field, this will be no more than a sweeping overview of little-known facts, sufficient nonetheless to unmask the inadequacies of the few western scholars who have devoted a book or two to Georgia. Based largely as they are on the biased writings of Russian scholars of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these books usually lack the nineteenth -century vision of someone like Brosset, the translator of the Georgian Chronicles who, having come to them through Armenian studies, was better equipped to gauge and understand the Persianate elements in Georgian society, culture and mores. Even when the links were evident, these later Western scholars have tended to ignore them, either because of prior prejudices or due to looking solely through the unifocal lens of later Russian scholars. We now have the added benefit of archaeological excavations and work done in the last decades by Georgian scholars of Persian on literary and linguistic links. The results thus obtained are evidence that the long arm of Persian culture was far from insignificant in Georgia, and this should induce scholars to delve deeper into a little explored field that may have a lot more to yield.
This paper takes a historical and contemporary look at conversion from Islam to Protestant Christianity by Iranians in Iran and the wider diaspora. It will start by presenting the ways in which Islamic and state laws, across historical periods, view the adoption of a new faith. It will then discuss the ways in which conversion can influence Iranian men and women's scope to engage in socio-economic, religious, and political realities both inside and outside of Iran. Particular consideration will be given to the impact and response to international missionary movements since the 1979 Revolution.
Maria E Subtelny
University of Toronto, Canada
The Iranian mythological motif of the cosmic mountain that encircles the world or that is situated at the edge of the world was incorporated into medieval Islamic cosmology and myth. Known as Mount Qaf in the Islamic tradition, it was portrayed as an inaccessible place, the abode of such fabulous creatures as the jinn and the Simurgh, and as the source of life. The motif of Mount Qaf as the boundary between the visible and invisible worlds was often utilised allegorically in medieval Persian mystical literature by such authors as Suhravardi and Attar to denote the realm of the spiritual imagination. The allusion to Mount Qaf also appears in some versions of the Islamic ascent narrative (me'rajnameh), in particular, those versions which contain the narreme about the Prophet Muhammad's visit to the Jews who are described as inhabitants of the cities of Jabalqa and Jabalsa located there. This paper will explore the mythological associations of Mount Qaf with the Jews by examining references to the 'Jewish' figure of Buluqiyya in the Islamic prophetic legends (qisas al-anbiya), as well as in Persian works of a cosmological and cabalistic nature, such as the thirteenth -century Persian miscellany, Daqa'iq al-Haqa'iq which contains a lengthy description of Mount Qaf and Buluqiyya's meeting there with one of the 'Children of Israel'. It is hoped that an analysis of this rather unexpected Jewish connection will help elucidate the enigmatic narreme about the Jews of Mount Qaf in the abovementioned versions of the Islamic ascent narrative.
Mosaddeq's views on constitutionalism in Iran are worthy of consideration for at least three reasons: he was the leader of the National Front, he was a participant-observer from the very first majles, and he was, arguably, Iran's foremost constitutional lawyer. As Iranian constitutionalism was a young and evolving experiment, Mosaddeq's conception of it could have been expected to change over time. This proved especially true when he assumed the responsibilities of governance as Prime Minister during the critical years of the nationalisation of Iran's oil. The challenge of dealing with the competing centres of powers would shape Mosaddeq's notion of what was practical under the existing constitutional monarchy in Iran. He had a unique opportunity to articulate his thoughts on this subject when forced to prepare for his trial a few months after his overthrow in August 1953. In Mosaddeq's arguments before the court, as this paper will attempt to show, he addressed the core issues of Iran's constitutionalism, comprising the roles of the monarch, the executive branch, representative assemblies, and direct channels for the exercise of popular sovereignty. What emerged as his prescription was a constitutional monarchy where the Shah would be a symbolic and ceremonial figure, the Prime Minister and his cabinet would be accountable to the majles, the majles would be the ultimate locus of power, and the electorate would be well informed through the free exchange of diverse opinions and actively vigilant to keep the legislators responsive.
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
It is difficult to talk about a unified and comprehensive official policy of historiography in current Iran. Different officials' approaches to Iranian historiography, as well as rapid changes of censorship regulations, have resulted in the lack of an all-agreed version of monitoring policies in the last 28 years. Nevertheless, irregularities and diversity of opinions amongst the policy makers did not prevent the censorship of those books deemed to be out of tune with official beliefs regarding Iranian history. Some observers of current Iranian history count the period between early 1994 to mid-1997, when Mostafa Mirsalim was the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance (CAIG), as one of the most difficult times for cultural productions (e.g., books, film and the press). When Mohammad Khatami won a landslide victory at the 1997 presidential election, his new Minister of CAIG, Ata'ollah Mohajerani, commissioned a group of researchers to extract and publish the remarks of controllers and dossiers of censorship of every book from a certain period of Mirsalim's time in office. This paper uses those official documents as first-hand materials and examines different policies, remarks, and concerns about censorship of books on historical subjects. The paper explores different official and unofficial policies. Of course, lack of regulation and direction always lead to individual controllers' tastes being carried out as the government order. The presentation will examine these points: 1) a brief background of the official historiography and censorship of historical books in the Pahlavi era (according to the official documents in the Iran National Archive); 2) the trends of censorship of historical books during the first 15 years of the Islamic Republic 1979- 1994; and 3) censorship of historical books during the Mirsalim era (limitations, concerns and red lines). Although this paper is concerned with the censorship of historical books in the mid-'90s, President Ahmadinejad's reintroduction of the political old guard into positions of power may be seen as a possible indication of the new government's intended direction regarding books, historical writings in particular.
Cultural Research Bureau, Iran
Several years ago I analysed the establishment of elected local government under the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1999 as a form of political decentralisation in a centralised, unitary state. The question posed in that study was whether this reform would lead to the consolidation or the transformation of the theocratic state. After almost seven years of experience (covering two electoral terms) it is possible to provide an assessment of the experience to date and to offer some provisional answers to the above question. In addition, this paper explores the implications of this experience for an understanding of the nature and evolution of the Iranian state system more broadly. This paper advances the following argument: while the genesis of or impetus to the establishment of the councils can be traced to the primarily political exigencies faced by Khatami reformists seeking to decentralise the power of key institutions of the government and the state, the structure or ongoing function of these decentralised institutions has been (paradoxically) to contribute to the increasing consolidation, centralisation and bureaucratizsation of the state as a whole. This helps explain the fact that once the national reform movement was finally defeated, the councils lost their initial promise, however weak, of being vessels of local democracy and have been transformed for the moment into a relatively de-politicised arms of the increasingly powerful state bureaucracy. The paper summarises the experience of the elected councils since their establishment focusing on the urban (as opposed to rural) municipalities. It addresses several questions such as: What do the municipalities do and are they effective? Has the new elected local institutions changed the way decisions are made and the manner in which power is distributed at the local level? How much democracy can decentralisation achieve in the context of the current form of the Iranian state?
Saeed Reza Talajooy
University of Leeds, UK
Bahram Beyza'i has always challenged cultural stereotypes and taboos by redefining intellectuality, femininity, identity, ethnicity and nationhood; and to achieve this, he has equipped himself with in-depth knowledge of Eastern, Western, and Iranian performing, visual, and mythical traditions. Addressing these themes in a country where systems of communication are distorted and intellectuality and feminine emancipation are words of anathema to the establishment requires special methods. Thus Beyza'i has also experimented with various forms that, utilising archetypal signs, symbols and images, touch the sub-conscious cords of Iranian consciousness.
According to Foucault, human beings use systems of production, signs, power, and self to balance their identities. Beyza'i targets all these systems to recommend new ways of being, comment on the loss of talent, knowledge, and energy in Iran, and represent women and intellectuals not as powerless puppets or 'westoxicated' others, but as questing or sacrificial heroes engaged in the cosmic battle of light and darkness. Thus his last play, The Congregation for the Simulation and Narration of the Sufferings of Professor Navid-e Makan and His Wife, Architect Rokhshid-e Farzin (2005), utilises the sacred terminology of ta'ziyeh to dramatise the sufferings of the couple engaged in a quest for cultural enlightenment. This, however, is not unprecedented. Mr Hekmati's ascent up the sloping alley in Rainstorm (1970) is a visual reminder of Christ carrying his cross toward Golgotha, and Pur-e Farrokhan, Mahak, and Khorzad's sufferings in The Thousand and First Night (2003), remind the audience of Siavosh and Husayn.
This paper surveys Beyza'i's achievement as an intellectual artist searching for authenticity and defines his perspective on the plight of Iranian intellectuals, who, confused by the mutually exclusive claims of globalisation, nationalism, nativism, and religious fundamentalism, try desperately to carve an identity for themselves.
Islamic Azad University, Iran
The main characteristic of Iran during the Arsacid period was the lack of political centralisation and the proliferation of provincial states. Two factors were responsible for this situation: first the invasion of Alexander and the break up of the strong central state of the Achaemenids, and second ithe accession to the Iranian throne of the Parthians who had kept their tribal ties and customs more than any other tribes in Iran. This phenomenon was referred to as parakandeh shahi and in later Arabic sources as muluk al-tawa'if and referred to as feudalism in Europe. The Arsacids' five centuries of control over Iran and their successful resistance to the Roman incursions proved the practical efficacy of this system until the accession of the Sasanids to the Iranian throne.
University of Toronto, Canada
This paper offers an historical exploration of the Islamic movement in Iran that has been hidden from scholarly view. Moving beyond the conventional accounts of Islamism as fundamentalist and as traditional, it sets itself the task of explaining how the politicisation of Islam was a belated response to an epistemological crisis that challenged the interrelated concepts of purity (taharat) and filth (nejasat), two fundamental categories of Islamic jurisprudence that regulated a myriad of everyday practices: eating, drinking, copulating, masturbating, menstruating, defecating, urinating, bathing and fasting, as well as praying. In a close historical analysis of the modern Shiite textual genre of Tawzih al-masa'il (Clarification of Problems) or Resaleh-ye amaliyeh (Practical Essays), the paper shows that the prevalence of waterborne epidemics in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Iran hastened the displacement of traditional notions of purity and filth with medicalised categories of cleanliness (nezafat) and dirtiness (kesafat) as proceduralised by an emerging medical and public health establishment and its personnel. Under the close scrutiny of an increasingly international public health regime, Iran, like the rest of the world, had to develop an infrastructure of municipal public healthcare, sewage systems and indoor plumbing, developments that challenged the established notions of pure water as defined by the Shiite mujtahids, who had, up to then, provided practical guidelines on the questions of everyday life. As the general public began to adopt medicalised conceptions of cleanliness and hygiene in their everyday lives, Muslim religious scholars aptly applied the notion of purity and filth to the body politic, which was 'contaminated' by the vestiges of Western materiality and immodesty: radio, cinema, and television. The application of purity and filth to the body politic invigorated Islam as a viable political agenda with powerful emotive contents. Thus as Islam was transformed into a modern political ideology against the impure Pahlavi state, religion became more powerful publicly but also less relevant to the regulation of bodily conduct in the private sphere. In an analysis of the interplay of the private and the public in post-revolutionary Iran, the paper argues that, ironically, the establishment of the Islamic Republic, rather than promoting spirituality, has hastened the secularisation of Iranian society, as was intended by the theorists of the 'Spiritual Revolution' in the 1920s.
Nafeh Monthly Megazine, Iran
The constitutional movement of the first decade of the twentieth century benefited from the active participation of many Iranian women. It failed, at the end of the day, to grant them rights and liberties. It did, however, afford spaces within which women's advocates could fight and achieve a modicum of rights. In the decades following the Constitutional revolution, women founded health clinics, public schools, and published newspapers. Beginning with an examination of the socio-political factors that contributed to the appearance of the very first journals and periodicals published by women, the study will treat the history of women's journalism in five distinct, albeit interrelated phases and shall explore the nature and significance of these publications starting with the constitutional movement. The paper will further establish that in spite severe hardships, the number of women involved with various aspects of journalism, including reporting and editorial supervision, as well as magazines devoted to women's issues have enjoyed constant growth. Within this journalistic landscape, a large body of feminist literature has also flourished; written mainly but not exclusively by women, and ferocious advocates of gender equality and women's rights. This feminist literature is also encouragingly, introspective, self-critical, and nuanced.
University of York, UK
This paper aims to unravel the theoretical and logical connection between the orthodox formulation of marriage and the role and place of woman in the Islamic order, in general, and the issue of domestic violence against women, in particular, in the context of Iranian society. This study attempts to clarify the link by employing a novel approach based on economic theory of contract. The application of economic theory of contract can shed light on the internal logic of the traditional formulation of marriage, how it determines the natural place of woman in society and how, in general, it generates economic, physical, sexual and psychological violence as logical implication of its internal structure. In this paper the role of orthodox jurisprudence in creating or justifying violence against women is investigated at three levels of institutional mechanism, discursive formation, and structure of power/knowledge in the context of a Foucauldian framework (Dianna Taylor and Karen Vintges, 2004). Based on this theoretical approach a qualitative study was conducted on three groups of women, men and judiciary officials. I will show how the Islamic marriage contract is organised around a critical transaction: an exchange of sexual submission (tamkin) for economic trinity (mehr = brideprice, nafaqeh = maintenance costs, and ojrat al-mesl = the wage earned by the wife for non-sexual work done in the household) and how this simple formulation creates a set of rights and obligations regarding headship of the family, divorce, custody, ... with its associated army of concepts such as mahramiyat (a woman should not be seen unveiled by strangers), the discourse of effat-gheyrat (chastity-bigotry), veiling (hejab), guardianship, and disobedience (nushuz) and how all of this complex system of command-and-control motivates or justifies violence against women, which turns into a source of perpetual tension in Iranian society.
Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Since A.K.S. Lambton, Claude Cahen, and a few others wrote their pioneering studies several decades ago on Great Saljuq rule in Iran (ca. 1040-1194), very little research has been done regarding the nature of Great Saljuq rule; major questions remain regarding, for example, the extent of state centralisation, and limits of the sultan's authority, and relations between the political and religious authorities in that era. This paper therefore proposes to examine a hitherto unexplored aspect of Saljuq rule in hope of shedding some light on this subject of the actual political power of the Saljuq sultan: gift-giving. Gift-giving for political purposes is an element common to all medieval societies -- indeed, all human societies of any historical period. Yet, while gift-giving itself is universal, its form and function are unique to the specific social, cultural, and political context in which the gift-giving occurs. This paper will therefore examine the political role of gift-giving in the Great Saljuq era in order to explore what the actual practice of political gift-giving in this period reveals about various aspects of Saljuq-era society and politics. Among the areas to be explored are what gift-giving in the Saljuq court reveals about actual Islamic political conceptions and ideals of the period (as opposed to Nezam al-Molk's political theories), about the relations and power balance between the sultan and his close supporters, the sultan and the military, the sultan and the religious leadership, and between the sultan and his wider circle of subjects.
Soheila Torabi Farsani
Islamic Azad University, Iran
Radical Islam has been active in Iran for at least the past sixty years. Its initiators were the Fada'iyan-e Eslam led by Navvab Safavi, a young clergyman who was active for a decade from 1945 to 1955 . Although the Fada'iyan were not able to put a distinguished mark on the Iranian political arena, they prepared the scene for the politicisation and radicalisation of Islam and the presence of political Islam, in a variety of forms and ways, in Iranian politics in the 60s and 70s, which ultimately led to the 1979 Islamic revolution. The ten-year existence of Fada'iyan can be divided into five different phases. 1) The assassination of Kasravi; 2) the first period of inactivity, which lasted from 1946 to 1949; 3) the period from 1949 to 1953, marked by the assassination of such personalities as Hazhir, Razmara and an unsuccssful attempt on the life of Dr Fatemi; 4) the second period of inactivity, beginning right after the 1953 coup; 5) the attempt on Prime Minister Ala in November 1955 which ended in the arrest and execution of Fada'iyan leaders. The emergence of this group was a direct reaction to the modernisation process propagated in the reign of Reza Shah. The Fada'iyan were radical idealists who claimed with an authority endowed upon them by high ranking clerics that they could assassinate whomever, to their opinion, was a heretic. Although the Fada'iyan as a group ceased to exist after the execution of their leaders, nevertheless, their ideology survived and has been manifested by brutal acts of self-appointed guardians of Islam who have time and again killed different categories of people, for allegedly deviating from the pure Islamic path.
University of Toronto, Canada
'Scriptural Reasoning' is a model of studying the scriptures of the three Abrahamic traditions. It disrupts dichotomising dialectics that in a Hegelian fashion encourage the mutual exclusion of polar opposites, or in a Kantian way seek a third elusive single mediative alterity, or simply replace them with some purported union of the two. 'Scriptural Reasoning' interrupts the dialectical logic of contraries, both modern secular universalism that tends simply to apply a priori its concepts to scriptural traditions, and the reactionary conceit of the traditional/religious antithetical view that defines itself in opposition to it. 'Scriptural Reasoning' seeks neither to dichotomise nor to unify, but to transform polar opposites into dialogical pairs. Although scriptural reasoning has made some inroads into the general discourse of Islamic studies, it is yet to be valued for its relevance to the field of Iranian studies. This paper discusses this relevance by particular reference to a Persian mystical text (scripture in the broadest sense), namely Jalal al-Din Rumi's Masnavi-ye Ma'navi. It will focus on the particular case of the dichotomy established by both modern and medieval commentators between the Masnavi's few bawdy tales and the bulk of its 'otherwise sublime' mystical passages. Through a dialectical logic of contraries, the accepted conventions of Persian mystical poetry have overlooked the esoteric significance of these apparently non-mystical passages. This paper will demonstrate how 'Scriptural Reasoning' can establish both the esoteric significance of these passages and the relevance of leading postmodern theories of gender, semiotics and psychoanalysis. It is hoped that the symbolic resources of Perso-Islamic mystical texts would contribute to 'Scriptural Reasoning''s aspiration of transforming modern reasoning into a redeemed modernity.
Soraya Tremayne Sheibani
University of Oxford, UK
Religious leaders in Iran have shown remarkable open-mindedness and flexibility towards embracing innovations in science and technology, including the use of modern reproductive technologies. New fatwas and laws are being decreed to legitimise the use of technology and to adapt to change within an Islamic framework. New reproductive technologies, especially infertility treatment, are among recent technologies flourishing in Iran which require Islamic interpretations to make their use possible. This paper examines the factors which determine the use of new reproductive technologies for infertile couples. It suggests that in this respect religion plays a predominant role and currently remains the ultimate authoritative source of reference. The interpretation of the divine law to use new procreative technologies is in turn driven and defined by the high demand for such technology (according to some statistics between 15 and 20 percent of couples are infertile in Iran). The race between re-interpreting the religious rules in order to keep pace with the technological innovations, the high demand for infertility treatment, and the ever-increasing range of options offered by new reproductive technologies, leads to situations whereby rapid decisions have to be made and the resourcefulness of all concerned in finding legitimate solutions often come to the rescue. The paper will then suggest that the emerging relationships and new forms of kinship resulting from the combination of the practices described above may give rise to new situations which could exceed the realm of religion alone and require other moral, ethical and legal frameworks as well as their Islamic interpretations. It is only when the 'new babies' come of age that problems arising from this lag might emerge. Data used in this paper is drawn from a larger study in Yazd, research in clinics and infertility centres in Tehran, interviews with donors and recipients of gamete, and with medical doctors, obstetricians and counsellors.
Vassar College, USA
In the last decade or so in Iran, there has emerged a new interest in humour and satire as well as stories of personal love in the general culture that seems to indicate a desire to overcome the deep melancholic mental state that has characterised the general mood of Iranians of different walks of life since the second half of the 20th century. This paper analyses some of significant nodes of modern Iranian culture as reflected in prose and poetry in 20th century and compares them to the work of Iraj Pezeshkzad. I choose Pezeshkzad because, as I hope to demonstrate, his work contains some of the most basic concerns and elements of Iranian modern culture, and yet displays certain features that stand in contrast to the overall somber trends that mark the production of literary culture in twentieth century Iran. This paper first attempts to present an interpretive understanding of the concept of modernity, to analyse Iran's cultural encounter with the modern world. It suggests that at the foundation of the modern world is a set of phenomena that can be described as 'human empowerment'. At the cultural level and generally speaking, human empowerment which has been achieved through the struggle against nature, the self and the other, entails a spirit of dour seriousness that is a part and parcel of the earlier phases of the modern culture. This phenomenon is very much present in Iranian literature, especially in the second half of 20th century, and I will analyse the literary production of some of most influential Iranian figures in prose and poetry in this period and compare the general trend of their works to that of Pezeshkzad to present a clearer picture of Iranian modern culture as reflected in these works.
University of Leeds, UK
The urbanidation process in Iran is attributed to political and economic factors, the modernisation programme initiated by Reza Shah (1925- 1941) and the land reform project in 1963 under the political rule of the second Pahlavi Shah (1941- 1979). The modernisation programme followed a dualistic approach to the country's development planning, neglecting the major sector of the economy, i.e., the agricultural sector, and involving heavy investment in selected industries and in urban infrastructure that demanded large numbers of unskilled labourers and resulted in heavy rural-urban migration in Iran. The process of Reza Shah's modernisation programme as well as the spread of the political influence of Western powers in Iran had negative impact in rural areas and reinforced the economic and political position of absentee landlords over the peasants. The increased political and economic domination of the landlords resulted in the arbitrary tax raising at the expense of the peasants, who were not protected by law and did not have any economic rights. Political influence of Western powers also brought a change in subsistence agricultural production and affected the self-sufficiency of many rural areas, particularly those in market-oriented areas where cash crops for export became main agricultural production. In the early 1960s, land reform was considered an essential component for the development of the country and modernising its backward agricultural sector. However, the implementation of land reform project in 1963 had more political objectives than economic ones. Through the reform, firstly, the political and economic power of the landed aristocracy against the Shah was being abolished, and secondly, peasants who were oppressed socially, politically and economically by the landlords would become a class allied to the Shah. However, in practice, the land reform stratified the homogeneous peasants into two classes of landed and landless peasants; the latter occupied the lowest level on the social ladder. This situation, instead of aligning the peasant class to the Shah, created a situation in which landless peasants felt hostility towards both the landed peasants and the central government. They had no job security in their villages, no right to get loans from agricultural banks, no life insurance from the central government and were reluctant to work for the new landed villagers and had no option than moving to the edge of the large cities and work as unskilled labourers mainly in construction sector. Some landed peasants, on the other hand, who found it difficult to cope with the high costs and low productivity of agricultural activities, also moved to the cities. This study of rural-urban migration to Tabriz also indicates the importance of these factors in the economic inequalities between rural and urban areas and the harsh poverty in rural areas, which affected heavy labour transfer from rural areas to the urban ones. Although the spatial movement led to the socio-economic liberation of some peasants, the majority of migrants still suffered from high degree of poverty.
University of Edinburgh, UK
The Eskandarnameh (Book of Alexander) belongs to the genre of Persian popular prose epic romances. In fact, it is the oldest example of the Alexander romance in Persian prose (early eleventh-fourteenth century). In the Eskandarnameh Alexander is the dhu'l-qarnayn ('the double-horned one') and has a Persian-Muslim profile, thus reflecting Persian popular medieval concepts. As a result of its popular character, the romance incorporates heterogeneous material, such as wars, love affairs and it is rich in Islamic lore. This paper analyses the issue of dating the early stages of the compilation of the narrative. So far, according to various scholars, such as M. T. Bahar, Z. Safa, A. Afshar and M. J. Mahjub, it has been suggested that the narrative was compiled sometime between the eleventh and the fourteenth century CE. In this paper it is suggested that, according to the historical and linguistic evidence attested in the narrative, theEskandarnamehwas probably compiled in the early eleventh century.
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the type of urban insertion of some Iranian religious minorities, based on a comparative study of Armenians in Isfahan, Jews in Shiraz and Zoroastrians in Yazd. In fact, these three communities have experienced in the past the same spatial isolation, living in distinct quarters, separated of the Shiite urban space. However this isolation was perceived very differently in the second half of the twentieth century by each community: while Jews viewed their quarter like a humiliating ghetto, of which they tried to get out, Armenians have ever been proud of it, and try up until now to jealously preserve their isolation. The Zoroastrians seem to be adopting a behaviour closer to that of the former than to that of the latter. I will present first the historical foundation and evolution of these different quarters, their organisation and the relationship binding the individual and the communitarian space in each case. Then I will examine the historical, political, sociological and religious reasons of their behavioural differences. This study wishes more broadly to offer a better understanding of the minority status in Iran, by analysing the mechanisms which lead the identity sentiment to pride or to shame, and its consequences on the type of integration of each minority in the majority society.
Universitaet Bern, Switzerland
For her fables, Mahshid Amirshahi draws from both Western and Eastern traditions, declaring Indian fables, Kalila wa Dimna, Aesop, and La Fontaine the traditions in which she sees herself. Her most immediate predecessor and inspiration, however, are the American twentieth-century author James Thurber's Fables for our Time (1939), whence she derived the title for her own collection. Fable has generally come to stand for a prose or verse narrative with didactic purposes and mainly animal protagonists, more often than not ending on a moral. Amirshahi remains faithful to the tradition in staging animals as characters in her fables and ending on a moral -- yet her morals are of a subversive kind. Just as those by James Thurber, Amirshahi's fables aim less at didactic purposes than at commentaries on and criticism of the present social and political circumstances. Choosing the fable for such an aim makes both Thurber and Amirshahi resort to the means of humour. The paper will concentrate on an analysis of Amirshahi's fables and the inherent mechanisms of humour and morality, contrast them to some extent to those of Thurber's, and then try to elaborate the specific kind of laughter and learning that results from Amirshahi's fables.
SOAS, University of London, UK
Historiography on the Jews of nineteenth-century Iran is still a narrow field and except for a few recent study on the status of the Jews in late nineteenth century Iran, most of the traditional approaches work with the simplistic epistemological premise of Qajar despotism, that is, they presume Qajar society's paradigmatic oppression of the impoverished and victimised Jews. The greater part of accessible primary sources on that period obviously zooms in on cases of problems, conflicts and persecutions. Yet, a more careful reading of these texts reveals a rather explicit subtext, which betrays far more diverse and complex inter-communal and socio-political relations. Many of the confrontations implicating Jews in late nineteenth-century Isfahan involved issues of trade and commercial politics. A series of prohibitions against Jewish peddlers instigated and issued by an Isfahan mujtahid in 1898 became known as a dramatic case of the inherent and axiomatic anti-Jewish attitude of the Shiite majority; yet, the episode's closer investigation shows this persecution was part of Isfahan's anti-European trade wars and a concerted effort of the city's merchants and ulama to force European (in this case mostly British) firms out of Isfahan. The Jewish peddlers were simply small-scale distributors of Manchester imports and could be more easily boycotted and penalised than European commercial agents with government protection. It also seems that the upper level Jewish mercantile circles showed little support to the peddlers' plight or their struggle against this prohibition. Aside from traditionally occupying some of the most menial professions, it appears that Isfahan's Jews, like the rest of the city, were heavily invested in trade, both on local as well as international levels. Available records reveal little about individual merchants (regardless of religious confession), at the same time nineteenth-century Isfahan was the quintessential commercial city, with the majority of the population earning a living through trade. The various mercantile groups and business communities had both domestic and international networks as well as established connections to business communities in Bombay, the Persian Gulf states, Baghdad, Istanbul, and Europe. This paper will investigate Isfahan's internal business networks and communal trade relations through the information of the city's commercial politics. It will work through an analysis of the 1898 campaigns against the Jewish hawkers. The politics of these conflicts reveals certain internal merchant lobbies and interest groups, as well as the city's acute commercial and economic concerns in a starkly more competitive international business world. Through these confrontations the paper will investigate Isfahan's mercantile networks, attempting a delineation of the various commercial groups, including Jewish as well as non-Jewish local and long distance mercantile relations. Drawing from some Persian and European published materials and historical secondary writings, this paper will be chiefly based on British Foreign Office documents, including materials of the archives of the India Office. It will include further primary sources from other European archives (like the archives of the Alliance Israelite Universelle); as far as possible it will make use of available Iranian primary sources.
Peking University, China
This paper discusses the contents of the thirteenth - fourteenth century Chinese historiography Mishujian Zhi (Annals of Mishujian) which contains a total of 23 books from Persian and Arabic origin. The study looks at these books as a way of examining the scientific and technical intercourses between the Ilkhanid dynasty in Iran and the Yuan dynasty in China. The Annals of Mishujian, written by Wang Shidian and Shang Qiweng (1271-1368), is a collection of Huihui books (literally 'Muslim' books, but here with the meaning of 'Books of Persian and/or Arabic Origin') which belonged to the Muslim Observatory of the Yuan government. The Annals' listing provides the Chinese transliterations and translations of the Persian-Arabic titles of the books. Most of these texts relate to astronomy, mathematics, geometry, alchemy, medicine and similar scientific fields. Some of the titles have been correctly explained by Chinese scholars and subsequently restored to their Persian-Arabic provenances, but some still remain unknown and await further examination. This paper will study these tests and their contents to discuss Chinese-Iranian intellectual and scientific relations in the Ilkhanid-Yuan period.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet, Freiburg, Germany
A contemporary of Sadr al-Din Ardabili (1312-1392), Sheikh Muhammad Kujuji is remembered as one of the leading Sufi sheikhs in post-Ilkhanid Azarbaijan. In 782/1380 he established a major endowment in Tabriz in favour of an extensive madrasa-khanaqah complex of which, unfortunately, no trace remains today. This vaqf stands clearly in the tradition of the famous Rab'-e Rashidi, the foundation made by Rashid al-Din Fazlallah about seventy years earlier. It is on the other hand also to be compared to the emerging economic activities of the Safavid order in Ardabil. In this regard it serves as an important missing link in the history of fourteenth century western Iran, in the development of Sufi movements in the area and the long-term tradition of pious endowments in the region. Since the Kujujis were not meant to stay, they were passed over by history and the information we have on them is highly fragmentary. This is especially true for Sheikh Muhammad who is regularly confused with the eponymous founder of the Kujuji movement, Khvajah Muhammad. The sources paint an inconsistent picture of Sheikh Muhammad, who appears either as a local politician with close contacts to the Jalayirid rulers of his time, a proficient poet, or an overbearing Sufi. The paper will focus on these diverging aspects of Sheikh Muhammad's personality in the existent narrative sources and contrast them with the way he represents himself – directly and indirectly - in his waqf deed.
National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan
In the early years of the Meiji era in Japan, delegations were sent to various destinations around the world in order to seek diplomatic and commercial ties and to observe the state of modernisation of different nations. The most important delegation whose reports later contributed greatly to the modernisation of Japan was Iwakura Tomomi's mission to the United States and Europe in 1871-73. However, there was a much smaller group of Japanese diplomats and tradesmen who visited Qajar Iran. In 1879 in St Petersburg, Naser al-Din Shah, on his way home from Europe, received the Japanese Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Russia, Enomoto Takeaki, in audience and expressed his intention of entering into diplomatic and commercial relations with Japan. Upon his return to Japan, Enomoto suggested the dispatch of a mission, and a small delegation headed by Yoshida Masaharu of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sent to Iran in 1880. This delegation was entrusted with only commercial research on Persian trade. Travel books published by both Yoshida and Furukawa record their hard journey through Iran, introduce Iranian culture, history, and religion (which was virtually unknown to the Japanese at that time), as well as give valuable information on the domestic situation in Qajar Persia. This paper compares the experience of the Iwakura delegation, which visited Europe and the United States, to that of Yoshida, who visited Iran which was, like Meiji Japan, still in the process of modernisation. Unlike the Iwakura delegation, Yoshida's mission did not bring back any practical information for the modernisation of Japan. However, in Iran Yoshida had a chance to actually witness serious problems which resulted from the superficial imitation of Western culture, and he realised the dangers that his own country could face, of losing its own identity in the process of modernisation.
Columbia University, USA
Ethics, in its wider sense of moral observations and prescription, has been the subject of a great deal of research both in Iran and elsewhere. As in the case of all our cultural heritage, the first task has been one of exploration and classification: Identifying manuscripts and works hitherto unrecognized or little discussed, introducing them through articles and perhaps even printed editions, and finally classifying them in the context of Persian literature in general, along with other well known canons of literature such as Sa'di's Golestan or Ghazali's Kimiya-ye Sa'adat. Here the possible sources and constituent parts of these works are the deciding factors in their analysis and placing in the accompanying taxonomies. Scholars have looked at different impulses or influences: Qur'anic, Pre-Islamic Iranian advice literature, notions borrowed through translations from Greek, etc. This is of course essential groundwork.
There is however, as in other kinds of writing, another approach which complements the above and which addresses the question from the point of view of the intended audience. This approach engenders its own questions: In a didactic text, who is being addressed? Is it a message from the throne, as we encounter at the beginning of most of the reigns celebrated in the Shahnameh? Is it an address by a seasoned vizier eager to make his young princely ward see sense? Or is it an address by a popular preacher from the pulpit, sugaring his sermon with some risqué anecdotes to maintain the interests of his uneducated audience and keep them amused?
In all the above-mentioned examples, which are attempts at introducing some historical contextualization to timeless taxonomies, the lines between the narrator and his or her unhesitant authorial voice and the seemingly passive audience are clearly marked. The aim in this brief presentation is to focus on cases where the boundaries are blurred, taking a few telling examples from mystical and meditative writings in Persian, both in poetry and prose, where the didactic narrator and the receptive narratee can be the one and the same person. It is this fusion of monologue and dialogue, with all its 'confessional' implications and the potential space that it offers for a re-examination of ethical values rather than a blanket or even bland affirmation, which will be discussed through concrete examples, both modern and classical.
Mohammad Karim Yousef Jamali
Islamic Azad University, Iran
This paper seeks to present historical evidence and documents to re-consider the tolerance and openness of the Mongol rulers of Iran towards other religions and sects. It aims to show how the Mongol rulers of Iran acted fiercely towards members of other religions but showed moderation and intelligence toward followers of the different sects within Islam. The paper centres on the person of Ghazan Khan, a descendent of Chingiz Khan who was born in Mazandaran and became Il-Khan in 694 AH. Ghazan Khan's first decree was to make Islam the official and only acceptable religion in Iran and banning any other religions. Because of this decree and the influence of the ulama of the Shafi'i school of Sunni Islam, the situation became intolerable for non-Muslim people to the point where the city of Tabriz became empty of non-Muslims. However, although Ghazan Khan had chosen the Shafi'i school of Sunni Islam, unlike Muslim kings of the past dynasties, he never threatened the Shiites or the other schools of Sunni thought. The present research aims to consider Ghazan's rule and what could be considered, as a kind of unique moderation tempered by his strong desire to generalise Islam throughout Iran.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA
There is an overall consensus about the rise of secular sciences in medieval Iran in the aftermath of the 750 CE (132 AH) Abbasid Revolution. However, there is a great deal of confusion as to how, when and why the decline of sciences in Iran began to set in. This confusion is in part due to the lack of sufficient criteria to determine the point of inflection; that is, where science is on its path to decline. This is because the period that was witness to the intensification of Sunni animosity toward the rational sciences -- the period that is marked by the Saljuqs' capture of Baghdad in 1055CE and the demolition of the last dar al-ilm -- also was witness to the flowering of such fields of science as astronomy and mathematics. This paper will put forward criteria and definitions of 'decline' and how we can determine whether science is on the path to decline. Special emphasis will be placed on criteria to identify degenerative modes of science and various factors, both internal and external, that cause sciences to take on a degenerative mode. Accordingly, this paper will set out to investigate as to when in medieval Iran the signs of decline (e.g., Sunni animosity toward rational sciences, reduction of financial resources for scientific research activities, emphasis on 'religious' applications of science, etc.) began to take hold. The paper will further address the anomaly of rapid development of mathematics and astronomy at the time that signs of decline were multiplying. Finally, the paper will provide answers to such questions as to why similar factors did not cause the decline of science in Europe, why the caliphs and kings chose to forego innumerable benefits that sciences had to offer, and why scientists of medieval Iran failed to undergird their community.
One of the main genres of the repertoire of the Khorasani bards is the dastan: a long narrative form in which sections of spoken prose alternate with sung poetry accompanied by the sound of the dotar (a long-necked lute with two strings). The subjects of the dastan may range from the love stories between a hero and his lady to heroic deeds and to religious and/or mystical tales. Similar versions of these narratives are found in Turkey and throughout Central Asia. Although most bards keep notebooks (ketabcheh) containing the written texts of these narratives, oral performances -- traditionally taking place in the villages of Northern Khorasan during life-cycle ceremonies -- have played a critical role in the transmission of the dastan. This paper intends to investigate how this living tradition, which has continued to flourish throughout the twentieth century, does not seem to occupy nowadays the central position it used to enjoy, due to the rapid social changes taking place in 21st-century Iran. Although participating in today's major music festivals, Khorasani bards themselves no longer appear to play a central role in, for instance, marriages and their other traditional performance venues, where synthesisers have begun to replace them and, consequently, their repertoire. Another traditional venue for their performances, the teahouse, has essentially been shut down after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Such changes are affecting not only the traditional performances of the bards of Khorasan, but even the very form of the dastans. Thus, these narratives, which in the past could stretch over several days and nights, are now performed and transmitted under the reduced form of individual songs (or cycles of songs). The paper finally stresses the urgency there is to study such dastans, which are essential to both classical as well as popular literature, before their complete transformation.
Research on local history and historical geography is one of the traditional genres of historiography in Iran. Despite the high quantity of published research in this subject, lack of reliable and first hand information and the contradictory nature of sources can lead to inaccuracies in new research and scholarly publications. These recurrent problems can be exacerbated by lack of proper public and private funding for balanced and non-propaganda works and/or work related to smaller cities than Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz, Isfahan and Tabriz. In this situation, many researchers prefer to limit themselves to a safe zone, writing the biographies of famous figures of a chosen region and then erroneously calling this a complete local history. This is also the more commercially viable option, as the relations of subjects can be relied upon to buy such books. This paper will explain the difficulties of writing local history, referring to the author's own experience of writing a local history of Farahan region: Kohan diyar-e farahan (The Old Land of Farahan). It will also examine the old and conflicting data sources in the author's previous study and consider how a local historian can cross-examine a variety of sources and extract the reliable data.
Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Iran
The word ynd'k has occurred in Buddhist, Manichaean and Christian Sogdian. In some Buddhist Sogdian texts, however, the translator has used ynd'k to translate different Chinese words and Budddhist terms meaning 'bad' and 'evil'. As there are other words for 'bad' and 'evil' in Sogdian besides ynd'k, it seems that ynd'k was preferred by translators because it probably was a term or conveyed a deeper sense of evilness and badness that the other words. In Middle Persian the adjective gan(n)ag is used for Ahriman. In today's Tajik Persian, the word gondeh (which has come to signify 'large' in Iranian Persian) is widely used as equivalent of bad. In this paper all the Sogdian words for 'bad, stench, foul, evil …' are studied and compared in order to find out their exact meaning, usage and frequency.
SOAS, University of London, UK
The apparent contradiction between strict state control of filmmaking in Iran on the one hand and a large number of politically critical films from Iran on another has created much interest in censorship in the country. According to research so far, the state's ideological censorship machinery is a barrier that filmmakers can only get through by means of symbolism, metaphor and allegory. However, this reading tells us about only a small part of the complex relationship between filmmakers and state control. In addition, to accept this as the only explanation of the phenomenon, one would have to mistakenly assume that: there is a unitary censorship body and a clearly defined censorship code, the censors do not get suspicious of filmmakers' use of symbolic imagery, and there is an unchanging relationship between the censors and filmmakers.
This paper, against the backdrop of post-revolution Iranian politics, highlights the dynamics of the shifting boundaries of filmmaking in the country. It examine the power play in which filmmakers engage in order to negotiate the making and exhibition of their films, and finally focuses on the shifting reactions of Iranian cinema-goers to censorship and its feedback effect on the practices of filmmakers and state control.
Boise State University, USA
In the early twentieth century Washington opposed British policy in Persia. In 1911 it sent Morgan Shuster to Tehran to support Iranian efforts resisting Anglo-Russian partition. In 1919 America supported Iran's claim to representation at the Paris Peace Conference and opposed Lord Curzon's Anglo-Persian Agreement. Again in the early 1920s America supported Iranian efforts to break Britain's monopoly over Persian oil. During Second World War, British diplomats sharply criticised American colleagues suspected of hostility to British imperial interests. After the war, Washington supported Iran's efforts to gain more benefit from its oil, seeking compromise between rigid positions of the Whitehall-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and Mosaddeq's government. Then in 1953 Washington collaborated with Britain to violently overthrow Mosaddeq. This coup began a 25 years' dictatorship by Mohammed Reza Shah over Iran, in alliance with America and Britain. In fact, Washington's 1953 volte-face did not come out of the blue. At the start of the twentieth century Anglo-American relations had improved, and London and Washington allied during the two World Wars. As the 'Iron Curtain' fell across Europe in 1945-46, Winston Churchill hoped for continuing close collaboration of 'the English-speaking peoples'. Churchill, Curzon's heir as champion of Empire, hoped to compensate for Britain's relative decline as a world power vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and the United States by harnessing the population and productivity of his mother's country to further the policies of his father's land. In 1953 his hope bore fruit in Iran. Based on extensive recent research in the British National Archives as well as examination of American government and private archives, this paper will examine the evolution of the Anglo-American relations regarding Iran, from early twentieth century confrontations to the 1953 collaboration to thwart Iranian national desire for sovereign control of its own territory under democratic, parliamentary self-government.