Berberian, Houri & Touraj Daryaee (eds.). 2018. Reflections of Armenian identity in history and historiography. Jordan Center for Persian Studies.
This volume is the result of a conference held on the UCI campus in April of 2015. The purpose of this international conference was to explore various aspects of Armenian identity from the remote past to the present. Some of the papers that appear in this collection stay true to their original presentations w hile others have been dramatically altered, even in subject in one case.
Table of Contents:
- Gregory E. Areshian: Historical Dynamics of the Endogenous Armenian, i.e. Hayots, Identity: Some General Observations
- Touraj Daryaee: The Fall of Urartu and the Rise of Armenia
- Ani Honarchian: Of God and Letters: A Sociolinguistic Study on the Invention of the Armenian Alphabet in Late Antiquity
- Khodadad Rezakhani: The Rebellion of Babak and the Historiography of the Southern Caucasus
- Giusto Traina: Ambigua Gens? Methodological Problems in the Ancient Armenian history
- Sebouh David Aslanian: The “Great Schism” of 1773: Venice and the Founding of the Armenian Community in Trieste
- S. Peter Cowe: The Armenian Oikoumene in the Sixteenth Century: Dark Age or Era of Transition?
- Roman Smbatyan: Some Remarks on the Identity and Historical Role of Artsakhi Meliks in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries CE
- Myrna Douzjian: Armenianness Reimagined in Atom Egoyan’s Ararat
- Shushan Karapetian: The Changing Role of Language in the Construction of Armenian Identity among the (American) Diaspora
- Rubina Peroomian: Effects of the Genocide, Second Generation Voices
Zia-Ebrahimi, Reza. 2016. The emergence of Iranian nationalism: Race and the politics of dislocation. New York: Columbia University Press.
Reza Zia-Ebrahimi revisits the work of Fath?ali Akhundzadeh and Mirza Aqa Khan Kermani, two Qajar-era intellectuals who founded modern Iranian nationalism. In their efforts to make sense of a difficult historical situation, these thinkers advanced an appealing ideology Zia-Ebrahimi calls “dislocative nationalism,” in which pre-Islamic Iran is cast as a golden age, Islam is reinterpreted as an alien religion, and Arabs become implacable others. Dislodging Iran from its empirical reality and tying it to Europe and the Aryan race, this ideology remains the most politically potent form of identity in Iran.
Akhundzadeh and Kermani’s nationalist reading of Iranian history has been drilled into the minds of Iranians since its adoption by the Pahlavi state in the early twentieth century. Spread through mass schooling, historical narratives, and official statements of support, their ideological perspective has come to define Iranian culture and domestic and foreign policy. Zia-Ebrahimi follows the development of dislocative nationalism through a range of cultural and historical materials, and he captures its incorporation of European ideas about Iranian history, the Aryan race, and a primordial nation. His work emphasizes the agency of Iranian intellectuals in translating European ideas for Iranian audiences, impressing Western conceptions of race onto Iranian identity.
The table of contents:
Note on Transliteration and Spelling
1. The Paleontology of Iranian Nationalism
2. Akhundzadeh and Kermani: The Emergence of Dislocative Nationalism
3. Pre-Islamic Iran and Archaistic Frenzy
4. Of Lizard Eaters and Invasions: The Import of European Racial Thought
5. Europe, That Feared Yet Admired Idol
6. Aryanism and Dislocation
7. The Road to Officialdom
Conclusion: The Failure of Dislocative Nationalism
Reza Zia-Ebrahimi is lecturer (assistant professor) in history at King’s College London.
Chi, Jennifer (ed.). 2015. The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past. With contributions by Carmen Pérez González, Judith Lerner, and Reza Sheikh. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
A while ago we posted a link about the exhibition The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past. We now draw attention to the catalogue of the exhibition, which presents nearly 200 photographs and contributions by Carmen Perez Gonzalez, Bergische Universität Wuppertal; Reza Sheikh, Independent Scholar; and Judith A. Lerner, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.
The catalogue’s essays discuss such topics as the achievements of court photographers in the service of Naser al-Din Shah, including Reza ‘Akkasbashi, ‘Abdollah Mirza Qajar, and Dust Mohammad Khan Mo’ayyer al-Mamalek, and the volume also examines the role of photography in helping Iranians document Iran’s pre-Islamic monuments during the second half of the nineteenth century.
For more information, see the catalogue or the publisher websites.
Merhavy, Menahem. 2015. Religious Appropriation of National Symbols in Iran: Searching for Cyrus the Great. Iranian Studies. 48(6), 933-948.
In this article I examine the debate over the character of Cyrus the Great in Iran during the last four decades, using it as a prism to view the struggle over the desired balance between religious and ethnic components of Iranian identity. Heated polemics over the historical figure of Cyrus and his legacy reveal undercurrents of Iranian identity dilemmas as well as different and conflicting views of Iranian identity. Beyond a mere historical or religious controversy, the debate over the “right” memory of Cyrus presents an interesting case of shifting emphasis on identity and sources of political inspiration in Iranian society from the late 1960s to the present. Moreover, putting the debate over the ancient king in perspective, there emerges a wider picture of religious adaptation and embrace of what once seemed pagan or secular.
Mozaffari, Ali (ed). 2014. World heritage in Iran: Perspectives on Pasargadae. Heritage, Culture and Identity. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate.
Pasargadae is the location of the tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Through the ages it was Islamised and the tomb was ascribed to the Mother of Solomon. It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that archaeological evidence demonstrated the relationship between the site and Cyrus and it was appropriated into conflicting political discourses on nationalism and Islamism while concurrently acknowledged as a national and then a World Heritages site. However, Pasargadae is neither an isolated World Heritage site, nor purely a symbol of abstract state politics. Pasargadae and its immediate vicinity constitute a living landscape occupied by villagers, nomads and tourists.This edited volume presents for the first time a broad, multi-disciplinary examination of Pasargadae by experts from both outside and within Iran. It specifically focuses on those disciplines that are absent from existing studies, such as ethnography, tourism and museum studies providing valuable insights into this fascinating place. In its totality, the book argues that to understand World Heritage sites and their problems fully, a holistic approach should be adopted, which considers the manifold of perspectives and issues. It also puts forward a novel approach to the question of heritage, representation and construction of collective identity from the framework of place.
Table of Contents:
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