The Idea of Iran: The Safavid Era
27 October 2018, Brunei Gallery, SOAS London
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the establishment of the new Safavid regime in Iran, heir not only to the succession of leadership of the Safavid sufi order, but also to the Aq Qoyunlu dispensation of western Iran and more remotely to the Timurid Empire in the East. Along with reuniting the Persian lands under one rule, the Safavids initiated the radical transformation of the religious landscape by introducing Imami Shi‘ism as the official state faith and in this as in other ways, laying the foundations of Iran’s modern identity. While sometimes viewed as a period of decline from the highpoints of classical Persian literature and the visual arts of preceding centuries, the Safavid era was nevertheless a period of great literary and artistic activity in the realms of both secular and theological endeavour. In addition, with the establishment of comparable polities in across western, southern and central Asia at broadly the same time, interactions with Ottoman, Mughal and Uzbek neighbours ensured fruitful interactions with other Muslim states also making the transition for the medieval to the modern world. Finally, European encounters with these worlds provide rich new layers of information and evidence of material and intellectual transmission.What does the Idea of Iran mean at this period? Can we discern the ways that contemporaries viewed their traditions and their environment (natural or built); what was the view of outsiders, and how does modern scholarship define the distinctive aspects of the period? These are some of the questions we hope to explore in the symposium dedicated to this rich and highly productive period that took Iran to the eve of modernity.Convened by Sarah Stewart, SOAS and Charles Melville, University of Cambridge.
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In ʿAli Qoli Jebādār et l’Occidentalism safavide Negar Habibi provides a fresh account of the life and works of ʿAli Qoli Jebādār, a leading painter of the late Safavid period. By collecting several of the artist’s paintings and signatures Habibi brings to light the diversity of ʿAli Qoli Jebādār’s most important works. In addition, the volume offers us new insights into both the artistic and socio-political evolution of Iranian society in the last days of pre-modern Iran. By carefully consulting the historical sources, Negar Habibi demonstrates the possibility of a female and eunuch patronage in the seventeenth-century paintings known as farangi sāzi, while suggesting the use of the term “Occidentalism” for those Safavid paintings that show some exotic and alien details of the Western world.
Continue reading Safavid Occidentalism and Persian Painting
Amanat, Abbas. 2018. Iran: A modern history. Yale University Press.
his history of modern Iran is not a survey in the conventional sense but an ambitious exploration of the story of a nation. It offers a revealing look at how events, people, and institutions are shaped by currents that sometimes reach back hundreds of years. The book covers the complex history of the diverse societies and economies of Iran against the background of dynastic changes, revolutions, civil wars, foreign occupation, and the rise of the Islamic Republic.
Abbas Amanat combines chronological and thematic approaches, exploring events with lasting implications for modern Iran and the world. Drawing on diverse historical scholarship and emphasizing the twentieth century, he addresses debates about Iran’s culture and politics. Political history is the driving narrative force, given impetus by Amanat’s decades of research and study. He layers the book with discussions of literature, music, and the arts; ideology and religion; economy and society; and cultural identity and heritage.
Abbas Amanat is professor of history and international studies at Yale University and director of the Yale Program in Iranian Studies at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He lives in North Haven, CT.
Source: Iran by Abbas Amanat – Yale University Press
Institute of History, CSIC.
C/Albasanz 26-28, 28037 Madrid.
10 – 11 March 2016.
Directed by Enrique García Hernán, José Cutillas and Rudi Matthee.
Proposals for papers should be sent to Dr. José Cutillas email@example.com with abstract (600 words) and cv (300 words), until 31st December 2015
More information, please download the document Diptico.
Ghereghlou, Kioumars (ed.). 2015. A chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas: Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani. Gibb Memorial Trust.
This substantial and largely unknown Persian chronicle of the reign of Shah ‘Abbas I (1587-1629) exists in a unique manuscript, recently discovered in the Library of Christ’s College, Cambridge. Its author, Fazli Beg Khuzani Isfahani, member of an important bureaucratic family, provides an insider’s account of this crucial period in Persian history, with a wealth of detail about the central and provincial administration and much information not found in other sources. Shortly after the succession of Shah Safi (1629-42), Fazli Beg left for India, where he continued to work on his chronicle. So far, three volumes of the Afzal al-tavarikh have come to light, covering the reigns of Shah Isma‘il, Shah Tahmasp, and Shah ‘Abbas; none of them is complete and each exists only in a sole copy. Volume 3 on Shah ‘Abbas is a composite work, containing many of the author’s handwritten corrections and marginalia, making it a fascinating example of the composition of a work in progress. The complete text of 579 folios has been edited by Kioumars Ghereghlou (Columbia University Center for Iranian Studies); the publication is accompanied by detailed indexes and a substantial introduction by Kioumars Ghereghlou and Charles Melville (University of Cambridge) on the life and career of Fazli Beg, the significance of his work, and the manuscripts on which it is based. Volume 1 covers the years 996-1019 AH/ 1587-1610. Volume 2 covers the years 1020-1037 AH / 1611-1629. Both volumes are accompanied by a DVD with the text of the manuscript for the years in question.
Congratulations to Dan Sheffield and Alireza Korangy on publishing this excellent Festschrift. Dan’s own very interesting contribution to the volume:
Sheffield, Dan. 2014. The language of heaven in Safavid Iran: Speech and cosmology in the thought of Āẕar Kayvān and his followers. In Alireza Korangy & Daniel Sheffield (eds.), No tapping around philology: A Festschrift in honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th birthday. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Read the article here. See this page for more information on the volume.