01:685:236 History and Culture of Iran - Synopsis (3 credits)

Course Description
This course introduces students to Iranian civilization through its historical, material, and intellectual cultures. A diachronic view of cultural tropes, intellectual and nationalist movements, and political governing systems that transformed Iran over the course of the three significant historical periods: the ancient and medieval dynasties, the period from Nineteenth Century to the end of the Pahlavis Monarchy, and the Islamic Republic of the post 1979 Revolution.

Readings, lectures, and discussions will emphasize cultural-historical concerns with the questions of the exercise of power, the production and consumption of wealth, the rise of status according to class, gender, and ethnicity, the advancement of communication technology, and the (trans)formation of collective identity within religious, ethnic, national and other culturally "imagined communities." We will study and analyze cultural productions produced throughout this history.

Course Learning Goals
The course will prepare students to discuss and to engage in group discussions with colleagues, to improve their ability to compose university-level papers, reports and examinations, and to develop their skills in accessing primary source documents as well as information technology concerning complex issues in history and culture of Iran.

This course is certified for the Core Curriculum and meets the following learning goals:

• Areas of Inquiry: Historical Analysis [HST]

  • Understand the bases and development of human and societal endeavors across time and place.
  • Explain the development of some aspect of a society or culture over time, including the history of ideas or history of science.

Required Texts
- Michael Axworthy, Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran (London: Hurst & Company, 2007) (Textbook)(ISBN: 046501920X)
- Jalal Al-Ahmad, Occidentosis: A Plague from the West. Trans. R. Campbell (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1984).(ISBN: 0933782136)

Additional course materials will be posted on Sakai throughout the semester.


Class attendance and participation 20 points
Three presentations 10 points each
Three short writing assignments 10 points each
Midterm and Final examinations 10 points each