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A critical study of how Iranian nationalism, itself largely influenced by Orientalist scholarship first undertaken by the European Orientalists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has shaped modern conceptions of Iran and Iranian identity, as well as narratives of Iranian history, leading to the adoption of a broad nationalist construction of identity to suit Iranian political and ideological circumstances. This book argues that such a broad-brushed approach and the term “Iranian” could not have applied to the large multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural populations in the vast territory of Iran over so many distinct historical periods.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0227-9
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 18,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 348
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0227-9
$39.00

The central thesis of this book challenges the anachronistic construction of Iranian identity, claiming that the nationalist historiography first undertaken by the European Orientalists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries eventually influenced the modern Iranian nationalist intelligentsia and literati, leading to the adoption of a broad nationalist construction of identity to suit Iranian political and ideological circumstances. This book also argues that such a broad-brushed approach and the term “Iranian” could not have applied to the large multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural populations in the vast territory of Iran over so many distinct historical periods – as employed by academicians and eager nationalists.

Mostafa Vaziri is a lecturer at the University of Innsbruck – Austria, and the author of Buddhism in Iran: An Anthropological Approach to Traces and Influences (2012). Vaziri is also a physician who has worked as a volunteer doctor in Nepal, Afghanistan, and Africa.

Cover image and design by Chandra Khaki. The front cover is a map of Iran by Ibrahim Müteferrika produced in c. 1729 (with the permission of National Széchényi Library of Hungary, Budapest. The shell number of the map: Budapest, OSZK TR 7 656). The photographs are of a group of European Orientalists and Iranian literati.

The central thesis of this book challenges the anachronistic construction of Iranian identity, claiming that the nationalist historiography first undertaken by the European Orientalists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries eventually influenced the modern Iranian nationalist intelligentsia and literati, leading to the adoption of a broad nationalist construction of identity to suit Iranian political and ideological circumstances. This book also argues that such a broad-brushed approach and the term “Iranian” could not have applied to the large multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural populations in the vast territory of Iran over so many distinct historical periods – as employed by academicians and eager nationalists.

Mostafa Vaziri is a lecturer at the University of Innsbruck – Austria, and the author of Buddhism in Iran: An Anthropological Approach to Traces and Influences (2012). Vaziri is also a physician who has worked as a volunteer doctor in Nepal, Afghanistan, and Africa.

Cover image and design by Chandra Khaki. The front cover is a map of Iran by Ibrahim Müteferrika produced in c. 1729 (with the permission of National Széchényi Library of Hungary, Budapest. The shell number of the map: Budapest, OSZK TR 7 656). The photographs are of a group of European Orientalists and Iranian literati.

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Mostafa Vaziri

  • Cover Page (page 3)
  • Table of Contents (page 9)
  • Foreword to the Second Edition (page 11)
    • Acknowledgments (page 14)
  • Preface (page 17)
    • Acknowledgments (page 19)
  • Introduction (page 21)
  • Chapter 1 Europe:the Dawn of National Identity (page 35)
    • The Emergence of Nationalism (page 35)
    • Dynasties, Not Nations (page 36)
    • The Decline of Latin and the Rise of Vernacular Languages: A Basis for Proto-national Identity (page 37)
    • The Rise of Racism and the Fallacy of Linking Language to Ethnicity (page 42)
    • Indo-European Language Family and Aryan Race (page 44)
    • Racial Differences and Anthropology (page 52)
    • Race, Language, and National Identity (page 54)
    • History and Historiography in the Context of National Doctrine (page 57)
    • Summary (page 62)
  • Chapter 2 Europe Approaches the Orient (page 67)
    • The Occident Conceives Iran (page 75)
  • Chapter 3 The Conceptualization of Iran in a Nationalistic Context (page 79)
    • Persia Or Iran (page 80)
    • The Appearance and Significance of the Term Iran (page 85)
    • Iran and the Aryan Hypothesis (page 93)
  • Chapter 4 Iranshahr and Synonymous Designations:a Political-Historical Inquiry (page 103)
    • Iran and Its Political Use (page 111)
    • Mamalik Mahruse-e Iran (page 113)
  • Chapter 5 Problems and Context of National Historiographyand the Invention of an Iranian Identity (page 117)
    • The Scope of the Problem (page 120)
    • Scrutiny of Iranology (page 123)
    • Men of Persian BloodŽ (page 134)
    • The Farsi Language (page 140)
    • Firdowsi: A National Chauvinist? (page 145)
  • Chapter 6 Dynastic Connection and Identity Construct (page 155)
    • Eastern Dynasties (page 161)
    • More Orientalists (page 175)
  • Chapter 7 Nationalistic Historiography and Identity Construct in Iran (page 179)
    • Problems Pointed Out (page 180)
    • The Dawn of Nationalistic Historical Writings in Iran (page 183)
    • A Final Comment (page 197)
  • Chapter 8 The Emergence of Iranian Identity (page 199)
    • Background (page 199)
    • The Mechanism of Perceiving an Iranian Identity (page 202)
      • Secularism (page 204)
      • Territorial Zone of Iran (page 207)
      • Farsi Language and Enforcement of National Identity (page 209)
      • Constitution and Democracy: Legal Bond of National Identity (page 211)
    • Origins of the Formation of Iranian Identity (page 212)
    • A Note About Theory and Reality (page 227)
    • Popularization of an Iranian Identity (page 231)
    • The Islamic Republic and Iranian Identity (page 241)
    • A Final Comment (page 243)
  • Chapter 9 Iranian Identity, Muslim Identity, and Cultural Schizophrenia (page 245)
  • Conclusion (page 253)
  • Epilogue (page 261)
    • National Identity Studies in Highlight (page 264)
      • 1. Persian: a Trans-National, not a National, Language (page 267)
      • 2. Sasanian Iran (page 277)
      • 3. Geography and Iranian Identity (page 284)
    • The Predicament of Archaeology and Race (page 287)
    • The Problem of Ancient Identity and Islamic Reaction (page 293)
    • The General Appeal for National Identity in Modern Times (page 297)
    • Conclusion (page 301)
  • Selected Bibliography (page 305)
  • Index (page 327)
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