Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iran: Toward an Understanding of Contemporary Events

Inspired by Dean Jim Chen's post, Tehran, June 15, 2009, I thought I would provide a list of books that enable one to better understand contemporary events, if only by placing them in socio-political context and historical perspective.

Portraits of armed Baluchis, Turks and Persians involved in the constitutional revolution in Persia, c.1905-09, the declaration of the deposition of Shah Muhammad Ali, and guns on the streets of Mashhad. [shelfmark:Photo 851/4(91)] © The British Library Board.



  • Abdo, Geneive and Jonathan Lyons. Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-First Century Iran. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2003.
  • Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran Between Two Revolutions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982.
  • Abrahamian, Ervand. The Iranian Mojahedin. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989.
  • Abrahamian, Ervand. Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993.
  • Abrahamian, Ervand. Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999.
  • Adelkhah, Fariba. Being Modern in Iran. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
  • Afary, Janet. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
  • Afkhami, Mahnaz and Erika Friedl, eds. In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1994.
  • Afshari, Reza. Human Rights in Iran: The Abuse of Cultural Relativism. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.
  • Akhavi, Shahrough. Religion and Politics in Contemporary Iran: Clergy-State Relations in the Pahlavi Period. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1980.
  • Algar, Hamid. The Islamic Revolution in Iran. London: Open Press, 1980.
  • Algar, Hamid. Religion and State in Iran 1785-1906: The Role of the Ulama in the Qajar Period. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1969.
  • Alizadeh, Parvin, ed. The Economy of Iran: The Dilemma of an Islamic State. London: I.B. Tauris, 2000.
  • Ansari, Ali M. Iran, Islam, and Democracy: The Politics of Managing Change. London: Chatham House, 2nd ed., 2006.
  • Ansari, Ali M. Modern Iran Since 1921: The Pahlavis and After. London: Longman, 2003.
  • Arjomand, Said Amir. The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • Azimi, Fakhreddin. Iran: the Crisis of Democracy. London: I.B. Tauris, 1989.
  • Bakhash, Shaul. The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 1990.
  • Baktiari, Bahman. Parliamentary Politics in Revolutionary Iran: The Institutionalization of Factional Politics. Gainseville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1996.
  • Bayat, Asef. Street Politics: Poor People’s Movements in Iran. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
  • Bayat, Asef. Workers and Revolution in Iran. London: Zed Books, 1987.
  • Bayat, Mangol. Iran’s First Revolution: Shi‘ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Bill, James A. The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988.
  • Bonine, Michael E. and Nikki R. Keddie, eds. Modern Iran: The Dialectics of Continuity and Change. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1981.
  • Browne, Edward G. The Persian Revolution, 1905-1909. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1910.
  • Chehabi, H.E. Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran under the Shah and Khomeini. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.
  • Ehteshami, Anoushiravan. After Khomeini: The Iranian Second Republic. New York: Routledge, 1995.
  • Esfandiari, Haleh. Reconstructed Lives: Women & Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.
  • Farsoun, Samih K. Iran: Political Culture in the Islamic Republic. London: Routledge, 1992.
  • Fischer, Michael M.J. Iran: from Religious Dispute to Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980.
  • Foran, John. Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993.
  • Foran, John, ed. A Century of Revolution: Social Movements in Iran. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
  • Ganji, Akbar. The Road to Democracy in Iran. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.
  • Gasiorowski, Mark. U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a Client State in Iran. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.
  • Ghani, Cyrus. Iran and the Rise of Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power. London: I.B. Tauris, 2000.
  • Ghani, Cyrus. Iran and the West: A Critical Bibliography. London: Kegan Paul Int’l., 1987.
  • Gheissari, Ali. Iranian Intellectuals in the Twentieth Century. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998.
  • Gheissari, Ali, ed. Contemporary Iran: Economy, Society, Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Graham, Robert. Iran: the Illusion of Power. London: Croom Helm, revised ed., 1979.
  • Hairi, Abdu’l-Hadi. Shī‘ism and Constitutionalism in Iran. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1977.
  • Hooglund, Eric, ed. Twenty Years of Islamic Revolution: Political and Social Transition in Iran since 1979. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002.
  • Irfani, Shuroosh. Revolutionary Islam in Iran: Popular Liberation or Religious Dictatorship? London: Zed Books, 1983.
  • Kamrava, Mehran. Iran’s Intellectual Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Katouzian, Homa. Mussadiq and the Struggle for Power in Iran. London: I.B. Tauris, 1991.
  • Katouzian, Homa. The Political Economy of Modern Iran. London: Macmillan, 1981.
  • Kazemi, Farhad. Poverty and Revolution in Iran: The Migrant Poor, Urban Marginality, and Politics. Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 1981.
  • Keddie, Nikki R. Iran and the Muslim World: Resistance and Revolution. Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 1995.
  • Keddie, Nikki R. Iran: Religion, Politics and Society. London: Frank Cass, 1980.
  • Keddie, Nikki R. Religion and Rebellion in Iran: The Tobacco Protest of 1891-1892. London: Frank Cass, 1966.
  • Keddie, Nikki R. Roots of Revolution: An Interpretative History of Modern Iran. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.
  • Keddie, Nikki R. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006 ed.
  • Keddie, Nikki R., ed. Religion and Politics in Iran: Shi‘ism from Quietism to Revolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983.
  • Menashri, David. Post-Revolutionary Politics in Iran: Religion, Society and Power. London: Frank Cass & Co., 2001.
  • Milani, Mohsen M. The Making of Iran’s Islamic Revolution: From Monarchy to Islamic Republic. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, revised ed., 1994.
  • Mir-Hosseini, Ziba. Islam and Gender: The Religious Debate in Contemporary Iran. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Mir-Hosseini, Ziba and Richard Tapper. Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform. London: I.B. Tauris, 2006.
  • Moaddel, Mansoor. Class, Politics, and Ideology in the Iranian Revolution. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.
  • Moghissi, Haideh. Populism and Feminism in Iran: Women’s Struggle in a Male-Defined Revolutionary Movement. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.
  • Moslem, Mehdi. Factional Politics in Post-Khomeini Iran. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002.
  • Mottahedeh, Roy. The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran. Oxford, UK: Oneworld, 2000.
  • Nabavi, Negin. Intellectuals and the State in Iran: Politics, Discourse and the Dilemma of Authenticity. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2003.
  • Nabavi, Negin, ed. Intellectual Trends in 20th Century Iran. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2003.
  • Paidar, Parvin. Women and the Political Process in Twentieth-Century Iran. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • Postel, Danny. Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism. Chicago, IL: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2006.
  • Rajaee, Farhang, ed. The Iran-Iraq War: The Politics of Aggression. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1993.
  • Rejali, Darius M. Torture and Modernity: Self, Society and State in Modern Iran. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993.
  • Ringer, Monica M. Education, Religion, and the Discourse of Cultural Reform in Qajar Iran. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publ., 2000.
  • Sanasarian, Eliz. The Women’s Rights Movement in Iran: Mutiny, Appeasement, and Repression from 1900 to Khomeini. New York: Praeger, 1982.
  • Schirazi, Asghar (John O’Kane, trans.). The Constitution of Iran: Politics and the State in the Islamic Republic. London: I.B. Tauris, 1997.
  • Takeyh, Ray. Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of Ayatollahs. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Tavakoli-Targhi, Mohamad. Refashioning Iran: Orientalism, Occidentalism and Historiography. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
  • Vahdat, Farzin. God and Juggernaut: Iran’s Intellectual Encounter with Modernity. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002.
  • van den Bos, Matthijs. Mystic Regimes: Sufism and the State in Iran, from the late Qajar Era to the Islamic Republic. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002.
  • Wright, Robin. The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.

Serious intellectual writings and discussions involving secularists, religious liberals, and reformist clerics have grown since the early 1990s, and even when their outlets in the periodical press were restricted, books and treatises could still be published. [....] Thinkers who have written since 1990 are generally more sophisticated and more knowledgeable about a variety of Western and Islamic sources than were their intellectual predecessors. These predecessors, like their contemporaries in many parts of the world, if they were politically oriented, tended to have ideological views that emphasized one factor as central to solving Iran's problems--whether class, economics, and socialism for the Marxists, science, nationalism, or racism for many modernizers, or varying interpretations of Islam for both Islamic modernists and Islamic conservatives. (Similar simplifications were also characteristic of many intellectuals elsewhere.) Nearly all tended to stress foreign imperialist evils far more than internal reasons for Iran's problems. Reformists who stressed Islam usually took the path known as Islamic modernism--basically the claim that all the positive values they had seen in the West--science, representative government, a better position for women, and so forth--were found in Islam if it were rightly understood. The Mojahedin-e Khalq, Shariati, and Khomeini had different views of Islam, but all were ideological and convinced that their path would solve the problems of the world. The popularity in the Pahlavi period of ideological views, especially Marxism-Leninism and nationalism, helped encourage competing political-ideological constructions of Islam, the most influential being those of Shariati and Khomeini.

Thinkers of the 1990s were more complex and sophisticated; they broke with ideologies that implied that ideological correctness could bring about an ideal society. They also considered Western ideas to be complex and varied, and not a solution to all problems (as had some earlier Iranian nationalists), not simple extensions of ideas already present in Islam or Iran, and not, alternatively, simply dangerous aspects of imperialism. Several of the new thinkers are well acquainted with both Western and Islamic thought, and, unlike many of their ideological predecessors, do not think huge social advances can be attained if people act in favor of a particular ideology. There has been a new stress on freedom of thought, including of religion, which earlier thinkers had tended to subordinate to anti-imperialism or other values, and also on the importance of democracy, greater gender equality, and new and fair laws. There have also been a variety of strong criticisms of clerical rule. Nikki Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006 ed): 304-305.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Fashionable Earth said...

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10/13/2009 5:03 PM  

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