Iran in Revolution: 1800 - Present

Term: Fall 2011

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 5119

By the time the Qajar dynasty established itself in Iran in 1779, Shi'ism had already well established its religious hegemony over Iran and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw further evidence of its consolidation and institutionalization. How does the religious architecture of Shi'ism help explain the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911 and the success of the Islamic revolution in 1979 in the absence of a strong Islamic movement? And why did Iranians, clerical and lay, and in the heyday of colonialism, turn to a Western-inspired ideology in the early decades of the twentieth century, and then turn completely against Westernization some seventy years later? This course studies social change in Iran during the past two centuries, focusing on the interaction of political thought with religious authority and cultural transformation, to suggest that the Islamic revolution of 1979 is better explained in the lexicon of revolutionary transformation than in that of religious resurgence or a revival of the past. Readings will include Bayat, Bulliet, Calhoun, Goldstone, Goodwin, Gorski, Khomeini, Mitchell, Moaddel, Owen, Skocpol.

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