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January 15, 2009

Call for Papers - Historiography & Iran in Coparative Perspective - Conference


A conference focusing on the developments in the historiography of Iran in comparative perspective.

10-13 September 2009

The Persian speaking world has enjoyed a long tradition of historical writing which sought to situate the Iranian people within a particular narrative of descent and historical development. These narratives were to be challenged with the introduction of new historical methods from Europe in the late 19th century. By the late 20th century there was a dramatic increase in historical writing in Iran, partly as a consequence of the need to produce new national narratives and partly a result of the demand engendered by the growth in literacy and communications. The writing of history, reflecting the realities of the day, has more often than not proved to be a profoundly political act. Historical texts, narratives, and memoirs have all sought to shape and define the way in which Iranians have thought of themselves and their history. Yet for all the emphasis on national particularities, historical writing has also been driven by means and methods determined by the modern European tradition. Of particular importance in this regard was the distinction created between historical writing and myth; a process which resulted in much of the pre-modern Iranian historical tradition being confined to the realm of literature.

This conference will seek to highlight a number of these developments by assessing the traditions of historical writing in Iran and situating them within broader trends in historiographical thought, in particular the development of European historical narratives. Questions to be addressed include the role of historical writing in the construction of identity; myth and history, literature and the oral tradition; how do we understand the development of a historical consciousness; what parallels can be drawn between the Iranian and European traditions of historical writing; to what extent does contemporary Iranian historical writing situate itself within a European narrative.

The organisers welcome papers on a broad range of topics - including papers with a comparative and trans-national approach - but will be guided by the following thematic areas:
1. Persia in the Western imagination
2. Inventing the Middle Ages
3. History & nation building
4. History, Myth and literature
5. Revolutionary History
6. Diasporas

Proposals for papers should send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along contact details, a brief bio including an institutional affiliation, to the Organising Committee, Historiography Conference, School of History, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AL, by February 15th 2009. Alternatively proposals may be sent in electronic format to the email below. All proposed papers must constitute unpublished new research. Authors of papers presented at the conference must commit themselves to publish their papers in the publication described below, if the editors of the publication select their papers for inclusion in the publication.

A book, edited by Ali Ansari, of selected papers from the conference will be published by I. B. Tauris Publishers, in the series "Iran and the Persianate World".

For general enquiries please contact Professor Ansari on iran@st-andrews.ac.uk
Regular updates can be found on www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~iranian

Posted by kpfister at January 15, 2009 09:45 AM

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