The Future of Iran’s Past: Nizam al-Mulk Remembered

Description

The Future of Iran’s Past is a critical study of the life and afterlife of Nizam al-Mulk (1018-92), celebrated Persian vizier and stalwart figure of power and authority in medieval Islamic society. He became the de facto ruler of a vast empire, with a final apotheosis as Islamic history’s archetypal good vizier. Such was his standing among the glitterati of his era that he was considered an ideal replacement for the Abbasid caliph himself.

As well as the outstanding figure in a long run of great viziers and administrators who dominated premodern Islamic politics, al-Mulk is remembered as the most prominent politician of the period to perceive new beginnings and radical departures. Neguin Yavari offers a close reading of al-Mulk’s many legacies, revealing a complex imbrication of political and religious authority, as well as pre-Islamic and Islamic influences that have together shaped modern Iran. She shows that the new Iran of al-Mulk’s singular vision, rather than a tale of uninterrupted Iranisation, is imbued with an extensive interplay of residual and emergent tendencies.
Author

Neguin Yavari is a senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University. She studied medieval history at Columbia University, and has written on medieval Islamic history, political thought and international history. Her books include Advice for the Sultan: Prophetic Voices and Secular Politics in Medieval Islam (2014) and the co-edited Global Medieval: Mirrors for Princes Reconsidered (2015).

Related Topics
abbasidhistoryiranPersia
Reviews

‘The Future of Iran’s Past is a highly original and extraordinarily sophisticated exploration of medieval Islamic political thought and its continuing legacy. Yavari has performed an inestimable service to the intellectual history of Islam. She subjects this genre of writing to a deep and sustained interpretation.’—Faisal Devji, Fellow of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford and author of Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity.

‘So much more than the life and times of medieval Iran’s greatest vizier, The Future of Iran’s Past serves up penetrating insights into the nature of pre-modern biography, the complex and often opaque workings of Islamic governance, and Iran’s confrontation with its own history right down to the present day.’— Richard W. Bulliet, Professor of History, Columbia University; author of Islam: The View from the Edge and The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilisation

‘This unconventional ‘biography’ of Nizam al-Mulk is woven around five exuberant essays, with challenging, often brilliant insights, on themes that lie at the heart of the Saljuq polity and dominion over which Nizam al-Mulk presided. They elucidate a novel and sophisticated interpretation of the political nature of Nizam al-Mulk’s vision and its legacy.’—John Gurney, Emeritus Fellow, Wadham College, University of Oxford

‘With this outstanding study of Nizam al Mulk, one of the towering figures of Iranian-Islamic medieval history, Yavari surpasses the limits of traditional biographical writing. In this highly readable study, her critical reading of the sources and masterly approach to the literature challenge our understanding of Saljuq rule and culture.’—Christoph Werner, Chair of Iranian Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Source: Hurst Publishers

Postrevolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook

Mehrzad Boroujerdi and Kourosh Rahimkhani, Post-revolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook (New York: Syracuse University Press, May 15, 2018).

A comprehensive, empirical study of Iranian political institutions and elites over the last four decades.

“As an exhaustive and systematically organized compilation of data and reliable information on the postrevolutionary Iranian political elites (including their social and regional origins, career paths, and ideological orientations, family ties, etc.), as well as chronologies of major events and detailed descriptive statistics on key state institutions, political parties, and elections at all levels, this pioneering work will serve not only as an indispensable standard reference for the study of Iranian politics, but also as an invaluable source of data and ideas for empirically based studies by scholars and students of Iran for years to come.”—Ali Banuazizi, professor of political science, Boston College

“Boroujerdi and Rahimkhani have mapped out, with impressive rigor and erudition, the often inter-locking military, clerical, and political elite that has ruled Iran for the last thirty seven years. As much a book about Who Rules Iran as a Who’s Who in the halls of power in the Islamic Republic of Iran. An indispensable source for anyone studying modern Iranian society and politics.”—Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University

“A monumental achievement. I am unaware of any other source that provides such a rich collection of political data about Iran. Western political scientists often complain about the lack of longitudinal data in order to apply modern analytical techniques to the politics of Third World countries. This compendium goes very far to respond to that need.”—Gary Sick, Columbia University

“This product of 14 years of teamwork is an indispensable reference source for anyone with serious interest in contemporary Iran. . . . The work can justly be placed among the best elite studies done recently anywhere in the world.”—Ervand Abrahamian, author of Iran between Two Revolutions
Postrevolutionary Iran

Mehrzad Boroujerdi is O’Hanley Faculty Scholar and professor of political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, and former president of the International Society for Iranian Studies. He is the author of Iranian Intellectuals and the West: The Tormented Triumph of Nativism and editor of Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and the Theory of Statecraft. Kourosh Rahimkhani is a doctoral candidate in political science at Binghamton University. His research focuses on politics of ethnoreligious identities, nondemocratic elections, and authoritarian politics.

Source: Syracuse University Press

Einsicht (Insight and Understanding)

Einsicht, Drei Reisen in die innerste Welt des schiitischen Islam (Insight and Understanding: Three Journeys to the innermost world of Shī‛ism) is the title of a successful cultural exchange project between Germany and Iran. Given that a photo speaks more than thousands of words and that a camera is a means of knowledge for those who love to know, the project firstly presents a part of early history of photography, and secondly pays attention to the dialogue of cultures through the photographers lens and the language of art. Three journeys in the title refers to the voyage of Nasir al-Din Shah with his court photographer Reza Akkasbashi to Iraq (Najaf, Karbala and Samarra) in 1872; the trip of Muzaffar al-Din Shah’s photographers to Iraq in 1905 and the voyage of German well-known photographer Hans Georg Berger (2000- 2005) to religious schools of Iran in different cities including Qum, Mashhad and Isfahan. The project published a book (245 pages) with the same title and six exhibitions (of selected photos) will be held in the cities Mashhad, Tehran, Qum, Isfahan, Berlin and Freiburg.

The book includes six short essays and about two hundred selected photographs taken during these journeys. Among them are historical images of holy shrines in Iraq and Iran, old and new Shiite centers of training and education of religious students as well as numerous old and new portraits of those students and their professors. Most photographs, especially those taken from a balloon above the cities of Najaf, Karbala and Samarra in 1871, are of great importance in the history of photography. They attract the eyes of every specialist in the field and open their language to praise such a unique effort at the time. The historical photos come from the archive of Golestan Palace Tehran. The contemporary ones come from the archive of the photographer. The authors in their essays deal with old and new photos in accordance with their expertise, and with different views. This bilingual book (German and Persian) has two editors: Dr. Boris von Brauchitsch and Dr. Saeid Edalatnejad. The book was published in high quality and standard in September 2017 in Germany by KEHRER Verlag (ISBN 978-3-86828-818-6). The foreign ministry of Germany dedicates the book to those public and university Iranian libraries which request the book by paying the cost of mail from Berlin to the given cities. For ordering the book please click here.

The Iranian foreign ministry, the Organization of Islamic relations and culture as well as several non-governmental institutions support the holding of the exhibitions in those different cities. They are placed under the High Patronage of the National Commissions of UNESCO. The first exhibition is held on 6th October 2017 in Mashhad and welcomes the visitors until 21th October. The exhibition of Tehran will be held at Golestan Palace on the first of November. Qum opens on November 25, and Isfahan on December 20. In Berlin, the exhibition opens on January 12, 2018 at Bumiller Collection (University Museum Islamic Art). For the detail of the content of the book and the time table of other exhibitions, see the website www.tamasha96.com

Sociology of Shi’ite Islam

Saïd Amir Arjomand

The Sociology of Shi’ite Islam is the collection of scholarly articles by a historical sociologist applying a Weberian sociological framework for the historical analysis of Twelver Shi‘i Islam. This book encompasses the comprehensive socio-historical analysis of Twelver Shi‘i Islam from its sectarian formation in the eighth century to its establishment as the national religion of the Safavid Empire in the sixteenth century and down to the Islamic revolution and the formation of a Shi‘i theocratic state in Iran in the late twentieth century.

This book is comprised of nineteen essays grouped into four parts. The first part addresses the historical formation of Shi‘ite Islam from the eighth to thirteenth centuries CE. Author Saïd Arjomand builds his sociological framework upon some Weberian ideas—especially the idea that world religions provide solutions to the problem of meaning. More specifically, religions are salvific solutions to the troubling question of how human suffering can be reconciled with the justice of God/divinity. The unique Twelver Shi‘i salvific solution to this problem of meaning is the combination of three main elements: 1) imamate as the constant divine guidance after the death of Prophet Muhammad; 2) occultation of the Twelfth Imam; and 3) a universal redemptive theology of martyrdom based on the tragic death of Prophet’s grandson, Husayn in 680 CE. All of these elements were lacking in mainstream Sunni Islam……. Read more

Research fellowships for international postdocs for a research stay in Mainz

Research fellowships for international postdocs for a research stay in Mainz beginning in April 2018 or later.

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) awards Research fellowships for international postdocs for a research stay in Mainz beginning in April 2018 or later.

Applicant profile

The IEG awards fellowships for international young researchers in history, theology and other historical subjects. The IEG promotes research on the historical foundations of Europe from the early modern period to 1989/90, particularly regarding their religious, political and social dimensions. Projects dealing with European communication and transfer processes as well as projects focusing on questions related to theology, church history and intellectual history are particularly welcome.
What we offer

Funding is € ۱,۸۰۰/month. Research fellows live and work for between 6 and 12 months at the Institute in Mainz and can pursue their individual research project (extension possible).

Aims
This fellowship is intended to help you develop your own research project in close collaboration with scholars working at the IEG. Your contribution consist in bringing your own interests to bear on the work of the IEG and its research programme »negotiating difference in Europe«. This includes the possibility of developing a perspective for further cooperation with the IEG. If for this purpose a promising application for third-party funding is submitted, an extension of the fellowship is possible.
Requirements

Applicants must have completed their doctorate no more than three years before taking up the fellowship.
Fellows are required to register officially as residents in Mainz and to take part in events at the Institute.
Fellows are not permitted to undertake paid work while receiving the IEG fellowship.
The linguae academicae at the IEG are German and English; fellows must have a passive command of both and an active command of at least one of the two languages so as to participate in the discussions at the Institute.

Please send your application via e-mail to: fellowship@ieg-mainz.de
Subject: Stipendienbewerbung

Website: http://www.ieg-mainz.de/en/fellowships

Deadline: October 1, 2017

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