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Call For Papers: THE IRANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION 1906-1911 - Centenary Conference


University of Oxford, Oxford.

30 July - 2 August 2006.

Organised by:
Iran Heritage Foundation and University of Oxford.

Conference committee:
Prof. Abbas Amanat, Prof. Houchang Chehabi, Dr. John Gurney, Mr. Farhad Hakimzadeh, Dr. Vanessa Martin, Prof. Mohammad Tavakoli-Targhi.

It is a hundred years since the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, the first event of its kind in the Middle East. The Revolution opened the way for cataclysmic change in Iran, heralding the modern era. It saw a period of unprecedented debate in a burgeoning press. It created new opportunities and opened up seemingly boundless possibilities for Iran's future. Many different groups fought to shape the course of the Revolution, and all sections of society were ultimately to be in some way changed by it. The old order, which Naser al-Din Shah Qajar had struggled for so long to sustain, finally passed away, to be replaced by new institutions, new forms of expression, and a new social and political order.

The Constitutional Revolution was an immensely complex event, involving different parts of the country in different ways, facilitating the rise of some whilst hastening the decline of others. It was bound up with imperialism and Iran's role as a buffer state between the British and Russian Empires, with the encroachments of the world economy, and with the introduction of modern technology. In social terms it created new opportunities for women, and influenced the evolution of minority identity. The ways Iranians saw their place in the world and remembered their past underwent a transformation. One of the earliest in the decade of revolution, 1905-1915, it had global reverberations from the Ottoman Empire to South East Asia.

The Revolution has been subject to a whole range of different interpretations, and it still raises a great many unanswered questions. Amongst them, for example, might be: What kind of a revolution was it? How far did Iranian society change as a result of the revolution, and how far did it remain the same? What precisely was the role of imperialism, particularly in the ending of the Revolution? In what ways were the ideas flooding in from Europe interpreted? How lasting were the institutions established by the revolution? What global influence did it have? How did it change the identity of Iran, and most particularly, how did it shape the country's future? We look forward to debating these questions and many others at the Conference.

Call for papers:
The Conference Committee proposes to organise panels on following subjects, and is open to innovative ideas:

The coming of the Revolution:
  Pre-constitutional ideologies; the political, social and economic background
The ideologies and identities of the Revolution:
  The liberals; the social democrats; the Islamists; nationalism
Established organisations and institutions:
  The court and the higher bureaucracy; the bazaar; the religious institutions
The emergence of new organisations:
  Political parties; the role of propaganda; the 'Anjomans'; the peasantry
Print, the press and the new technology:
  The political role of the press; printing and photography; cartoons
The arts:
  Literature and translations; poetry and drama
  The emergence into the public sphere; the growth of sociability
Ethnicity and the making of identity:
  The revolution and the evolution of ethnic and tribal identity
The religious minorities:
  Christians: Armenians and Assyrians; the Jews; the Zoroastrians; the Bahais: their contribution, their expectations, their wider significance
Religio-ideological groups:
  The Sufis, the Sheikhis, and the Babis; multiple identities
The regions:
  Tabriz and the north west; Mashhad and the north east; Isfahan and the centre; Bushehr and the south
Global dimensions:
  International events; international trade; imperialism: the British, the Russians and others
The subsequent impact of the revolution:
  The survival and demise of institutions; the role of the military; the changes in the law; building the nation
The Revolution in the global context:
  Reverberations and impact in the Ottoman Empire, the Levant, Egypt, the Caucasus, Central Asia, India, East and South East Asia; its place in the revolutionary decade
The Revolution and memory:
  The shaping of memory; new ways of remembering Iranian history; remembering the Revolution itself
Perspectives and narratives:
  The historiography of the revolution and its role in Iranian history; the long term impact

Prospective participants should send an abstract of 300 words by 1st January 2005 to Farhad Hakimzadeh, Iran Heritage Foundation, 5 Stanhope Gate, London W1K 1AH or send by email to Please submit abstracts in digital form using Microsoft Word. It is anticipated that papers will last 25 minutes.

Publication of proceedings:
The papers presented in the conference will be published in a volume of proceedings. All papers submitted should therefore be of publishable quality and constitute new work. All speakers must commit to publish their papers as part of the conference proceedings.

Iran Heritage Foundation, 5 Stanhope Gate, London W1K 1AH. +44 20 75846949 (tel), +44 20 75846709 (fax),

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