With Iran constantly in world news headlines, there
is a heightened interest in Iranian studies, and as people, journalists and
governments reach out to scholars and experts in the field for answers,
organizations such as the International Society on Iranian Studies (ISIS) have found their role more important than
ISIS was founded in 1967 as an academic society to support and promote the field of Iranian studies at the international level. As a private, nonprofit and nonpolitical organization, its objectives are to promote high standards of scholarship in the field, encourage the teaching of Iranian studies, and facilitate scholarly exchange among its international membership. It is affiliated with the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and is run by an elected and executive council.
Now in its fortieth year, ISIS recently named a new president, Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh, Professor of Literature and Chair and Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at UC Irvine. The center will serve as ISIS’ new institutional home. ISIS is “the principal scholarly organization in the field,” says Dr. Rahimieh, and it is the largest professional organization for scholars participating in research in areas ranging from the language and culture of ancient Persia to the politics and social conditions of present-day Iran.
As an independent, multidisciplinary community of over 500 scholars, students and researchers, part of ISIS’ goal is to promote freedom of expression and the unrestricted pursuit of research, instruction and publication without fear of persecution. To achieve this aim, in 2005 ISIS organized the Committee for Intellectual and Academic Freedom (ISIS-CAIF) to monitor, document and publicize any infringement of Iranian academic and intellectual freedom.
Additionally, ISIS holds a biennial conference devoted to scholarly representations and panel discussions on a wide range of topics such as “Aspects of Feminism in Contemporary Iran,” “Economic Growth and Development” and “The Rhetoric of Mysticism in Iranian Poetic Tradition.” The conference is an opportunity for Iranologists from all over the world to convene and share their research in a central location. According to former 2003 ISIS president Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, “No more than half of ISIS members are located at American universities. Many of our members are in Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Japan is also well represented as is membership from Iran itself.”
For those who cannot attend the conference, ISIS also publishes Iranian Studies, the principal journal in the field. Edited by Homa Katouzian of the University of Oxford, Iranian Studies is a peer-reviewed journal of history, culture, and society. It covers all regions of the globe with a Persian legacy, in particular Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and northern India, as well as diaspora communities in Europe, United States and Canada. In addition to publishing Iranian Studies, ISIS also awards the annual Saidi-Sirjani Memorial Book Award to what it judges as the best new book on Iranian studies.
With a commendable mission, reputable history and engaged leadership, ISIS is an essential organization to nurture and expand. ISIS is a vital instrument for the dissemination and promotion of fair, accurate, and diverse research in the extensive universe of Iranian studies.
... Payvand News - 8/29/07 ... --