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Lecture and "Persia in Crisis" book signing at the Library of Congress

The Near East Section, the African Middle Eastern Division, at the Library of Congress invite you to a Lecture and Book Signing As part of the AMED Annual Nowruz Events Series, Marking the Arrival of Spring:

Dr. Rudi Matthee, John and Dorothy Munroe Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Delaware on his new book:

Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan

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Thursday, April 5th, 2012 - 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM
African Middle Eastern Reading Room
Jefferson Building, Room LJ-220 10 First Street, SE.

Free and Open To the Public
For Information contact:
Hirad Dinavari
(202) 707-4518 or

Please allow time to clear security

Request ASL and ADA accommodation five days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

Book Description: The decline and fall of Safavid Iran is traditionally seen as the natural outcome of the unrelieved political stagnation and moral degeneration which characterized late Safavid Iran. Persia in Crisis challenges this view. In this ground-breaking new book, Rudi Matthee revisits traditional sources and introduces new ones to take a fresh look at Safavid Iran in the century preceding the fall of Isfahan in 1722, which brought down the dynasty and ushered in a long period of turbulence in Iranian history. Inherently vulnerable because of the country's physical environment, its tribal makeup, and a small economic base, the Safavid state was fatally weakened over the course of the seventeenth century. Matthee views Safavid Iran as a network of precarious alliances subject to perpetual negotiation and the society they ruled as an uneasy balance between conflicting forces. In the later seventeenth century, this delicate balance shifted from cohesion to fragmentation. An increasingly detached, palace-bound shah; a weakening link between the capital and the outlying provinces; the regime's neglect of the military; and its short-sighted monetary policies combined to exacerbate rather than redress existing problems, leaving the country with a ruler too feeble to hold factionalism and corruption in check and a military unable to defend its borders against outside attack by Ottomans and Afghans. The scene was set for the Crisis of 1722. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of Iranian history and the period that led to two hundred years of decline and eclipse for Iran.

Professor Rudolph (Rudi) Matthee teaches Middle Eastern history, with a research focus on early modern Iran and the Persian Gulf. He received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He wrote The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730 (Cambridge University Press, 1999); and The Pursuit of Pleasure: Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900 (Princeton University Press, 2005). He co-edited, with Beth Baron, Iran and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Nikki R. Keddie (2000); and co-edited, with Nikki Keddie, Iran and the Surrounding World, 1501-2001: Interactions in Culture and Cultural Politics (2002). He published numerous articles on aspects of Safavid and Qajar Iran. His new book, Persia in Crisis: The Decline of the Safavids and the Fall of Isfahan, is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2011. Professor Matthee is the President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies, 2009-2011. Recipient of the 2006 Albert Hourani Book Prize, awarded by the Middle East Studies Association of North America, and winner of of the Said Sirjani Book Prize, 2004-2005, awarded by the International Society for Iranian Studies.

... Payvand News - 03/04/12 ... --

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