‎‘The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History’ released‏ ‏

‎‘The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History’ released‏  ‏


What distinguishes this concise book is its equal look to various periods of Iranian ‎history through 16 articles authored by a team of historians, linguists and Iranologists. ‎‎‘The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History’ has been translated into Persian by ‎Shahrbanou Saremi and released by Qoqnous Publishing in 488 pages and 1100 ‎copies.  ‎

Iranian history has long been a source of fascination for European and American ‎observers. The country’s ancient past preoccupied nineteenth-century historians and ‎archaeologists as they attempted to construct a unified understanding of the ancient ‎world. Iran’s medieval history has likewise preoccupied scholars who have long ‎recognized the Iranian plateau as a cultural crossroad of the world’s great civilizations.‎

‎Iran’s dominance in the Middle East has brought it into conflict with the United ‎States and so it is the subject of almost daily coverage from reporters. Sympathetic ‎observers of Iran-students, scholars, policy makers, journalists, and the educated ‎public-tend to be perplexed and confused by this tangled web of historical ‎development. Iran, as it appears to most observers, is a foreboding, menacing, and far ‎away land with a history that is simply too difficult to fathom.‎

The Handbook is a guide to Iran’s complex history. The book emphasizes the large-‎scale continuities of Iranian history while also describing the important patterns of ‎transformation that have characterized Iran’s past. Each of the chapters focuses on a ‎specific epoch of Iranian history and surveys the general political, social, cultural, and ‎economic issues of that era. ‎

The ancient period begins with chapters considering the anthropological evidence of ‎the prehistoric era, through to the early settled civilizations of the Iranian plateau, and ‎continuing to the rise of the ancient Persian empires. The medieval section first ‎considers the Arab-Muslim conquest of the seventh century, and then moves on to ‎discuss the growing Turkish influence filtering in from Central Asia beginning in the ‎tenth and eleventh centuries.

‎The last third of the book covers Iran in the modern era by considering the rise of the ‎Safavid state and its accompanying policy of centralization and the introduction of ‎Shi’ism, followed by essays on the problems of reform and modernization in the Qajar ‎and Pahlavi periods, and finally with a chapter on the revolution of 1978-79 and its ‎aftermath. ‎

The book is a collaborative exercise among scholars specializing in a variety of sub-‎fields, and across a number of disciplines, including history, art history, classics, ‎literature, politics, and linguistics. Here, readers can find a reliable and accessible ‎narrative that can serve as an introduction to the field of Iranian studies. While the ‎number of monographs published within specialized subfields of Iranian history ‎continues to proliferate, there have been, to date, no books that attempt to produce a ‎comprehensive single-volume history of Iranian civilization.‎

Iranian Touraj Daryaee is Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and ‎the Persianate World and Associate Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for ‎Persian Studies & Culture at the University of California, Irvine. His previous books ‎include ‘Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire’, winner of the British ‎Society for Middle Eastern Studies book award‏.‏



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