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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Postgraduate Course: The History and Culture of Iran: From Ancient Persia to Contemporary Iran (IMES11046)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course is intended to introduce students to the different approaches to the study of Persian civilisation and to familiarise them with the main debates, concerns and issues within Middle Eastern Studies and Classical Studies. Through a comparative and critical approach, it will examine the value and limitations of theoretical perspectives offered by related disciplines such as anthropology, political science, divinity and cultural studies.

This course will allow students to engage with key historical, cultural, and conceptual developments in Persian history and civilization. They will study the texts (in translation) and material culture of Iran in order to analyze the methodologies of specific writers, historians, historiographers, artists, patrons, or audiences who crafted various cultural indica, and they will be encouraged to set those developments within their specific historical and cultural contexts. In this way students will gain an understanding of how Persia developed, both as a nation and as a concept. This course will develop the students& analytical skills and their ability to read historical texts and literary texts, together with visual images, closely and meaningfully. The course also aims to bring students an awareness of how Iran affected, and was influenced by, other societies, and emphasize the role the country has played in the international sphere.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
& Obtain a thorough critical knowledge of the characteristic aspects of Persian history and place the Persian history within its cultural framework.
& Develop a clear knowledge of the development of Persian history and the corresponding development of works of art and literature.
& Assess, analyse and criticise the various forms of source materials.
& Gain an understanding to the allusions to the historical development of Persian and Persian literary and cultural models within a wider international framework, especially that of the West.
Assessment Information
Students are expected to have read the material for each week and will be graded on their class participation through the term, as well as on a 15 minute presentation. The breakdown for assessment is (15 minute) presentation/ participation 10%, essay (3000 words) 65%, and one other written assessment (1500 words) (to be determined with the course organiser) 25%.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1. Introduction: The Land of Iran
2. Medes and Persians
3. The Rest of the Achaemenid and Sassanids
4. The Umayyads and the Zoarastrian Texts
5. The Epic of Shahnameh: Looking Back and Influencing the Future
6. Poetry and literature of the Persian lands
7. Invaders and Tribes
8. Art and Architecture
9. Pahlavis and Khomeini
10. Film and the Performing Arts
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list On average three readings will be assigned each week as required reading. There is a longer reading list for each week from which students are expected to draw for their written work, as well as being encouraged to explore more widely.
In addition to the resources available in the library, students will find relevant material in a wide range of journals (available electronically).

Sample Bibliography

Allen, L. (2005a) The Persian Empire. London

Allen, L. (2005b) $Le Roi Imaginaire: an audience with the Achaemenid King& in O. Hekster & R. Fowler, eds. Imaginary Kings. Royal images in the Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome. Munich. 39-62.

Allsen, T.T. (2006) The Royal Hunt in Eurasian History. Philadelphia

Arberry, A.J. (1953) The Legacy of Persia. Oxford.

Axworthy, M. (2007) Iran. Empire of the Mind. A History from Zoroaster to the Present Day.

Beck, L. & Nashat, G., eds. (2003) Women in Iran. Chicago. 2 Volumes.

Briant, P. (2002) From Cyrus to Alexander. A history of the Persian Empire. Winona Lake.

Brosius, M (1996) Women in Ancient Persia (559-331 BC). Oxford.

Curtis, J. & Tallis, N., eds. (2005) Forgotten Empire. The World of Ancient Persia. London.

Curtis, V.S. (1993) Persian Myths. London.

Daryaee, T. (2009) Sasanian Persia. The Rise and Fall of an Empire. London.

Davaran, F. (2010) Continuity in Iranian Identity. London.

Davis, D. (2002) Panthea&s Cildren: Hellenistic Novels and Medieval Persian Romance. NY.

Dutz, W.F. & Matheson, S.A. (2001) Parsa-Persepolis. Tehran.

Frye, R.N. (1962) The Heritage of Persia. London.

Frye, R.N. (1996) The Golden Age of Persia. New York.

Garthwaite, G.R. (2005) The Persians. London.

Gershevitch, I. (1985) The Cambridge History of Iran. Volume 2. The Median and Achaemenian Periods. Cambridge.

Kuhrt, A. (2007) The Persian Empire. A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period. 2 Volumes. London.

Lincoln, B. (2007) Religion, Empire and Torture. The Case of Achaemenid Persia, with a postscript on Abu Ghraib. Chicago.

Llewellyn-Jones, L. & Robson, J. (2010) Ctesias& History of Persia. Tales of the Orient. London.

Mackey, S. (1996) The Iranians. Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation. New York.

Matheson, S.A. (1972) Persia: An Archaeological Guide. London.

Oakley, F. (2006) Kingship. Oxford

Porter, Y. (2003) Palaces and Gardens of Persia. Paris.

Root, M.C. (1979) The King and Kingship in Achaemenid Art: Essays on the Creation of an Iconography of Empire. Leiden.

Scholz, P.O. (1999) Eunuchs and Castrati. A cultural history. Princeton.

Yarshater, E. (1983) The Cambridge History of Iran. Volume 3 (pts 1 & 2). The Seleucid, Parthia and Sasanian Periods. Cambridge.

Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Nacim Pak-Shiraz
Tel: (0131 6)50 8432
Course secretaryMrs Linda Grieve
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114
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