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

Undergraduate Course: History and Culture of Iran (IMES10099)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will study key moments in the development of Persian civilization, attempting to understand both the political and historical context of the Iranian past alongside the cultural and literary developments of the nation. The idea of 'Persia' will be critically explored and evauluated through discussion of the historical development of Iranian civilization over the late antique, medieval and modern period.
Course description This course will allow students to engage critically with key historical, cultural, and conceptual developments in Persian history and civilization. They will study the texts (in translation) and aspects of the material culture of Iran in order to analyze the methodologies of specific writers, historians, historiographers, artists, patrons, or audiences who crafted various cultural signifiers. In the process students will be encouraged to situate 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 influenced, and was influenced by, other societies, and identify the changing role the country has played on the international scene.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class Participation (500-word assignment): 10%
1500-word essay: 25%
2500-word essay: 65%
Feedback - Presentations: oral feedback in class
- Mid-term assignment: written feedback (form)
- Final assignment: written feedback (form)
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify the characteristic aspects of Persian history and place it within its cultural framework.
  2. Critically engage with and appraise the development of Persian literary and cultural models.
  3. Asssess the main historical and cultural phenomena of monarchy in Iran.
  4. Develop written and presentational skills.
Reading List
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.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Organise complex and lengthy arguments and draw these together into a coherent conclusion;

Summarise, interpret and critique the work of others by competent use of major theoretical perspectives and concepts in the academic study of history and culture;

Compare different sets of evidence to reach conclusions, using historical texts and documentation for a deeper understanding of history and culture in the region;

Collect and synthesise evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources applicable to the study of Iranian history, culture and politics;

Read and interpret a range of different sources for the study of Iran within its historical, social and theoretical contexts and be able to to differentiate primary from secondary sources.

Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable;
Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods and theoretical considerations relevant to Iranian Studies.

Course organiserProf Andrew Newman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4178
Course secretaryMrs Lina Gordyshevskaya
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