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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 (IMES11080)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description 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 analyse the methodologies of specific writers, historians, historiographers, artists, patrons, or audiences who crafted various cultural indicators, 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 student's analytical skills and their ability to read historical 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.
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:  10
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) Students are expected to have read the material for each week and will be graded on their class participation through the term (10%), a minor essay (1,500 words worth 25%), and a major essay (2,500 words worth 65%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the characteristic aspects of Persian history and place Persian history within its cultural framework.
  2. Demonstrate a clear knowledge of the main trajectory of Persian history and the corresponding development of works in the realm of culture, e.g. of art and literature.
  3. Assess, analyse and critique the various forms of primary and secondary source materials to an advanced level
  4. Understand the allusions to the historical development of Persian and Persian literary and cultural models within a wider international framework, especially that of the West.
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.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Jointly taught with UG - IMES10099
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Andrew Newman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4178
Course secretaryMrs Lina Gordyshevskaya
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