See below for courses offered by affiliated faculty of the Roshan GIDP in Persian and Iranian Studies.
This course examines the history of the Iranian plateau from the rise and spread of Islam until the establishment of the Safavid Empire (1501). Thematically, it focuses on the impact of geography and the environment on social and political history; the conversion and Islamicization of local populations; the proliferation of communities and institutions of Islamic knowledge; the development of Persian Sufi literature and brotherhoods; state legitimization through the patronage of literature, court chronicles, and art; the rise of Shi`i messianic movements; and the role of women at court and in society. This course examines the history of the Iranian plateau from the rise and spread of Islam until the establishment of the Safavid Empire (1501). Thematically, it focuses on the impact of geography and the environment on social and political history; the conversion and Islamicization of local populations; the proliferation of communities and institutions of Islamic knowledge; the development of Persian Sufi literature and brotherhoods; state legitimization through the patronage of literature, court chronicles, and art; the rise of Shi`i messianic movements; and the role of women at court and in society. Graduate-level requirements include a final paper 20-25 pages including 15-20 sources. You are expected to write a historiographical paper that engages seriously with the secondary literature.
The modern Middle East in the age of imperialism, world wars, state formation, decolonization, and Islamic resistance. Graduate-level requirements include additional readings on selected topics and an extensive research paper.
Survey of Indian history from the 7th century to 1750. Graduate-level requirements include additional research or writing. See instructor for details.
What modernity is and how it came about have long been hotly contested questions. The relationship between modernity and colonialism has often been central in these debates. The course considers this relationship by investigating how intellectuals in colonized lands have understood and critiqued modernity in comparison with Western theories. Graduate-level requirements include reading secondary articles, a five-page paper for discussion, lead weekly readings, a more substantial final paper.
Origin and development of Sufism and its impact on Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.
This graduate seminar explores the rich legal, theological, and political traditions of Shi'ism.
Theory and research methods seminar exploring political identity formation in the Arab Mid East 19th Century to present especially culture of secular nationalism in the first part of the 20th century and political Islam in the late 20th century. Students will prepare major research paper.
This course introduces Middle Eastern women's issues through a critical reading of literary works written by women in the major languages of the Near East (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish) that are available in translation. Readings include poetry, short stories, and novels all analyzed within their social context. Graduate-level requirements include additional reading from the suggested bibliography, longer written papers, an oral presentation and bi-weekly meetings with instructor. Theoretical issues will be addressed and presented in additional material.
This advanced course begins with a survey of the basic Marxist concepts. Readings include Marxist original texts as well as critiques of Marxism. The course will then focus on past Marxist movements in the Middle East and will try to understand its continuing effects on the social and ideological movements there including Islamic fundamentalism. Undergraduate students may consult with the instructor to enroll in this class.
This course explores theories and representations of love in pre-modern Islamicate literature and philosophy. Today we often think of love as a personal emotional experience, but pre-modern authors theorized and portrayed love as a social, political, and even cosmological force. Through primary sources and scholarly studies, we will investigate how the language and structures of eroticism came to condition a whole range of interpersonal relationships, from political patronage to sufi discipleship and believers' relationships with God. We will also consider how the erotic functioned as an arena for ethical practice and self-shaping. Although all materials are provided in English translation, graduate students will also engage with Arabic, Persian, and/or Ottoman Turkish primary sources to the extent their language abilities permit.
This class investigates the praxis and representation of kingship in Islamic societies through the early modern period. It examines how pre-Islamic (and in particularly Iranian) notions and practices of political authority were creatively adapted within Islamic culture, with particular emphasis on how those notions changed over time in response to historical and social developments. Signicant topics include interactions between religious and political authorities, the patronage economy, and new discourses of legitimation after the decline of the caliphate.
Topics vary, including Classical Persian Literature in English Translation; Classical Persian Literature in the Original Language; Medieval Cultural and Political History of Persia; and Ancient Persian Language, Literature and Culture. Focus on student-faculty discussion/interaction and exchange of scholarly information, students engage in research activities and exchange results through discussion, reports, and/or papers. Graduate-level requirements include a class presentation.
Various topics including Modern Persian Literature in English Translation; Modern Persian Literature in the Original Language; Contemporary Cultural and Political History of Iran, Ideology and Revolution in Iran, and Women and Gender Issues in Contemporary Iran. Exchange of scholarly information, research by course registrants, exchange results through discussion, reports, and/or papers. Graduate-level requirements include a longer paper.
Iran has been lauded as one of the great exporters of cinema during the last two decades. During this time, Iranian films have won countless international awards and enjoyed great reviews. Through the analysis of movies, the history of Iranian cinema, cinematic criticism, and historical texts, this course helps students understand the process of social change in that society and the ways such changes influence the production of art.
This course considers Iranian society and culture from the point of view of the social sciences, supplemented by insights provided through fiction and film. Course content focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary Iran. Topics will include tribal society, rural society, urban life, and their interactions; social structure; Iranian identity; gender; minority groups, language; religious beliefs and rituals; and political movements. The class will pay particular attention to how Iranian society and culture have been studied, by whom, and how these have changed over time. The course will emphasize the subject of diversity in Iran, and have a particular focus on the large body of social science research conducted in and around Fars province and the city of Shiraz.