Summer 2016 - HIST 352 D100

Religion and Politics in Modern Iran (4)

Class Number: 4734

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SWH 10061, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 14, 2016
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: one of HIST 151, 249.



The intellectual and social history of greater Iran from the Safavids to the twentieth century. Emphasis will be on the relationship between religion and politics.


HIST 352 surveys the history of Iran from the period of the Safavid empire (1501-1722) to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with a particular focus on the problematic relationship between religion and politics. The first portion of the course situates Iran within a larger framework: the clarification of Iranian identity; the ecological trilogy of city, village, and nomad; perspectives on sexuality and gender; and the unique qualities of the Iranian practice of Shi’ite Islam. The second portion of the course addresses early modern Iran from the appearance of the Safavids to the eighteenth century decline: concepts and strategies of empire; state and sub-state formation; the articulation of ethnic and national identities; and the emergence and disputation of forms of Shi’isms. The third portion of the course focuses on Iranian modernity in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, with a focus on reactions to western imperialism, modernization, and nation-building. How do we account for shifts in economic, coercive, and ideational power? How do we understand Iranian movements of nationalism, reform, modernism, constitutionalism, clericalism, revolution, and Islamism? What does the Iranian experience tell us of the limitations of modernization, secularization, and revolution theory?


  • Term paper 40%
  • Final examination 40%
  • Paper proposal 10%
  • Tutorial participation 10%



Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran (paperback)

Roy Mottahedeh, The Mantle of the Prophet (paperback)

D. MacLean, comp., Religion and Politics in Modern Iran: A Sourcebook

Registrar Notes:

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SFU’s Academic Integrity web site contains information on what is meant by academic dishonesty and where you can find resources to help with your studies.  There is also a section on tutoring.