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The Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran

$31.99 (G)

Part of Cambridge Middle East Studies

  • Date Published: September 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521687171

$ 31.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • This sophisticated and challenging book by the distinguished historian Ali M. Ansari explores the idea of nationalism in the creation of modern Iran. It does so by considering the broader developments in national ideologies that took place following the emergence of the European Enlightenment and showing how these ideas were adopted by a non-European state. Ansari charts a course through twentieth-century Iran, analyzing the growth of nationalistic ideas and their impact on the state and demonstrating the connections between historiographical and political developments. In so doing, he shows how Iran's different regimes manipulated ideologies of nationalism and collective historical memory to suit their own ends. Firmly relocating Reza Shah within the context of the Constitutional Revolution, Ansari argues that Reza Pahlavi's identification with a monarchy by Divine Right bore a greater resemblance to, and facilitated, the religious nationalism that catapulted Ayatollah Khomeini to power on the back of a populist and highly personalized mythology. Drawing on hitherto untapped sources, the book concludes that it was the revolutionary developments and changes that occurred during the first half of the twentieth century that paved the way for later radicalization. As the first book-length study of Iranian nationalism in nearly five decades, it will find an eager readership among scholars of the Middle East and those students more generally interested in questions of nationalism and ideology.

    • Radical new interpretation of Iranian history, which demonstrates the ideological connections between Mohammad Reza Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini
    • Situates Iranian nationalism within the context of the European Enlightenment
    • Written by one of the premier historians of Iran for students and scholars of the Middle East, political scientists and intellectual historians
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This excellent work asks these basic questions: what is an Iranian; and how has Iranian identity been shaped over the past 100 years? … an insightful discussion of issues of nationalism in modern Iran."
    Grant Farr, Middle East Media and Book Reviews (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521687171
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. An Iranian enlightenment
    3. The age of extremes
    4. The age of contestation.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • History of Modern Iran
    • Modern Iranian Politics
  • Author

    Ali M. Ansari, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Ali M. Ansari is a Professor of Iranian History at the University of St Andrews. His many publications include Iran under Ahmadinejad (2008), Iran, Islam and Democracy: The Politics of Managing Change, 2nd edition (2006) and Modern Iran since 1921: The Pahlavis and After (2003).

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