History of Ideas in Persian Civilization

This course is intended to introduce students to the history and evolution of thought in the Persian civilization from ancient times to the Constitutional era; and to analyze the impact of these trends of thought on contemporary Iran.

Students explore the emergence of some of the key ideas and concepts among Iranians throughout history, in relation to law politics, religion, science, philosophy, and art, and their development into new conceptual forms and combinations until the present. They briefly investigate how those ideas interacted with and influenced social, cultural, political, and economic development and how some of the unresolved issues in the present connect with those key ideas and theories.

In the final weeks of the course, students learn particularly the ideas and theories of reform, modernity, and democracy raised in 19th century Iran, and are asked to identify the leading causes of Iran's stagnation in that period, and to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed solutions for Iran's progress, release from stagnation, and movement towards national revival.