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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Florian Schwarz
HIST 494
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in Historiography

Advanced seminar examining central issues in historiography. Emphasizes reading, discussion, and writing.

Class description


As Iraq is going through a difficult process of drafting and implementing a new constitution, this course explores the emergence of constitutionalism in the Middle East during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The focus will be on the historical developments leading to the "constitutional revolution" and the first parliament in Iran 100 years ago in 1906. Which cultural and social transformations in the Middle East had led to the revolution in Iran? Why did Shiite clerics and religious dissidents, merchants and radical socialists join in common cause to impose a European-style constitution on the Qajar king of Iran? What did it mean to be "modern" in Qajar Iran, and is the concept of "modernity" meaningful in the context of 19th-century Middle East? And how have intellectual and political developments of the last 100 years shaped the way historians imagined and imagine the 19th-century Middle East? Asking these central questions, this colloquium takes a critical look at various interpretations of historical change in 19th-century Iran. We will analyze narratives by Iranian and Western historians from E.G. Browne's "The Persian Revolution" (published in 1910) to A. Najmabadi's "Women with mustaches and men without beards" (2005) and put them in their historiographic and cultural contexts.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Classroom discussion.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Weekly readings, short written reviews of readings, analysis of short primary texts (in English) or of visual primary sources (photographs, cartoons).

3 essays (critique and review of weekly readings, 2-3 pages) 30 %, participation 30 %, 1 term paper (10-12 pages) 40 %.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Florian Schwarz
Date: 10/18/2005