Political upheaval has marked Iran’s history throughout the twentieth century. Wars, revolutions, coups and the impact of modernism have shaped Iran’s historiography, as they have the country’s history. Originally based on oral and written sources, which underpinned traditional genealogical and dynastic history, Iran’s historiography was transformed in the early 20th century with the development of a ‘new’ school of presenting history. Here emphasis shifted from the anecdotal story-telling genre to social, political, economic, cultural and religious history-writing.
A new understanding of the nation state and the importance of identity and foreign relations in defining Iran’s place in the modern world all served to transform the perspective of Iranian historiography. Touraj Atabaki here brings together a range of rich contributions from international scholars who cover the leading themes of the historiography of 20th-century Iran, including constitutional reform and revolution, literature and architecture, identity, women and gender, nationalism, modernism, Orientalism, Marxism and Islamism.