“History is repeated”: The representation of Persepolis in the Iranian press of the 1930s

In: Die Welt des Islams
Bianca Devos University of Marburg, Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Iranian Studies

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From spring 1931 to autumn 1939, the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute conducted the first scientific excavations at Persepolis. The excavations coincided with a decade of profound change in Iran’s state and society. Under the rule of Reżā Shāh (1925-41), the Iranian state implemented a comprehensive nationalist and modernist reform agenda and propagated a distinctive national identity. The press played a crucial role in this process, informing the public about the excavations at Persepolis, a site that is highly significant for the narrative of the nation’s past. This article traces how Eṭṭelāʿāt, a leading Tehran newspaper, covered Persepolis and the archaeological excavations there. The aim in doing so is to illustrate how the Iranian press developed during the 1930s, a period during which the press was commercialized and professionalized and experienced increasing interference from the state’s censors.

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