ʿAlāʾ al-Dawla al-Simnānī between Spiritual Authority and Political Power: A Persian Lord and Intellectual in the Heart of the Ilkhanate, Giovanni Maria Martini investigates the personality of a major figure in the socio-political and cultural landscape of Mongol Iran. In pursuing this objective, the author follows parallel paths: Chapter 1 provides the most updated reconstruction of Simnānī’s (d. 736/1336) biography, which, thanks to its unique features, emerges as a cross-section of Iranian society and as a microhistory of the complex relationships between a Sufi master, Persian elites and Mongol rulers during the Ilkhanid period; Chapter 2 contains a study on the phenomenon of Arabic-Persian diglossia in Simnānī’s written work, arguing for its socio-religious function; in Chapters 3 to 6 the critical editions of two important, interrelated treatises by Simnānī are presented; finally, Chapter 7 offers the first full-length annotated translation of a long work by Simnānī ever to appear in a Western language.
Formation of a Religious Landscape: Shi‘i Higher Learning in Safavid Iran, Maryam Moazzen offers the first systematic examination of Shi‘i educational institution and practices by exploring the ways in which religious knowledge was produced, authenticated, and transmitted in the second half of Safavid rule (1588-1722). By analyzing the deeds of endowment of the Madrasa-yi Sulṭānī and other mosque-madrasas built by the Safavid elite, this study sheds light on the organizing mechanisms and structures utilized by such educational foundations. Based on the large number of
ijazās and other primary sources including
waqfiyyas, biographical dictionaries and autobiographies, this study also reconstructs the Safavid madrasas’ curriculum and describes the pedagogical methods used to transmit religious knowledge as well as issues that faced Shi‘i higher learning in early modern times.
Ästhetik, Politik und schiitische Repräsentation im zeitgenössischen Iran zeigt Christian Funke die Verflechtungen von Politik, Protest und schiitischer Materialität in der Islamischen Republik auf. Das Buch legt anschaulich und vielschichtig dar, wie die Proteste von 2009 und die ›Grüne Bewegung‹ mit umfassenderen Diskursen über Demokratie, Identität, Geschichte und Gegenwart sowie Religion und Politik verknüpft waren.
Funkes Argument fußt auf Interviews und intensiver Feldforschung und umfasst ein breites Themenfeld von Farben über Banknoten bis hin zu städtischer Raumordnung. Funke bietet einen neuen Ansatz zur Theorie und Methodologie von Religionsästhetik und wirft ein neues Licht auf die › Grüne Bewegung‹ , indem er die islamischen Ressourcen freilegt, mittels derer sich ihr Protest artikulierte.
Aesthetics, Politics, and Shiʿi Representation in Contemporary Iran Christian Funke explores the entangled relationship between politics, protest and Shiʿi materiality in the Islamic Republic. He shows how the post-election protests of 2009 and the ‘Green Movement’ were part of larger discourses on democracy, identity, the present and the past, and religion and politics.
Funke’s argument is based on extensive fieldwork and interviews. He covers a broad array of topics, ranging from the interpretation of colours to the use of banknotes to the emergence of an urban spatial order. Funke offers a novel approach to the methodology and theory of material religion and by revealing the Islamic undercurrents in the ‘Green Movement’, his book provides a new and more appropriate picture of protest and religion in Iran.
India, Modernity and the Great Divergence is an original and pioneering book about India’s transition towards modernity and the rise of the West. The work examines global entanglements alongside the internal dynamics of 17th to 19th century Mysore and Gujarat in comparison to other regions of Afro-Eurasia. It is an interdisciplinary survey that enriches our historical understanding of South Asia, ranging across the fascinating and intertwined worlds of modernizing rulers, wealthy merchants, curious scholars, utopian poets, industrious peasants and skilled artisans. Bringing together socio-economic and political structures, warfare, techno-scientific innovations, knowledge production and transfer of ideas, this book forces us to rethink the reasons behind the emergence of the modern world.
The volume demonstrates the cultural centrality of the oral tradition for Iranian studies. It contains contributions from scholars from various areas of Iranian and comparative studies, among which are the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian tradition with its wide network of influences in late antique Mesopotamia, notably among the Jewish milieu; classical Persian literature in its manifold genres; medieval Persian history; oral history; folklore and more. The essays in this collection embrace both the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, both verbal and visual media, as well as various language communities (Middle Persian, Persian, Tajik, Dari) and geographical spaces (Greater Iran in pre-Islamic and Islamic medieval periods; Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan of modern times). Taken as a whole, the essays reveal the unique blending of oral and literate poetics in the texts or visual artefacts each author focuses upon, conceptualizing their interrelationship and function.