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BIPSIran’s Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and the Narratives of the Enlightenment

Gingko-BIPS Conference

British Academy, London

Convened by Professor Ali Ansari, British Institute of Persian Studies & Dr Barbara Schwepcke, Gingko Library

The Constitutional Revolution of 1906 is widely recognised by historians of Iran as the moment in which the foundations of the modern Iranian state and politics were laid. For all its practical and immediate failures, the Constitutional Revolution had a profound effect on the political culture of the country, establishing the principles of parliamentary representation and shaping popular attitudes towards the state long after the turmoil of revolt had subsided. Giving voice to powerful nationalist impulses, the causes and consequences of the Constitutional Revolution continue to dominate political discourse in Iran to this day.

This international conference will bring together scholars from East and West to discuss the intellectual roots and consequences of the Revolution. It will focus, in particular, on the impact of Enlightenment thought on the intellectuals that formed the vanguard of the Constitutional Movement and the means and ways in which they engaged with new ideas of political organisation and sought to make them their own. How did Iranian thinkers, scholars and political activists draw on and apply ideas of constitutionalism and the rule of law? How did they understand the challenges facing their country, and how, in particular, did they seek to inculcate a popular sense of patriotism and national purpose? The conference will also look at the historiography of the Constitutional Revolution; how it has been subsequently interpreted by both academics and politicians.

A central theme of the conference will be the intellectual engagement between East and West and the inter-relationship of ideas that emerged. It will be of interest to scholars of Iran, Europe and broader intellectual history.

Abstracts for papers should be submitted by Friday 17 April to Aran Byrne, details below. Proposals should be no more than 300 words long. Speakers will be given 15-20 minutes to present their papers at the conference. Papers should present original research, which expands the boundaries of knowledge, and which the scholars would like to be considered for publication.

Deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals: 17 April

Conference dates: 14-16 September

For further details please contact:

Aran Byrne. Email: aran@thegingkolibrary.com

The Gingko conference series brings together scholars from the East and the West. The Gingko conferences are designed to complement the Gingko Library, a project to publish one hundred books over the next ten years that present the latest work in all languages and across the full range of humanities, social sciences and sciences relating to the MENA region.

The conference will include an event in celebration of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s West-East Divan, published almost 200 years ago – with Mahmoud Dowlatabadi and Joachim Sartorius – and will conclude with an plenary discussion open to the interested public to provide a contemporary perspective and present an opportunity to take part in this scholarly debate.

The presentations and discussions will be recorded and made available as podcasts to reach a wider audience. Funding opportunities to cover travel and accommodation are available for scholars selected to speak at the conference. Selected papers delivered at the conference will be published together in a volume in the Gingko Library, following peer review. Speakers at the conference may also develop their papers into book-length proposals to be submitted to the Gingko Library.

The Gingko Library is a registered charity. It is committed to fostering intercultural dialogue and better understanding between the West and the MENA region.

The British Institute of Persian Studies is the UK’s foremost learned society dedicated to the study and research of Iran’s heritage and culture, including its languages, literature, arts, peoples and archaeology. Sponsored by the British Academy, the Institute is a self-governing Fellowship of distinguished scholars drawn from all areas of the humanities and social sciences within Iranian studies.