Both East and West: A Commentary on the History of Modernity in Iran

Bilingual Lecture Series

Both East and West: A Commentary on the History of Modernity in Iran

A lecture by Afshin Matin-Asgari (California State University, Los Angeles)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
2:00 PM
365 Kaplan Hall

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Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, many Western observers of Iran have viewed a country torn between Eastern history and ‘Western’ modernity. This divide between religion and secularity has couched the analysis of political philosophy preceding the Revolution in this later dichotomy. Afshin Matin-Asgari instead proposes a revisionist work of intellectual history, challenging many of the dominant paradigms in Iranian and Middle Eastern historiography and offering a new narration. In charting the intellectual construction of Iranian modernity during the twentieth century, Matin-Asgari focuses on broad patterns of influential ideas and their relation to each other. These intellectual trends are studied in a global historical context, leading to the assertion that Iranian modernity has been sustained by at least a century of intense intellectual interaction with global ideologies. Turning many prevailing narratives on their heads, the author concludes that modern Iran can be seen as, culturally and intellectually, both Eastern and Western.

Afshin Matin-Asgari is Outstanding Professor of Middle East history at California State University, Los Angeles. He was born in Iran and completed his Ph.D. in Middle East history at University of California, Los Angeles. He was active in the international movement of Iranian students during the 1970s and took part in the 1978–1979 Iranian Revolution. He is the author of Iranian Student Opposition to the Shah (2002), which has been translated into Persian and published in Iran. Matin-Asgari has authored more than twenty articles and bookchapters on twentieth-century Iranian political and intellectual history.

Campus map is available HERE

Cost : Free and open to the public.

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Iranian Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, This event is made possible with the major support of the Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies and the Musa Sabi Term Chair of Iranian Studies.