Admission to the MA Middle Eastern Studies. Please, contact the student advisor or the instructor Dr. A.A. Seyed-Gohrab prior to registration for permission if you are interested in taking this course but NOT a student of the above-mentioned MA programme. Non MA Middle Eastern Studies' students will hear at the latest on September 8 whether or not they will be able to take the course and should think of an alternative in time.
This course is a weekly seminar, focusing on the influence of historical developments on modern Iranian society. For each seminar, students are required to read in advance selections from secondary literature and to analyze a limited number of passages from the primary sources (student with no knowledge of Persian will read sources in translation). Each session consists of two hours. In the first hour a general lecture is given and in the remaining hour, the students discuss a topic ranging from introduction of western political philosophy, to Constitutional Revolution (1906-1911), Aryanism, social reform movements, position of Iranian women, anti-imperialism, pan-Islamism, Islam and democracy, etc. Each student is expected to give one presentation on a specific topic from the overview.
One of the chief objectives of this course is to acquire insight into the way literature is used as a means to communicate various political views to a broad public in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Indo-Pakistani sub-continent. The students acquire knowledge on the interaction between politics and literature in the Persianate world. In addition, the students learn how to contextualize literary philosophical, and religious works in a wide range of modern political domains. They also learn how to present orally and in writing their findings to a specialist and broader audience.
Mode of instruction
Attendance and participation are obligatory. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment.
Each session consists of two hours. Students are required to read, in advance, selections from secondary, scholarly literature and to prepare several passages from a manuscript (a xeroxed copy of the relevant pages will be made available to the students).
Being absent without notification or failing to prepare the home work can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term paper and a failing grade for the course.
The course consists of twelve seminars. For each seminar, students are required to read in advance selections from secondary literature and to analyze a limited number of passages from the primary sources. Each session consists of two hours with one short break. The first hour is a general lecture while during the remaining hour, the students discuss their translations and analyses of a text. Each student is expected to give one presentation on a specific topic from the programme below. The final assignment for this course is an essay of 3,000 words, part of which should be an annotated translation of a literary text. Both primary and secondary literature are available from the lecturer. Students are responsible for their own photocopies of the texts.
- The course comprises 10 EC and the total course load is thus 280 hrs
• 26 hrs of the course will be spent on attending the class (2 hrs x 13 weeks)
• 52 hrs are to be spent on homework, i.e. reading the literature and studying the passages from the manuscript
• 30 hrs are set aside for the 2 presentations (prep. & 15 min. talk),
• 172 hours need to be spent on the final paper.
Presentations and paper.
Paper of 3,000 words (60%).
The final paper is written in two stages: a first version which will be commented on and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version. (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is a fictional date for administration purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convenor of the course.)
In order to pass the course, students must obtain an an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.
The course is an integrated whole. The final examination and the assignments must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.
If a student requests in writing a review of his/her paper within 30 days after publication of the exam results, a review will be organized.
A detailed list or readings per week will be provided at the start of the course.
The following topics will be discussed. This programme is provisional and may be subject to change.
- Constitutional Revolution (1905-11) and Secularization
- Clergy’s Role in Constitutional Movement
- Modernity and Tradition
4-5. Orientalism versus Occidentalism Jalal Al-e Ahmad
- Aryanism – Islamism:
7-10. Islam and “Third-Worldism”:
- The Rise of Iranian Feminism & the Constitutional Revolution (1905-11)
- Women Poets:
11-12. Politics and Literatures of the Iran – Iraq War (1980-1988)
Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply
Students with disabilities
The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.
Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).