Hamid Dabashi’s 2007 Iran: A People Interrupted is simultaneously subtle, passionate, polarizing and polemical. A concise account of Iranian history from the early 19th-century onward, Dabashi’s book uses his incisive analytical skills as a basis for creating a persuasive argument against the views of Iran that predominate in the West.
In Dabashi’s view, Western approaches to Iran have been colored time and time again by the assumption that it is somehow trapped between regressive ‘tradition,’ and progressive ‘modernity.’ The reality, he argues, is quite the opposite: Iran has its own distinctive ideology of modernity, which is nevertheless opposed to many Western ideals. In order to prove his point, Dabashi draws on a lifetime’s experience of literary criticism to analyse the relationship between Iran’s intellectual and political elites over two centuries.
His analysis provides the key evidence for his reasoning by teasing out the implicit assumptions that underly the texts and people he examines. Looking beneath the surface of the evidence, Dabashi finds – time and time again – the traces of a uniquely Iranian notion of modernity that is quite at odds with its Western counterpart.
Table of Contents
Ways in to the text Who is Dabashi? What does Iran: A People Interrupted say? Why does Iran: A People Interrupted matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited
Dr. Bryan Gibson is a diplomatic historian, who completed his PhD thesis, entitled, 'U.S. Foreign Policy, Iraq, and the Cold War, 1958-75,' at the LSE's International History Department.