Siavoshi, “Montazeri: The Life and Thought of Iran’s Revolutionary Ayatollah”

Next month, Cambridge University Press will release Montazeri: The Life and Thought of Iran’s Revolutionary Ayatollah by Sussan Siavoshi (Trinity University). The publisher’s description follows:

MontazeriBy the time of his death in 2009, the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri was lauded as the spiritual leader of the Green movement in Iran. Since the 1960s, when he supported Ayatollah Khomeini’s opposition to the Shah, Montazeri’s life reflected the crucial political shifts within Iran. In this book, Sussan Siavoshi presents the historical context as well as Montazeri’s own political and intellectual journey. Siavoshi highlights how Montazeri, originally a student of Khomeini became one of the key figures during the revolution of 1978–9. She furthermore analyses his subsequent writings, explaining how he went from trusted advisor to and nominated successor of Khomeini to an outspoken critic of the Islamic Republic. Examining Montazeri’s political thought and practice as well as the historical context, Siavoshi’s book is vital for those interested in post-revolutionary Iran and the phenomenon of political Islam.

Saffari, “Beyond Shariati”

This month, Cambridge University Press releases “Beyond Shariati: Modernity, Cosmopolitanism, and Islam in Iranian Political Thought,” by Siavash Saffari (Columbia University).  The publisher’s description follows: 

Ali Shariati (1933–77) has been called by many the ‘ideologue of the Iranian Revolution’. An inspiration to many of the revolutionary generation, Shariati’s 9781107164161.jpgcombination of Islamic political thought and left-leaning ideology continues to influence both in Iran and across the wider Muslim world. In this book, Siavash Saffari examines Shariati’s long-standing legacy, and how new readings of his works by contemporary ‘neo-Shariatis’ have contributed to a deconstruction of the false binaries of Islam and modernity, modernism and traditionalism. Saffari examines how, through their critique of Eurocentric metanarratives on the one hand and the essentialist conceptions of Islam on the other, Shariati and neo-Shariatis have carved out a new space in Islamic thought beyond the traps of Orientalism and Occidentalism. This unique perspective will hold great appeal to researchers of the politics and intellectual thought of post-revolutionary Iran and the greater Middle East.

De Nicola, “Women in Mongol Iran”

In February, the University of Edinburgh Press will release Women in Mongol Iran: The Khatuns, 1206-1335 by Bruno De Nicola (University of St. Andrews). The publisher’s description follows:

women-in-mongol-iranBruno De Nicola investigates the development of women’s status in the Mongol Empire from its original homeland in Mongolia up to the end of the Ilkhanate of Iran in 1335. Taking a thematic approach, the chapters show a coherent progression of this development and contextualise the evolution of the role of women in medieval Mongol society. The arrangement serves as a starting point from where to draw comparison with the status of Mongol women in the later period. Exploring patterns of continuity and transformation in the status of these women in different periods of the Mongol Empire as it expanded westwards into the Islamic world, the book offers a view on the transformation of a nomadic-shamanist society from its original homeland in Mongolia to its settlement in the mostly sedentary-Muslim Iran in the mid-13th century.

Mirsepassi, “Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought”

In March, Cambridge University Press will release Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought: The Life and Times of Ahmad Fardid by Ali Mirsepassi (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:

Transnationalism.jpgDuring the Iranian Revolution of 1978/9, the influence of public intellectuals was widespread. Many espoused a vision of Iran freed from the influences of ‘Westtoxification’, inspired by Heideggerian concepts of anti-Western nativism. By following the intellectual journey of the Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid, Ali Mirsepassi offers in this book an account of the rise of political Islam in modern Iran. Through his controversial persona and numerous public and private appearances before, during and particularly after the Revolution, Fardid popularised an Islamist vision militantly hostile to the modern world that remains a fundamental part of the political philosophy of the Islamic Republic to this day. By also bringing elements of Fardid’s post-revolutionary thought, as well as a critical analysis of Foucault’s writings on ‘the politics of spirituality’, Mirsepassi offers an essential read for all those studying the evolution of political thought and philosophy in modern Iran and beyond.

Ghamari-Tabrizi, “Foucault in Iran”

In August, the University of Minnesota Press will release “Foucault in Iran” by Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). The publisher’s description follows:

Focault in IranWere the thirteen essays Michel Foucault wrote in 1978–1979 endorsing the Iranian Revolution an aberration of his earlier work or an inevitable pitfall of his stance on Enlightenment rationality, as critics have long alleged? Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi argues that the critics are wrong. He declares that Foucault recognized that Iranians were at a threshold and were considering if it were possible to think of dignity, justice, and liberty outside the cognitive maps and principles of the European Enlightenment.

Foucault in Iran centers not only on the significance of the great thinker’s writings on the revolution but also on the profound mark the event left on his later lectures on ethics, spirituality, and fearless speech. Contemporary events since 9/11, the War on Terror, and the Arab Uprisings have made Foucault’s essays on the Iranian Revolution more relevant than ever. Ghamari-Tabrizi illustrates how Foucault saw in the revolution an instance of his antiteleological philosophy: here was an event that did not fit into the normative progressive discourses of history. What attracted him to the Iranian Revolution was precisely its ambiguity.

Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, this interdisciplinary work will spark a lively debate in its insistence that what informed Foucault’s writing was not an effort to understand Islamism but, rather, his conviction that Enlightenment rationality has not closed the gate of unknown possibilities for human societies.

Crone, “The Iranian Reception of Islam”

In June, Brill released “The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands,” by Patricia Crone (Princeton University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history,41vto0um7ol-_sx326_bo1204203200_ arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.

“The Arab World and Iran” (Saikal, ed.)

Next month, Palgrave Macmillan will release “The Arab World and Iran: A Turbulent Region in Transition,” edited by Amin Saikal (Australian National University).  The publisher’s description follows:

This volume focuses on interpreting the changing domestic and regional dynamics in the Arab world and Iran. Its chapters discuss an array of countries, events, actors, andUnknown issues – from an examination of the Arab Spring and the Tunisian democratic transition, to an exploration of the role of Saudi-Iranian geostrategic rivalry, to the impact of ethnic and sectarian politics in Syria, Iraq, and across the region. Chapters from expert contributors are organized into three parts. The first section of the volume covers the aspects and dynamics of change in the Arab world. The second examines the role of Islam, Islamism, Islamic governance, and sectarian and ethnic politics in the region. The third section focuses on Iranian domestic and regional politics. Yet the theme of transition is constant throughout as this multidisciplinary book draws connections across countries and events to not only inform about the prevailing regional situation, but also to invite readers to draw their own conclusions as to the future of the Middle East. Collectively the volume provides a fresh interpretation of the changing dynamics of the Arab world and Iran, unpacking the complexities of the disputes, conflicts, rivalries, failed goals, and processes of change and development that have made the Muslim Middle East so turbulent, directionless, and perpetually contested by both regional and international actors.

Ostovar, “Vanguard of the Imam”

Next month, the Oxford University Press will release “Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,” by Afshon Ostovar (Johns Hopkins University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are one of the most important forces in the Middle East today. As the appointed defender of Iran’s revolution, the Guards have evolved into a book coverpillar of the Islamic Republic and the spearhead of its influence. Their sway has spread across the Middle East, where the Guards have overseen loyalist support to Bashar al-Assad in Syria and been a staunch backer in Iraq’s war against ISIS-bringing its own troops, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Shiite militias to the fight. Links to terrorism, human rights abuses, and the suppression of popular democracy have shrouded the Revolutionary Guards in controversy.

In spite of their prominence, the Guards remain poorly understood to outside observers. In Vanguard of the Imam, Afshon Ostovar has written the first comprehensive history of the organization. Situating the rise of the Guards in the larger contexts of Shiite Islam, modern Iranian history, and international affairs, Ostovar takes a multifaceted approach in demystifying the organization and detailing its evolution since 1979. Politics, power, and religion collide in this story, wherein the Revolutionary Guards transform from a rag-tag militia established in the midst of revolutionary upheaval into a military and covert force with a global reach.

The Guards have been fundamental to the success of the Islamic revolution. The symbiotic relationship between them and Iran’s clerical rulers underpins the regime’s nearly unshakeable system of power. The Guards have used their privileged position at home to export Iran’s revolution beyond its borders, establishing client armies in their image and extending Iran’s strategic footprint in the process. Ostovar tenaciously documents the Guards’ transformation into a power-player and explores why the group matters now more than ever to regional and global affairs. The book simultaneously serves as a history of modern Iran, and provides a crucial and engrossing entryway into the complex world of war, politics, and identity in the Middle East.

“Inside the Islamic Republic”(ed. Monshipouri)

In January, the Oxford University Press releases “Inside the Islamic Republic: Social Change in Post-Khomeini Iran,” edited by Mahmood Monshipouri (San Francisco State University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The post-Khomeini era has profoundly changed the socio-political landscape of Iran. Since 1989, the internal dynamics of change in Iran,9780190264840 rooted in a panoply of socioeconomic, cultural, institutional, demographic, and behavioural factors, have led to a noticeable transition in both societal and governmental structures of power, as well as the way in which many Iranians have come to deal with the changing conditions of their society. This is all exacerbated by the global trend of communication and information expansion, as Iran has increasingly become the site of the burgeoning demands for women’s rights, individual freedoms, and festering tensions and conflicts over cultural politics. These realities, among other things, have rendered Iran a country of unprecedented-and at time paradoxical-changes.

Kondo, “Islamic Law and Society in Iran”

In January, Routledge will release “Islamic Law and Society in Iran: A Social History of Tehran” by Nobuaki Kondo (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies). The publisher’s description follows:

This book explores the legal aspects of urban society in nineteenth-century Iran. It provides the social context in which political process occurred and examines how authorities applied law in society, how people utilized the law, and how the law regulated society. The legal system was primarily derived from Islamic la

In his thorough analysis, the author focuses on two themes: the shari‘a court and vaqf (endowments). The shari‘a court was the location, where law was applied, and the author shows that the majority of courts in the country did not engage in disputes, lawsuits, and litigation, but were instead involved primarily in popular transactions such as sales, loans, leases, gifts, and other commercial contracts. This is one of the main reasons that led to the development of close ties between religious clerics as legal professionals, on the one hand, and, on the other, merchants, traders, and shopkeepers in Iranian society during this time period. The second topic, the law of vaqf, is considered to be the strongest among the contracts of Islamic law and an essential part in the development of an Islamic city. Vaqf deeds constituted one of the most common and important types of transactions dealt with by any shari’a court in Iran. Using the alterations that occurred in the legal terms of very important vaqf deeds as an example, the author argues that this traditional legal system was itself not static but had the potential for change and modification.

The relationship between Islamic law and society is still an important issue in Iran under the Islamic Republic. Despite all the debates that began from the middle of the nineteenth century and which promoted legal reform, little was changed substantively in the area of the day-to-day practice of law in Iranian courts until the present day. This book provides an understanding of this legal system and its role in society, and offers a basis for assessing the motives and results of modern reforms as well as the modernist discourse.

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