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Conceptualizing Iranian Anthropology: Past and Present Perspectives

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Conceptualizing Iranian Anthropology

Past and Present Perspectives

Edited by Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi

286 pages, 22 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-626-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2010)

ISBN  978-0-85745-651-9 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (June 2012)

eISBN 978-1-84545-795-2 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…the authors have put forward an urgent case for making Iranian anthropology a credible contributor to the production of disciplinary knowledge…this volume highly informative. It provides an impetus for the collectivity of Iranian anthropologists to start reflecting within multiple spaces and in broader frames on the history and the present-day development of the discipline in Iran.”  ·  Anthropology of the Middle East

The revolution provided a cusp that allowed “the anthropology in and of Iran” to accentuate the transition from the age of postcolonialism to the age of globalization and anthropology’s accommodation of that transition. This book is also important for the number of references it provides to postrevolutionary publications that have escaped other bibliographies.”  ·  International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

In all, these useful and informative articles assess the status of anthropology of/in Iran realistically, even candidly… [They] reflect the cautiously optimistic attitude at the time of the conference, a hopefulness that meanwhile has withered…[and] illustrate the difficulties of transplanting a young social science based on humanism and curiosity (rather than pragmatism) to a society that is distrustful of intellectual pursuits deemed as potentially dangerous to an authoritarian state.”  ·  Anthropos

The authors present an incisive and illuminating overview of Iranian anthropology…Despite [considerable] difficulties, the authors uniformly demonstrate a reflexive, ethically responsible, and politically aware anthropology and offer valuable insights about the greater emphasis on problem-focused research by Iranian anthropologists and the potential for a valuable future role for applied anthropology in Iran.”  ·  Choice

This book… is certainly an indispensable tool for anyone interested in anthropological research on the country. Essays are accompanied by bibliographies that often contain hidden or forgotten treasures. A comprehensive bibliography of anthropological studies of Iran in English collated by Hegland completes the book.”  ·  JRAI


During recent years, attempts have been made to move beyond the Eurocentric perspective that characterized the social sciences, especially anthropology, for over 150 years. A debate on the “anthropology of anthropology” was needed, one that would consider other forms of knowledge, modalities of writing, and political and intellectual practices. This volume undertakes that challenge: it is the result of discussions held at the first organized encounter between Iranian, American, and European anthropologists since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It is considered an important first step in overcoming the dichotomy between “peripheral anthropologies” versus “central anthropologies.” The contributors examine, from a critical perspective, the historical, cultural, and political field in which anthropological research emerged in Iran at the beginning of the twentieth century and in which it continues to develop today.

Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi is a social anthropologist, who worked at UNESCO in Paris from 1977 to 1984. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology at the Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen (Germany) and a member of the Competence Network Crossroads Asia. Her research is focused on mobility and development in the Iranian coastal areas of the Persian Gulf and the eastern Provinces of Khorassan.

Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology
Area: Middle East & Israel


Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi


Chapter 1. The Contribution of Foreign Anthropologists to Iranology
Ali A. Bulookbashi

Chapter 2. Storytelling as a Constituent of Popular Culture: Folk Narrative Research in Contemporary Iran
Ulrich Marzolph

Chapter 3. Iranian Anthropology – Crossing Boundaries: Influences of Modernization, Social Transformation and Globalization
Mary Elaine Hegland


Chapter 4. Anthropology in Post-revolutionary Iran
Nematollah Fazeli

Chapter 5. Making and Remaking an Academic Tradition: Towards an Indigenous Anthropology in Iran
Nasser Fakouhi

Chapter 6. Iranian Anthropologists Are Women
Soheila Shahshahani


Chapter 7. Applied Anthropology in Iran?
Jean-Pierre Digard

Chapter 8. Past Experiences and Future Perspectives of an Indigenous Anthropologist on Anthropological Work in Iran
Mohammad Shahbazi

Chapter 9. Anthropological Research in Iran
Lois Beck

Chapter 10. Being from There: Dilemmas of a ‘Native Anthropologist’
Ziba Mir-Hosseini


Chapter 11. Usual Topics: Taboo Themes and New Objects in Iranian Anthropology
Christian Bromberger

Chapter 12. Islamophobia and Malaise in Anthropology
Fariba Adelkhah

Chapter 13. Personal Reflections on Anthropology of and in Iran
Richard Tapper

Select Bibliography
Notes on Contributors

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