Welcome to the Institute of Iranian Studies


The Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews was formally launched on 31st October 2006 by Seyyid Mohammad Khatami. The foundation of the Institute was made possible through a generous benefaction the centre-piece of which will be a Persian language library. These books will be selected from a full list of Iranian publications and will reflect the strengths of the University of St Andrews in History, Politics and International Relations. The collection, which will be housed in the Main Library, will be the largest resource of its kind in the United Kingdom, if not Western Europe, and will form the basis of research and teaching in all aspects of Iranian Studies at St Andrews.

The function of the Institute is to encourage and facilitate research and teaching in all aspects of Iranian civilisation and culture. The philosophy of the Institute is inclusivity and engagement. While the principle beneficiaries of the Institute’s resources will be students and staff at the University of St Andrews, the collection and the research facilities will be open to all interested parties subject to a letter of introduction and registration.

Recent Research:

The proceedings of the conference, on Iranian Historiography  is due for publication this year by I B Tauris. For detail see here.

Professor Ansari's recent book length study of the 'Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran' is due for publication with Cambridge University Press in 2012. 

Ali Ansari, explores the idea of nationalism in the creation of modern Iran. It does so by considering broader developments in national ideologies which took place following the emergence of the European Enlightenment, and showing how these ideas were taken up by a non-European state.  The book charts a course through twentieth-century Iran, analyzing the growth of ideas and their impact on the state, and demonstrating the connections between historiographical and political developments. In so doing, the study shows just how the different regimes manipulated ideologies of nationalism and collective historical memory, to suit their own ends. Firmly relocating Reza Shah within the context of the Constitutional Revolution the study argues that his son’s identification with a monarchy by Divine Right bore a greater resemblance to, and facilitated the religious nationalism that catapulted Ayatollah Khomeini to power on the back of a populist and highly personalized mythology. Drawing on hitherto untapped sources, the book concludes that it was the revolutionary developments and changes that occurred during the first half of the twentieth century, which paved the way for the radicalisation that was to follow

Cultural Studies of Iran Forum:




Professor Carole Hillenbrand awarded the 2016 British Academy Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding

The 2016 British Academy Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding has been awarded to Professor Carole Hillenbrand OBE FBA, for her book ‘Islam: A New Historical Introduction’.

The jury, chaired by Professor Dame Helen Wallace DBE CMG FBA in nominating Professor Hillenbrand for this Prize said: ‘The jury applauds Professor Hillenbrand’s endeavours in translating scholarly analysis and deep historical knowledge into a volume designed to promote public understanding. These reflect her active engagement throughout her professional life in promoting the study of the Islamic world in the wider academic community.’

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School of History
School of International Relations
School of Modern Languages, Department of Arabic and Persian