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The Historiography of the Persian Gulf: A Survey of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Persian Sources

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The Persian Gulf in Modern Times


A brief review of the critical primary sources on the Persian Gulf written in Persian reveals a situation not very different from the general state of Persian historiography. A few years prior to the Islamic Revolution of 1979, an Iranian professor of history assessed that “too much which is published on Iranian history continues to be either shallow, narrow, cliché-littered imitations of the not-so-great historians of the past, or are official glorifications of Iran’s present [the Pahlavi regime], not always consistent with the truth. The field requires a widely extended and earnest historical inquiry into the development of modern Iranian society through the exploration of its recent past.”1

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  1. Hafez F. Farmayan, “Observations on Sources for the Study of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Iranian History,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 5 (1974): 32–49; quote is on 32.

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  2. See Nikki R. Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 178, 185, 191

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  3. and Ervand Abrahamian, “Kasravi: The Integrative Nationalist of Iran,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 9, no. 3 (Oct. 1973): 271–95.

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  4. Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 116.

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  5. For more information see: Gholam R. Vatandoust, “Dialectics of Cultural Imperialism, Westoxication and Social Reaction in Iranian Historiography: The Historical Writings of Abdul-Hadi Hairi,” Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, vol. 9, no. 2 (Spring 1994): 27–46

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  6. also Muhammad-Husain Manzur al-Ajdad, “Ta’ammuli bar barkhi vizhagi-ha, didgah-ha va amuza-ha-yi duktur Abd al-Hadi Ha’iri” (A Reflection on Some Specifics and Viewpoints of the Teachings of Dr. Abd al-Hadi Ha’iri), Ganjina, vols. 2 & 3, nos. 10–11 (1372/1993): 70.

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  7. For a study of Shaikh Fazl-Allah Nuri see A. Ha’iri, Shi’ism and Constitutionalism in Iran (Leiden: Brill, 1977).

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  8. Ibrahim Kaziruni, Tarikh-i Banadir va Jazayir-i Khalij-i Fars (The History of Ports and Islands of the Persian Gulf), ed. Manuchihr Sutuda (Tehran, 1367 Sh./1988).

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  9. Muhammad-Husain Sa‘adat, Tarikh-i Bushihr (History of Bushehr), ed. Abd al-Rasul Khairandish and Imad al-Din Shaikh al-Hukama’i (Tehran: Miras Maktub, 1390 Sh./2011).

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  10. Homa Katouzian, The Political Economy of Iran (London: Macmillan, 1981).

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  11. See Sayyid Ghasem Yahosseini, Ra’is Ali Dilvari (Tehran: Nashr-i Shiraza, 1376 Sh./1997).

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  12. For a more recent publication on Ayatollah Sayyid Abd-Allah Biladi and the growing militarism and modernism during the early years of Reza Shah’s rule see Sayyid Ghasem Yahosseini, Chand Risala-yi Siyasi (Some Political Essays) (Bushihr: Intisharat-i Bushihr, 1382 Sh./2003), 329–444.

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  13. A book on the life and works of Shaikh Abdul-Karim Sa‘adat was recently published. See Ali Haqshinas, Banzyan-i Sa’adat: Ahval va Andisha-yi Banzyan Madrasa-yi Sa‘adat-i Bushehr (Founders of Good Fortune: The Circumstances and Thoughts of the Founders of the Sa‘adat School of Bushehr) (Bushihr: Intisharat-i Shuru, 1386 Sh./2007), 52–55.

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  14. See Gholamreza Vatandoust, “In Defense of the Persian Gulf: A Response to the Cambridge Encyclopedia,” The Iranian Journal of International Affairs IX, no. IV (Winter 1977/78): 620–27.

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  15. Books published by the Iranology Foundation include: Muhammad-Hasan Ganji, Javad Safinizhad and Muhammad-Baqir Vusuqi, Atlas-i Naqsha-ha-yi Tarikhiyi Khalij-i Fars (Atlas of Historical Maps of the Persian Gulf) (Tehran: Bunyad-i Iran-Shinasi, 1386 Sh./2007); and Majmu‘a yi Maqalat-i Khalij-i Fars (A Collection of Articles on the Persian Gulf) (Tehran: Bunyad-i Iran Shinasi, 1386 Sh./2007).

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Lawrence G. Potter

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© 2014 Lawrence G. Potter

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Vatandoust, G.R. (2014). The Historiography of the Persian Gulf: A Survey of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Persian Sources. In: Potter, L.G. (eds) The Persian Gulf in Modern Times. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

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