Tribes and Empire on the Margins of Nineteenth-Century Iran
These modern projects assimilated autonomous pastoral nomadic tribes on the peripheries of Qajar Iran into a wider imperial territory and the world economy. Tribal subjects did not remain passive amidst these changes in environment and society, however, and projects of empire in the hinterlands of Iran were always mediated through encounters, accommodation, and engagement with the tribes. In contrast to the range of literature on the urban classes and political center in Qajar Iran, Arash Khazeni adopts a view from the Bakhtiyari tents on the periphery. Drawing upon Persian chronicles, tribal histories, and archival sources from London, Tehran, and Isfahan, this book opens new ground by approaching nineteenth-century Iran from its edge and placing the tribal periphery at the heart of a tale about empire and assimilation in the modern Middle East.
"In taking the view from below, as it were, from the level of Bakhtiyari people and their leaders, Dr. Khazeni introduces here an entirely new historical perspective on the much romanticized Zagros peoples; incorporating ethnographic data and attending to environmental conditions he broadens the historical perspective to its fullest and allows an appreciation of the circumstances of life that transcends other historical accounts of conditions of the Zagros tribes; and in his extensive and thorough use of documents and illustrations of all kinds that pertain to Bakhtiyari history, his treatment of sources as a historian is flawless. Altogether, this exemplary book fully fits the scope and spirit of the Pourshariati Award."—Middle East Studies Association
"Arash Khazeni’s book fills an important gap in our understanding of tribes and center—periphery relations in the Qajar period, placing the Bakhtiyari tribes’ involvement in the Constitutional Revolution within the context of broader trends in Bakhtiyari politics and history."—Kamran Scot Aghaie, University of Texas at Austin
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