Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Shah-Rah or the King’s Road: Reinterpreting the European travel writings of Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar

Mon, October 8, 2012 | SAC 2.120

3:00 PM

Nasir al-Din Shah (r. 1848-1896), the longest reigning Qajar monarch traveled to Europe three times during his rule.  While he was not the first monarch from the region to travel to Europe, he was the first to record each travel extensively in daily diaries that were made public shortly after.  Until recently, these travelogues were dismissed by scholars for focusing on frivolous and repetitive information.  This talk presents a new interpretation of Nasir al-Din Shah's extensive travel writing by placing them in their own cultural and political milieu, and by focusing on the question of why the king would choose to so meticulously record his travels. 

Naghmeh Sohrabi is the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History and the Associate Director for Research at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis. Professor Sohrabi received her Ph.D. in History and Middle East Studies from Harvard University in 2005, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Crown Center from 2005-2007.  Her book, Taken for Wonder:  Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts from Iran to Europe was recently published by Oxford University Press.  Her new research focuses on the assassination of Nasir al-Din Shah in 1896 by a follower of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani.  In addition to her scholarship on the nineteenth century, Professor Sohrabi writes and lectures on contemporary politics and culture of Iran.




Sponsored by: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of History, Institute for Historical Studies

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