The Earliest Social History in Persian? A Preliminary Study of the ʿAẕb al-Bayān (1865)

Kioumars Ghereghlou
Thu November 30th 2023, 6:30 - 8:00pm
Event Sponsor
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies
Event is open to
Experience Type

Nineteenth-century Persian history writing has attracted surprisingly little attention in modern scholarship despite the profound formalistic and substantive transformations that informed its evolution under the Qajars (r. 1796-1925). National awareness emerges in scholarly literature as the commonplace umbrella term encompassing several disparate creative trends that, from the late 1820s onwards, led Persian-language historians and writers to adopt untraditional and critical approaches in their reconstructions and interpretations of social change and political action. This talk concentrates on theʿAẕb al-Bayān (Refreshing Discourse), a little-known historical account by Muhammad Husayn Afshar Qiriqlu, an India-based Iranian merchant, historian, and literary scholar, examining the importance of the text as a milestone in the evolution of history writing in nineteenth-century Iran. Completed in 1872 and published only partially in 1924 in Rampur, India, Muhammad Husayn’s account of the life and experiences of ordinary people in nineteenth-century Iran stands out as one of the most intriguing experiments in social history in Persian.

Kioumars Ghereghlou

Dr. Kioumars Ghereghlou is the Curator for Middle East Collections at the Stanford University Libraries. His most recent book is a critical edition of Hayati Tabrizi’s (d. after 1554) newly-found chronicle of the early Safavids and the opening years of the reign of Shah Isma’il I (New Haven, Conn.: American Oriental Society, 2018).

If you need a disability-related accommodation for this event, please contact us at iranianstudies [at] (iranianstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu).  Requests should be made by November 17, 2023.