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HIST231: Empire and States in the Middle East and Southwest Asia

Unit 7: Persia Under the Safavid Empire and Beyond   The Shi’a Safavid Empire presented a major threat to the Sunni Ottoman Empire.  The two empires vied for power especially in Mesopotamia.  Although both were Islamic empires, they were political rivals and economic competitors.  The Safavids established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire.  Soon after its formation, this Shi’a empire cultivated trade and political relations with the Western powers, especially with Great Britain.  These relations mark the beginnings of European intervention in Iran.
           
In this unit, you will learn about the political, artistic, and cultural accomplishments of this empire and its relations with the neighboring Ottoman Empire.  In addition to two major dynasties—the Safavids and the Qajars— that ruled Persia between the 16th to the 20th centuries, you will learn about the European involvement in the region.  

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit will take approximately 16 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 9 hours ☐    Subunit 7.1.1: 5 hours

☐    Reading: 3 hours

☐    Web Media: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 7.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 7.1.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.2.3: 5 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain the rise and fall of the Safavid and Qajar Dynasties. - Describe the relationship between Persia and the European Powers. - Examine the cultural and artistic achievements of the Persians in the period leading up to World War I. - Describe and identify the role of women in Persian culture and history.

7.1 Political History   7.1.1 Rise and Decline of the Safavids   - Reading: Iran Chamber Society: Shapour Ghasemi’s “Safavid Empire 1502 – 1736” Link: Iran Chamber Society: Shapour Ghasemi’s “Safavid Empire 1502 – 1736” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entire article.  This reading will
introduce you to the Safavid Dynasty and its political
accomplishments.  After you read, write a brief paragraph or two on
the main accomplishments of the Safavid Dynasty.  You should
dedicate approximately 3 hours to reading, writing the paragraph,
and taking comprehensive notes on this text.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the
webpage displayed above.
  • Web Media: iTunes: BBC's Melvyn Bragg 's “Safavid Dynasty” Link: iTunes: BBC's Melvyn Bragg's “Safavid Dynasty” (iTunes audio)
     
    Instructions: Select “View in iTunes” for the “Safavid Dynasty” lecture.  The link will take you to an iTunes podcast where BBC’s Melvyn Bragg and his guests will discuss the rise of this dynasty and empire’s accomplishments.  Please listen to the entire podcast.  This audio file will complement the reading above and should take you approximately 2 hours to complete. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

7.1.2 Ottoman-Persia Relations   - Reading: Iranica Online: Ernest Tucker's version of “Ottoman Persian Relations: Afsharid and Zand Periods” Link: Iranica Online: Ernest Tucker's version of “Ottoman Persian Relations: Afsharid and Zand Periods” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article.  In the second half of the 18th century, the Safavid Dynasty was replaced by other ruling families, such as the Afsharids and the Zands.  This reading will explain the diplomacy between the Sunni Ottoman and Shi’a Persian Empires.  Pay particular attention to the negotiations to unite Twelver Shiism with the Sunni version of Islam.  The reading and taking notes should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

7.1.3 The Qajar Period in Persia   - Reading: Iran Chamber Society’s “The Qajar Dynasty” Link: Iran Chamber Society’s “The Qajar Dynasty” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text, which will introduce you to the last significant dynasty in Persia before the modern period.  The reading deals with the Qajar rulers and also Persia’s experience with European imperialism.  After reading this piece, write a page long paper explain the interaction between Europe and the Qajar dynasty.  The reading and writing should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above

7.2 The Persian Arts   7.2.1 Safavid Painting   - Reading: Art Arena: K. Kianush’s “The Safavids, 1502-1737” Link: Art Arena: K. Kianush’s “The Safavids, 1502-1737” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  Safavid art was best known for miniature paintings and carpeting.  This text focuses on Safavid painting.  Examine the images and try to appreciate the intricate motifs in the miniatures on this link.  The reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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7.2.2 Women in Safavid History and Art   - Reading: Iran Chamber Society’s “Women in the Safavid Era” Link: Iran Chamber Society’s “Women in the Safavid Era” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article.  The first part of this text talks about women in general in the Safavid Empire.  The second half of the reading focuses on the women in art.  The reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

7.2.3 The Qajar Art and Culture   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's “Persia under the Safavid Empire and Beyond” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Persia under the Safavid Empire and Beyond” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above to download the assessment.  Please write out approximately one paragraph answers for each question.  After completing this assessment, please check your responses against the Saylor Foundation’s “Guide to Responding to Persia under the Safavid Empire and Beyond.”(PDF)  Your answers should contain, but not be limited to, the information provided in the answer sheet.  This assessment should take approximately 3 hours to complete.

  • Reading: Iran Chamber Society: Mahshid Modares' “Cultural Improvements in Iran during the Qajar Period and the West” Link: Iran Chamber Society: Mahshid Modares' “Cultural Improvements in Iran during the Qajar Period and the West” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the entire text, which talks about the Persian cultural advancements under the Qajars and also how Iran and the West interacted in cultural and artistic spheres in the 19th century.  After you read, write a brief paragraph or two that summarizes the cultural improvements in Iran during the Qajar Period.  You should dedicate about 2 hours to reading the text, taking notes, and writing the summary.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.