The Idea of Iran: Nationalism, Identity and National Consciousness among Diaspora Iranians

dc.contributor.advisorHughes-Rinker, Cortney
dc.contributor.authorSalimi, Darius
dc.creatorSalimi, Darius
dc.description.abstractAs a primary objective of this research, I will analyze the formulation and function of national consciousness among Iranians of the diaspora in practice. I aim to achieve this by examining the character, function and role of Iranian national consciousness historically and in the present. The Shahnameh, the Iranian national epic, has played a large role in the transmission of both dynastic history and Zoroastrian myth, as have archaeological discoveries dating to pre-Islamic times in more recent years. I find that in seeking to associate themselves with the glories of Achaemenid Ancient Persia, modern Iranians surprisingly and perhaps unknowingly inhabit the same ritual space as their Sasanian ancient Persian predecessors who sought to do the same. I examine how conceptions of “Iran” and “non-Iran” in texts dating to the Sasanian dynasty lend affect the formation of a national consciousness that stretches from the third century AD to the present, transmitted via the inheritance of the Shahnameh, and form part of the basis of modern Iranian nationalism among the diaspora. In order to examine the effects of both on the national consciousness and personal identity on individuals in the Iranian diaspora, I also developed a survey questionnaire, the results of which serve as one of the central points of investigation in this thesis. In light of a highly culturally diverse and increasingly important Middle East, in this thesis, I will illuminate the origins of nationality, identity and conceptions of nationhood in idiosyncratic Iran, a nation surrounded by others near in the most literal sense, but surprisingly distant in cultural mindsets and historical experiences. Iran has been oft-understood, discussed, dissected and generally-known, albeit mostly through the scope of Greek-speaking antagonists, the de facto forebears of future Western imperial powers. This study provides insight into Iranian identity and into the currents of nationalism that have shaped and continue to shape the Iranian collective memory and self-reflective cultural view, which distinguish Iran from its neighbors and portrays it as a highly idiosyncratic nation that must be understood and dealt with on its own terms.
dc.subjectAncient Persia
dc.titleThe Idea of Iran: Nationalism, Identity and National Consciousness among Diaspora Iranians
dc.typeThesis Mason University's of Arts in Anthropology


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