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University of Michigan

1. Balaghi, Shiva. Nationalism and Cultural Production in Iran, 1848-1906.

Degree: PhD, History, 2008, University of Michigan

Iran emerged from the Age of Empire as an independent nation-state. This was no accident of history. Although Iran never became a colony, a protectorate, or a mandate, it came to occupy the geopolitical nexus of the imperialist contest for power. As Russia advanced further into Central Asia and Britain resolved to maintain control over its Indian and Arab territories, colonial attention became increasingly focused on Iran. The cultural terrain became a significant space for constructing and deploying colonial influence. The more transparent spheres of colonial power – brute force, diplomacy, and economic concessions – were not separate from the more oblique realms of influence – the literary, the textual, and the discursive. In the Iranian context, the nationalist struggle took shape against the backdrop of internal absolutism and colonial aggression; this struggle ultimately manifested itself as a constitutionalist movement. This dissertation examines the pre-history of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 within the context of the history of colonialism and nationalism. Specifically, it examines cultural production as a site of power between the state, the nationalist opposition, and the colonialist powers. Focusing on the production of new cultural forms such as secular educational institutions, the printed book, newspapers, and drama, the analysis entails a study of the development of a public sphere in Iran in which divergent social groups participated. Iranian nationalists in the late nineteenth century were mindful of increasing colonial incursions onto Iran’s internal affairs and of an increasingly autocratic state. In articulating a form of nation-state, then, they imagined ways to shift the right to construct and manage Iran's infrastructure to her own people. Increasingly, they imagined the Iranian people as citizens of a state, rather than subjects of a kingdom. Advisors/Committee Members: Eley, Geoffrey H. (committee member), Gocek, Fatma Muge (committee member), Messick, Brinkley M. (committee member), Mitchell, Timothy (committee member), Suny, Ronald G. (committee member).

Subjects/Keywords: Iran; Humanities; Social Sciences

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APA (6th Edition):

Balaghi, S. (2008). Nationalism and Cultural Production in Iran, 1848-1906. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Michigan. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Balaghi, Shiva. “Nationalism and Cultural Production in Iran, 1848-1906.” 2008. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan. Accessed March 18, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Balaghi, Shiva. “Nationalism and Cultural Production in Iran, 1848-1906.” 2008. Web. 18 Mar 2019.


Balaghi S. Nationalism and Cultural Production in Iran, 1848-1906. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2008. [cited 2019 Mar 18]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Balaghi S. Nationalism and Cultural Production in Iran, 1848-1906. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Michigan; 2008. Available from: