Dr Tim Greenwood, Director
Professor Ali M Ansari, Founding Director
The Institute of Iranian Studies serves as a focal point for research and discussions of all aspects of Iranian civilization and culture, hosting conferences, seminars and workshops in St Andrews with the aim of drawing together academic and policy expertise. The philosophy of the Institute is based on the twin principles of inclusivity and engagement. It is therefore appropriate that the Institute is now represented in the Schools of Art History, Classics, History, Modern Languages and Linguistics and Social Anthropology. The Institute brings together staff and students working on any aspect of Iran, from the Achaemenids to the present day and a regular diet of seminars, lectures and other events fosters a sense of community as well as demonstrating intellectual engagement and vitality across the University and within the town; a number of events are open to the wider public.
Currently, there are 12 PhD students and 8 M.Litt students associated with the Institute, exploring a diverse range of fields, from the mythical bird Sīmurgh in the text and iconography of medieval Persia, to a critique of ideology and resistance in Naser-e Khosrow’s poetry. Since 2014 21 PhD students working in different fields of Iranian studies have graduated, most recently in September 2021. Their number includes Michael Pye, the Co-Chair of Symposia Iranica. The Institute also offers a Masters’ degree in Iranian Studies, the first taught postgraduate programme of its kind to be set up in the United Kingdom. Over thirty students have passed through this programme in the last nine years. Scholars and students here benefit from burgeoning resources as the cataloguing of some 6,000 Persian books and 800 films donated to the University Library continues. The Institute has also supported manuscript research in Special Collections as well as securing the loan of six Timurid manuscripts. Consequently, St Andrews is uniquely positioned to support postgraduates with Iranian research interests of many different kinds, with expertise in modern Iranian history and politics complemented by expertise in the classical, late Antique and medieval eras. We also look forward to launching St Andrews Iranian Studies imprint, Iran and Turan, through Gingko Library in the coming year.
At a time when the Middle East and particularly Iran is a focal point of public, political and academic interest, the University of St Andrews’ Institute of Iranian Studies provides unmatched intellectual leadership. Improving the perception, understanding and appreciation of Iran in the contemporary world – socially, religiously, and politically – and its wider heritage and culture are an integral part of our mission.