The Making of Qajar Tehran: Construction, Migration, Minorities

The Making of Qajar Tehran: Construction, Migration, Minorities

Tuesday, 1 May 2012 - 1:30pm
68 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6JF, the Middle East Centre
Professor Nobuaki Kondo
MEC Seminar

Nineteenth century Tehran evokes nostalgia in many of Iranian people. Tehran, the capital of Qajar Iran, frequently became the setting for movies and television dramas. A large amount of books have been published on Qajar Tehran with old pictures. Nasir al-Din Shah (r.1848–96) is one of the most well-known monarchs in the history of Iran. Qajar Tehran can be called a familiar past for Iranians.

However, in fact, this ‘familiar past’ mainly relates to Tehran during the second half of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, an earlier history of the city is not well documented by modern researchers because of lack of the sources. Using published and unpublished documents, this presentation explore how Qajar Tehran had constructed and developed until the end of the nineteenth century.

The presentation consists of three parts. The first part concerns the construction of the city, and challenges ‘a myth’ about it. In the second part, I will discuss migrations; both seasonal migrations around the city and permanent migrations to the city from provinces will be examined. The third part relates to ethnic and religious minorities that resided in the city. The presentation will describe aspects of urban life in Qajar Tehran as a multiethnic city.

Professor Nobuaki Kondo obtained his Ph.D. in 1997 at the University of Tokyo. He was Research Associate at Tokyo Metropolitan University (1994–2002) and is now Associate Professor at Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His research interests are Safavid and Qajar history, the history of Tehran, waqf, shari‘a courts, cultural contacts among the Persianate societies. His major publications include: “Shi‘i ‘Ulama and Ijāza during the Nineteenth Century.” Orient 44 (2009); “The Vaqf and Religious Patronage of Manūchihr Khān Mu‘tamad al-Dawlah.” In Robert Gleave, ed., Religion and Society in Qajar Iran. London:RoutlegeCurzon, 2005; (ed.) Persian Documents: Social History of Iran and Turan in 15th-19th Centuries. London: RoutlegeCurzon. 2003.