The Iranian revolution
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HPC105
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
This course will focus on the causes, development, nature and impact of the 1979 Iranian revolution, while reflecting on how the Islamic Republic was established and how the event is still influencing contemporary international relations and perceptions. With Iran regularly in the news, its regional power, its Islamist political model and nuclear status are important topics of debate.
This course will provide an historical overview able to frame many of the contemporary debates around Iran, while also addressing important discussions around colonial relations in the Middle East, politics in Muslim contexts, Islam and gender, or how the Iranian revolution has been represented in art and media.
Finally, by analysing images, speeches and individual testimonies connected to the Iranian revolution, this course will reflect on how to ‘read’ political events, such as revolutions and uprisings.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- the Pahlavi dynasty
- the 1953 coup
- the White Revolution
- Iran’s international relations before and after 1979
- Ideology and career of Ayatollah Khomeini
- the Iran-Iraq war
- Orientalism, Sykes-Picot and the Cold War
- Gender and Feminism in Iran
- Iranian revolution in media and art
- Iran today: the Iranian diaspora and the debate around the nuclear deal.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- identify some of the major causes of the revolution
- describe the nationalist, leftist, anti-monarchic and/or Islamic nature of the revolution
- state the significance of the event both regionally and globally
- understand the geopolitical, cultural and economic context in which the event unfolded.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course. There is no previous knowledge required or expected. A good level of English will be required to keep up with the course. As with all of our courses curiosity, an open mind, and willingness to engage is more important than any particular skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This online course will be taught through a combination of tutor presentations and class discussion. There may be some in- class reading, and engagement with testimonies, speeches and archive videos.There will be no work outside of class, although reading can be recommended for those who wish to look at the subject in further detail.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no other costs, but a pen and paper, or laptop, to write notes may be useful.
- Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge University Press,
- Ali Ansari, Modern Iran (Routledge, 2007).
- Said Amir Arjomand, The Turban for the Crown (Oxford University Press,
- Nikki Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution (Yale University
- Hamid Dabashi, Ideology of Discontent. The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (Transaction Publishers, 2006).
- Haleh Afshar, Islam and Feminisms. An Iranian Case-Study (Palgrave Macmillan, 1998).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please explore our autumn and winter range of politics, economics and history courses in the different sections on our websites.
Dr. Noman Hanif is a lecturer at Birkbeck with the department of politics. He specialises in global politics and international security with particular focus on the Middle East and Political Islam. He has a PhD in International relations from Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr. Hanif has taught at other universities including Kent, Royal Holloway and Exeter. Between 2009/10, he was visiting professor in global political Islam at the University of West Virginia, US.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.