"This is one of the finest works on the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. . . . Bayat’s meticulous scholarship has substantially raised the stakes in analyzing Iran’s Constitutional Revolution."—Mehrzad Boroujerdi, author of Postrevolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook
"Bayat’s Iran’s Experiment with Parliamentary Governance is simply magisterial in terms of sources, contexts, and analysis, but its importance goes beyond the hitherto neglected Second Majlis to re-center secular liberalism as the major thread in the whole of the Constitutional period, 1905-1911, with its preceding developments in the late 19th century and in Iran’s subsequent history."—G. R. Garthwaite, Dartmouth College
"A tour de force revealing both how the imperial powers undermined democracy and how eager the early reformers were in striving to establish parliamentary government in Iran. This groundbreaking work—a worthy continuation of her earlier work on the First Majles—helps debunk the widely accepted notion that early twentieth-century Iran was not yet ready for parliamentary government."—Ervand Abrahamian, Baruch College, City University of New York
For the past several decades, scholars have studied and written about the Iranian constitutional revolution with the 1979 Islamic Revolution as a subtext, obscuring the secularist trend that characterized its very nature. Constitutionalist leaders represented a diverse composite of beliefs, yet they all shared a similar vision of a new Iran, one that included far-reaching modernizing reforms and concepts rooted in the European Enlightenment. The second national assembly (majles), during its brief two-year term, aspired to legislate these reforms in one of the most important experiments in parliamentary governance.
Mangol Bayat provides a much-needed detailed analysis of this historic episode, examining the national and international actors, and the political climate that engendered one crisis after another, ultimately leading to its fateful end. Bayat highlights the radical transformation of old institutions and the innovation of new ones, and most importantly, shows how this term provided a reasonably successful model of parliament imposing its will on the executive power that was primarily composed of old-guard, elite leaders. At the same time, Bayat challenges the traditional perception among scholars that reform attempts failed due to sectarian politics and ideological differences.
Mangol Bayat has taught Middle Eastern history at several universities, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Iowa, and Harvard University. She is the author of Mysticism and Dissent: Socioreligious Thought in Qajar Iran and Iran's First Revolution: Shi'ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909.
7 x 10, 520 pages