"The individual biographies sketched in this volume enrich social biography literature by giving voice to individuals whose lives would otherwise attract little attention from scholars engaged primarily in archival research."—International Journal of Middle East Studies
"In this insightful and original book, Yaghoubian examines Iranian nationalism from the perspective of the country’s Armenian minority. He makes an important contribution to the study of nationalism by linking a view from below—which focuses on how individuals are drawn to, interact with, and help shape nationalism—and a view of nationalism from the perspective of state minorities"—American Ethnologist
"Yaghoubian skillfully alternates between theoretical and socially grounded analysis: He starts and ends with thematic chapters that serve as bookends for five social biographies."—Middle East Journal
"Innovative and original, in addition to being highly informative. . . .This is what Yaghoubian offers: a history from below that gives voice to ordinary individuals finding themselves at the receiving end of identity formation. Hopefully, other scholars will follow the unbeaten track opened by Yaghoubian."—American Historical Review
Ethnicity, Identity, and the Development of Nationalism in Iran investigates the ways in which Armenian minorities in Iran encountered Iranian nationalism and participated in its development over the course of the twentieth century. Based primarily on oral interviews, archival documents, memoirs, memorabilia, and photographs, the book examines the lives of a group of Armenian Iranians—a truck driver, an army officer, a parliamentary representative, a civil servant, and a scout leader—and explores the personal conflicts and paradoxes attendant upon their layered allegiances and compound identities. In documenting individual experiences in Iranian industry, military, government, education, and community organizations, the five social biographies detail the various roles of elites and nonelites in the development of Iranian nationalism and reveal the multiple forces that shape the processes of identity formation. Yaghoubian combines these portraits with a theoretical grounding to answer recurring pivotal questions about how nationalism evolves, why it is appealing, what broad forces and daily activities shape and sustain it, and the role of ethnicity in its development.
David N. Yaghoubian is associate professor of history at California State University in San Bernardino. He is coeditor with Edmund Burke III of Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East, second edition.
6 x 9, 456 pages, 80 black-and-white illustrations