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PhD Research seminar: Constitutionalists at a distance. The role of Iranians abroad in adopting a constitution for late Qajar Iran

Monday, January 30, 2023, 5:40 pm – 7:00 pm

The Department of History invites you to the PhD research seminar "Constitutionalists at a distance: the role of Iranians abroad in adopting a constitution for late Qajar Iran"

Speaker: Sara Zanotta, PhD. Cand., University of Pavia, Erasmus+ student at CEU


At the time of the 1905-1911 Iranian constitutional revolution, several parts of the world were experiencing as well different forms of constitutional developments or were on the verge of constitutional revolutions. As such, the Iranian reformers’ demands for a constitutional government did not occur in isolation. While mirroring some local peculiarities, they were inspired, influenced and up to a certain extent even prompted by developments occurring in other parts of Asia. Over the last years, the scholarship on the Iranian constitutional revolution has devoted more and more attention to some of the transborder connections of the Iranian constitutional movement, but only a few studies adopted a broad geographical scope, that examines connections with Europe as well as various Asian contexts. By and large, attention to the process of constitution-building and its possible impact on other foreign constitutional developments is still in an embryonic phase. As a consequence, this talk will present the preliminary results of a work-in-progress PhD research on the transborder connections of the Iranian 1906-1907 constitution-building process. It will examine the presence of Iranian communities abroad – particularly in the Ottoman Empire, the Caucasus and India – and how they acted as intermediaries in transmitting to Iran knowledge about the constitutional developments occurring in other parts of Asia at the end of the 19th century. This knowledge was not limited to intellectual reflections on the necessity to have a constitutional government but also paid attention to the actual content of other constitutions, therefore contributing to a process of translation, adoption and adaptation of foreign constitutional norms.