The involvement of Western Orientalists in cultural heritage affairs during the Pahlavi Era, Iran (1925-1979)

Sara Mahdizadeh, Reyhaneh Shojaei

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4 Citations (Scopus)


After years of neglect, along with the rise of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, Western Orientalist and Iranian enlightened thinkers provided a forum to proliferate the discourse on cultural heritage. During the Pahlavi epoch (1925–1979), Western archaeologists and architects were closely involved in cultural heritage affairs, which effectively manipulated the concept of Iranian nationalism, particularly by focusing on the pre-Islamic heritage. Despite the underlying role of the Western Orientalists in the conservation of architectural heritage, it has not been scrutinised yet, and a few publications merely studied their cooperation from an archaeological and architectural perspective. Employing an interpretive-historical research method using significant primary sources this paper examines the role and involvement of four key figures, namely Ernst Herzfeld, André Godard, Arthur Upham Pope, and Maxime Siroux, in the restoration projects that has simply slipped into neglect after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Drawing upon the under-researched and unpublished primary materials such as government letters and memoirs, this paper elucidates the involvement of Western Orientalists in conservation and/or destruction of cultural heritage in Twentieth-Century Iran.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169- 184
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Architectural Conservation
Issue number3
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

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