In the essays collected here, Abbas Milani uses an impressive array of cross-disciplinary Western and Iranian theories and texts to investigate the crucial question of modernity in Iran today. He offers a wealth of new insights into the thousand-year-old conflict in Iran between the search for modernity and the forces of religious obscurantism. The essays trace the roots of Shiite Islamic fundamentalism and offer illuminating accounts of the work of Iranian intellectuals -- both men and women -- and their artistic movements as they struggle to find a new path toward a genuine modernity in Iran that is congruent with Iran's rich cultural heritage. This book challenges the hitherto accepted theory that modernity and its related concepts of democracy and freedom are Western in essence. It also demonstrates that Iran and the West have more that brings them together than separates them in their search for such modern ideals as rationalism, the rule of law, and democracy.
Abbas Milani is currently a visiting professor of political science at Stanford University and a research fellow at Stanford Universitys Hoover Institution. he has been Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Notre Dame de Namur University since 1987. He has written and published extensively on Irans encounter with modernity.