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The Practice of Politics in Safavid Iran: Power, Religion and Rhetoric

The Practice of Politics in Safavid Iran: Power, Religion and Rhetoric
Colin P. Mitchell

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The Safavid dynasty originated as a fledgling apocalyptic mystical movement based in Iranian Azarbaijan, and grew into a large, cosmopolitan Irano-Islamic empire stretching from Baghdad to Herat. Here Colin Mitchell examines how the Safavid state introduced and moulded a unique and vibrant political discourse which reflected the social and religious heterogeneity of sixteenth-century Iran. Beginning with the millenarian-minded Shah Isma'il and concluding with the autocrat par excellence, Shah Abbas, Mitchell explores the phenomenon of state-sponsored rhetoric. He focuses on the large corpus of epistles, letters and missives produced by a developed Safavid chancellery which show how the Safavids forged and negotiated their political and religious sovereignty in a diverse and complex environment. A thorough investigation of the Safavid state and the significance of rhetoric, power and religion in its functioning, "The Practice of Politics in Safavid Iran" is indispensable for all those interested in Iranian history and politics as well as the wider world of Middle East studies.

Author Info

Colin P. Mitchell is Assistant Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, he has has held both a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Fellowship and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University.


Recipient of Honorable Mention for the Middle East Studies Association's 2010 Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award

Colin Mitchell has shown how Safavid ideology evolved, both for internal and external consumption, from the formative reigns of Shahs Isma'il and Tahmasp to the later maturity of the dynasty. This is a great and timely contribution to the study of the Safavid period.
– Professor Charles Melville, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

Mitchell’s command of Persian is outstanding, and his analyses are truly insightful...I cannot stress enough the unique and ground-breaking nature of this research.
– Professor Sholeh Quinn, Department of History, Ohio University

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: British Institute of Persian Studies

ISBN: 9781780760964
Publication Date: 30 Nov 2011
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 228
Width: 155

ISBN: 9781845118907
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2009
Number of Pages: 304
Height: 234
Width: 156

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