ISLAM 434 - Shahnameh: Iranian Myth, Epic, and History
Fall 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Islamic Studies (ISLAM)
Department: LSA II: Global Islamic Studies
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course is an introduction to Iranian myth, epic, and history through a close reading of the Shahnameh, the foundational text of Persian classical poetry and a major achievement in world literature. Written over a thousand years ago, the Shahnameh, or “Book of Kings,” is a repository of the historical and cultural memory of the Iranian people, weaving myth, epic, folklore, allegory, chronicle, romance, and tragedy into a grand narrative of Iran’s ancient past. Over fifteen weeks, we will read the entirety of the text in translation and discuss a wide range of topics, themes, and questions pertinent to it, such as the integration of Indo-Iranian mythology and Zoroastrian religious beliefs into an Islamic framework; competing notions of Iran as land, people, and nation; crises of justice both human and divine; the intersection of animality, the demonic, and femininity; the complex relations of kinship and kingship; story-telling and oral performance; and the interaction between individual episodes and the work’s overarching structure. Through their engagement with these topics, students can expect rigorous training in the skills of critical thinking and analytical writing, and to gain cultural fluency in a body of stories that continue to be told and retold to this day.

Intended Audience:

This course is best suited for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students interested in Iran, mythology, epic, fantasy, history, gender, animal and monster studies, and comparative literature.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly


ISLAM 434 - Shahnameh: Iranian Myth, Epic, and History
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

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