Cover: Onomastic Reforms: Family Names and State Building in Iran, from Harvard University PressCover: Onomastic Reforms in PAPERBACK

Ilex Series 23

Onomastic Reforms

Family Names and State Building in Iran

Product Details


$17.95 • £15.95 • €16.95

ISBN 9780674248199

Publication Date: 12/07/2020


120 pages

6 x 9 inches

13 photos

Ilex Foundation > Ilex Series


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In this concise and stimulating study of personal names in modern Iran, Chehabi provides an excellent manual of contemporary Persian onomastics while also shedding light on the complex relations between individuals and political society. Through reforms of their personal names, citizens became clearly identified as taxpayers, voters, and soldiers. Anthropologists and historians will find here a wealth of examples to help them understand how, thanks to their new civil status, Iranians looked at themselves, wishing to be perceived as part of the ‘civilized’ (i.e. Westernized) world.—Yann Richard

The project of imposing permanent patronyms on its populations is surely one of the earliest examples of state standardization. And, as Houchang Chehabi realizes in this luminous volume on Iran, it is a perfect lens for understanding modern state making. Deeply researched, bristling with thought-provoking aperçus, humor, and international comparisons, it enlarges our intellectual horizon.—James C. Scott

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