October 29, 2014
The Middle East Studies Program presents a USC Dornsife-Farhang Foundation Iranian Studies Initiative Lecture
Neither East nor West: The Roots of the Iranian Quest for Self-Suficiency
Dr. Rudi Matthee
Distinguished Professor of History
Tuesday, Nov. 4
Mudd Hall of Philosophy, RM 101
4:00 – 5:30 PM
Surveying a long sweep of history, this talk will argue that Iran’s quest for
self-sufficiency has deep historical roots that are political as well as economic in nature. From the Safavid to the Qajars, one finds recurring attempts at import substitution as
well as frequent insistence on domestic production or the boycott of foreign goods. These patterns continued into the Pahlavi era. The shah used to boast about Iran’s
uniqueness and its ability to fulfill all of its needs itself; but shades of this belief are found among Iranians from all walks of life and educational levels.
Since the “rediscovery” of ancient Iran and the inculcation of its legacy as an integral part of Iran’s patrimony in the early twentieth century—and well before the advent of abundant oil wealth—Iranians have tended to see their country as a unique nation amply endowed with natural resources that could take care of itself without outside assistance, if only meddling outside forces and foreign powers would allow it to do so.
Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating lecture and discussion.