James Gustafson, New Book Talk: The Lion and the Sun: Nature and the Making of Modern Iran

College Hall 209

Text, "book talk."

Prof. James Gustafson (Indiana State University) will deliver a talk on his new book on environmental history in Qajar, Iran, The Lion and the Sun: Nature and the Making of Modern Iran.

The Lion and the Sun (I.B. Tauris, 2024) will be the first monograph length study on the environmental history of modern Iran.  This book draws together the pivotal centuries between the Little Ice Age crisis and the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty.  This book argues that severe ecological challenges dating to the late 17th century, and deepening after the fall of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722), drove a severe decline in the population and resource base of the Iranian plateau.  Drawing from a wide range of source materials including travel writing, local geographies, royal orders, endowment deeds, corporate archives, and tree rings, this work will reassess major themes in modern Iranian history around the interconnectedness of human and non-human elements of the environment. 

James Gustafson is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the International Studies program at Indiana State University.  Prof. Gustafson is a social and environmental historian of Iran in the 18th and 19th centuries. He received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2010.  He is the author of Kirman and the Qajar Empire: Local Dimensions of Modernity in Iran (Routledge, 2016) and has two new works coming out next year: The Lion and the Sun: Nature and the Making of Modern Iran (I.B. Tauris, 2024) and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian Commercial History for which is he served as senior editor for the Middle East.  In addition to his academic work, James Gustafson also serves on the Executive Committee of the Association for Iranian Studies.   

Flyer for "The Lion and the Sun" book talk.