MØNA2505 – Iran in the World: Politics, Society, Praxis

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course will directly address the complex nature of the politics and society of contemporary Iran to gain an oversight of its dynamic, internal dimensions and how they link with the country’s regional and extra-regional relations. Covering a range of approaches from Politics, Sociology, Comparative Politics, Visual Arts, and Anthropology, among others, “Iran in the World” addresses the evolving positions of modern Iran through weekly thematic discussions on its dynamics pertaining to politics, economy, identity, culture, religion and security. Engaging interdisciplinary scholarship, readings will highlight the tensions between state and civil society and the influence and involvement of regional politics and global networks, starting with the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century to its present status as an Islamic Republic. Iran will be framed as a vibrant country with rich and interrelated historical, political, cultural and religious contexts.

We will examine the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1925; the nationalization of oil by nationalist reformer Mossadeq; the development of the heterogeneous opposition movement against the Pahlavi regime; the occurrence of the “Islamic Revolution” of 1979; and finally, its almost forty-year long transformation into a post-revolutionary political system and regional power. Moreover, we will attend to themes highlighting the institutional structure of the state, focusing on the role of Western and regional powers in its formation and economic development. Discussions will also heavily feature the 1979 Revolution’s impact on state, society and political ideas and the ways in which scholars have sought to understand and interpret modern Iranian history.

Learning outcome

By taking this course, you are expected to:

  • know and understand the key players (local, regional, and global) and their motivations in the formation of the modern Iranian state
  • evaluate the significance of reformist and revolutionary elements in light of social and economic changes in Iran
  • be familiarized with domestic debates and theoretical positions internal to the Iranian sociopolitical landscape
  • examine, in a wider context, the impact of the 1979 Revolution on social forces in Iran and the rise of political Islam in the Middle East
  • address open questions in the relationship between the state and civil society from many historical and theoretical viewpoints


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

A good knowledge of English is recommended. 


Lectures and seminars.

The teaching is divided into lectures and seminars. There will be group presentations during the seminars and groups are determined first day of class. Class attendance and participation are strongly emphasized.

Compulsory tuition activity

  • Compulsory attendance of 80% 
  • Three individually written assignments
  • One presentation to be held in class

Each assignment will be provided with commentaries after the first submission, in order for the student to improve it. The students will have time to edit all three papers, and the final version of these will represent the final portfolio.

Each class will include student presentations by 2-4 students who act as discussion leaders. Presentations will be assigned during Class 1 and 2. They will commence in Class 2.

More information about the three assignments, the presentation and the deadlines will be given during class and in Canvas. You must submit the assignments within the given deadlines, and you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the requirements for the compulsory activities.

Valid absence

If you have valid absence from the compulsory activities, you must submit an application and hand in documentation. 

This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Portfolio assignment.

The portfolio assignment is the final version of the three mandatory individually written assignments.

You must fulfill the requirements of mandatory tuition activities in order to qualify for taking the exam.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2020


Spring 2020

Teaching language