Department of History, University of Connecticut
The Constitution and Governance in Post-Reza Shah Iran
With the revival of parliamentary government in post-Reza Shah Iran, the underlying problems of crafting an effective constitutional polity – long eclipsed by autocratic rule – resurfaced. As the primary vehicle for generating political legitimacy, the Constitution furnished a formal framework for parliamentary rule; it also contributed to impediments to effective governance. The issue of how to govern constitutionally but also effectively remained a crucial challenge, when the executive branch of the government was overshadowed by the politically unaccountable but institutionally powerful royal court. I will explore the ramifications of this crisis and briefly discuss attempts to overcome them.
Fakhreddin Azimi was born in Iran; he achieved the highest grade in the country-wide university entrance exam in the field of humanities and graduated (first class) from the School of Law and Political Sciences, Tehran University, where he edited a student journal to which faculty and well-known intellectuals contributed. Moving to England, he received his M.Sc. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and his D.Phil in 1985 from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, where he had the opportunity to work with A.H. Hourani, among others. He joined the University of Connecticut in 1991. His primary focus of research is the politics, society and culture of modern Iran. He is a Fellow of the Yale University Iran Colloquium. In addition to teaching courses on both the medieval and modern Middle East, Azimi is interested in historiography, the epistemology of history and the exploration of the conceptual and theoretical contribution of the social sciences to the task of historical investigation. He teaches a graduate seminar on history and theory. Dr. Azimi has numerous published works, including The Quest for Democracy in Iran: a Century of Struggle against Authoritarian Rule (Harvard University Press, 2008).