Dr Kaveh Yazdani

Kaveh Yazdani received his PhD degree in social sciences (Sozialwissenschaften) at the University of Osnabrück in 2014. His scholarly interests include the “Great Divergence” debate and the history of South and West Asia between the 17th and 20th centuries. Most recently, he was granted the Prince Dr. Sabbar Farman-Farmaian fellowship at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam where he works on the socio-economic impact of India’s Parsis on Persia’s Zoroastrians (1853-1925) under the supervision of Touraj Atabaki

Kaveh Yazdani’s previous research includes the “Great Divergence” debate, Mughal and post-Mughal India, the history of 17th to 19th century Gujarat, Mysore under the reign of Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan, and the socio-economic history of Persia’s Zoroastrians (1850-1925). At the CISA he will focus his research on the transitional state of South and West Asia’s history of ideas between the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to that, he will also examine Indo-Persian relationships between the 17th and 20th centuries. How ‘modern’ was the level of critical thinking and Indo-Persian curiosity vis-à-vis the West? How did the late 18th and 19th century Indo-Persian elites perceive socio-economic, techno-scientific, political and cultural developments within Europe? What kind of influence did the Indo-Persian intelligentsia exert in the intellectual arena of the Persianate world? In the 17th and especially 18th and 19th centuries, we come across a number of West and South Asian, most notably Ottoman and Indo-Persian, nobles, scholar-bureaucrats or notables (ay’an), merchants and rulers, who, far from being indifferent, showed a keen interest in European ideas and innovations. In the late 18th century, we know of six Indo-Persians who wrote travel narratives about Europe. Among these, five were Muslims and one was an Armenian Christian. The examination of the works of the largely forgotten Indo-Persian scholar-bureaucrats, their evaluation of European techno-scientific, socio-economic, political and cultural developments as well as their possible impact help shedding light on the intellectual dynamism of the Indo-Persian world of the 18th and 19th centuries.