Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

History Lecture Series: The Introduction of Family Names in Iran

Tue, February 21, 2012 | SAC 1.102

1:00 PM

History Lecture Series
The Introduction of Family Names in Iran

Hossein Chehabi

Houchang Chehabi (History, Boston University)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:00 PM 

Student Activity Center, SAC 1.102


Family names were introduced in Iran in 1919 and made obligatory in 1924.  At the same time, titles were abolished. The two reforms are usually conflated, although they were enacted separately and motivated by different concerns: family names were necessary for establishing a national register of citizens without which conscription was impossible to implement, and the abolition of titles was part and parcel of toppling the Qajar dynasty with which they had come to be associated. This lecture traces the evolution of onomastics and legislation relevant to it in late Qajar and early Pahlavi Iran, and places it in the context of socio-political developments generally.  Where appropriate, comparisons are drawn with the Ottoman and Turkish experience.




Sponsored by: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of History, and the Institute for Historical Inquiry.

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