Thu, 01.12.2022 19:00

Between greater Khorasan and the Khorasan province - The continuity of Greater Khorasan in the social identity of Iranian Sunnis in Khorasan province

Bert Fragner Memorial Lecture 2022


Hessam Habibi Doroh, FH Campus Vienna

The Persian-speaking Iranian Sunnis of the Khorasan province feel a deep collective resonance with the historical roots of Greater Khorasan in their social identity. Even today, they continue to praise and illustrate the glorious Islamic past through their narratives. This is in contrast to most Iranian Sunnis with a non-Persian-speaking ethnic identity.

Historically Khorasan has long been recognized as the center of Sunni education. This dates back to the Seljuk period and the establishment of Sunni educational institutions such as Nizamiyyeh of Niyshabur. However, the central status of this eastern region of the Islamic world was diminished following the 15th century – in particular, due to the early 16th-century expansion of Shiʿi Islam under the Safavids. Yet the sense or idea of centrality has continued like a thread weaving through the social identity of the Iranian Sunnis in Khorasan and remains reflected in their religious and historical narrations today. This lecture explores this continuity of Greater Khorasan, shows how the historical roots of Khorasan shaped the social identity of Sunnis in the Khorasan province, and investigates transnational identity within the local social identity.

Presenters: Walter Posch (Institute for Peacekeeping and Conflict Management, National Defense Academy) und Florian Schwarz (Director Institute for Iranian Studies).





December 1, 2022

Bruno Kreisky Forum
Armbrustergasse 15
1190 Wien

organised by
Bruno Kreisky Forum
Institute of Iranian Studies