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Oriental Studies – Iranian Studies

The beginnings of Iranian studies at the University of Warsaw date back to the 1930s. The first two decades after World War II brought a slow but steady development of Iranian studies through the efforts of Maria Sktadanek and Bogdan Sktadanek, both of them graduates of the Institute of Oriental Studies. The first enrolment in the Iranian Studies was in 1971. In 1996, the Senate of the University of Warsaw established the Department of Iranian Studies headed by Prof. Maria Sktadanek.

Iranian studies gradually expanded into various areas, retaining a distinct philological background. Ananiasz ZajiJczkowski translated the ghazals of Hafez, Barbara Majewska and Zofia J6zefowicz-Czabak (now J6zefowicz-Niedzwiecka) continued rendering Persian verse and prose into Polish. Other scholars of Iranian studies in Warsaw translated philosophical and historical masterpieces. The most significant of these is a critical Polish translation by Prof. Bogdan Sktadanek of the History of Sultan Mas’ud of Abu’/ Fazl Bayhaqi. The contribution made by Maria Sktadanek and Bogdan Sktadanek with their research, department management, and their educational work to developing the Department of Iranian Studies has been invaluable. Prof. Maria Sktadanek studied the poetry of Hafez and Oriental theory of literature. Her other interests have included Persian classical literature, mythology, and religion. Prof. Bogdan Sktadanek, the only Polish specialist on the history of Medieval Persia and a leading authority in this field, pioneered studies in the history of Iran. His interests include socio-political processes in Persia after the Arab conquest. His three­ volume History of Persia covering the period from the emergence of the Persian Empire to the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty is the effect of his research and teaching, the first publication of its kind in Polish.

The academic work of Maria and Bogdan Sktadanek opened up major possibilities for a further development of Iranian studies at the University of Warsaw, which were expanded to encompass research on Afghanistan.

The Department of Iranian Studies offers a three-year first-cycle and a two-year second­ cycle courses. The Department educates specialists in Persian language, social and cultural issues of Iran and Afghanistan, Persian and Afghan literature and culture, as well as in the religions, philosophy, and art of Iran and Afghanistan.

The Department of Iranian Studies conducts research in the following fields:

  • History of Iran and Afghanistan
  • Classical and modern Persian literature
  • Archetypical notions in the culture of Iran and Afghanistan
  • Classical and modern Persian philosophical and religious thoughts
  • Iranian cinema
  • Sufism and Shiite thought in Iran and Afghanistan
  • Social, political, and cultural issues of Iran and Afghanistan
  • Persian, Dari, and Middle Persian languages
  • Legacy of Pre-Islamic Persia
  • Ethics in modern Iran
  • Political and social thought of Iran in 19th and 20th centuries
  • Research on the mental status of the Shiite society of Iran using methods of modern sociology, psychology, and Oriental studies
  • History of Polish-Iranian relations

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