HS1RCI-Revolutions and Coups: Iran and the West in the Twentieth Century

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Mr Darius Wainwright
Email: d.wainwright@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is optional for SINGLE HONOURS STUDENTS ONLY. The course introduces students to twentieth-century Iranian history, exploring the global and domestic events and ideas that have shaped the country, and how these have culminated in Iran’s turbulent relationship with the West today.


The aim of this module is for students to obtain an understanding of Iran’s historical development in the twentieth century. In particular, it focuses on how regional and domestic proceedings, combined with the country’s engagement with western powers, shaped the Pahlavi Dynasty’s rise and fall, the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and the subsequent establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • identify the sources of the topic in question

  • trace its historical development

  • be aware of the differing – and often competing – historiographical interpretations of the nature and causes of this development

  • understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively i n writing, both in timed exam conditions and assessed coursework

demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills. 

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims:

  • to encourage students to think independently

  • to help students develop good oral and written communication skills

  • to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations

  • to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources.

Outline content:

Beginning with the British-backed downfall of the ailing Qajari dynasty, this module considers Shah Reza Pahlavi’s attempts to modernise Iran prior to the 1942 Anglo-Soviet removal and replacement of the monarch with his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. We will then explore the 1951-1953 Anglo-Iranian Oil Crisis, an event that has shaped Iran’s approach to the West up until the present day, and Iran’s pivotal role in the Cold War, specifically how the newly-crowned Shah played th e superpowers off against each other. Among other things, the module will consider the broader ideology of Pahlavism, the ‘White Revolution’, and how US Presidents dealt with the Shah during the Cold War. The module will conclude by analysing the causes of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and examining how the Islamic Republic’s rise has shaped the country’s relations with the Middle East and the world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Teaching is by eight two-hour seminars over one term. Students are reminded to email their tutors for help and advice whenever needed and to note office hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Tutorials 16 1
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (directed) 16
    Exam revision/preparation 25
    Preparation for seminars 8
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 8
    Essay preparation 25
Total hours by term 74 0 26
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Written exam 50% 

one 1-hour unseen paper requiring 1 answer

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written assignment 50%:

1 written assignment of c. 1,250 words, to be submitted once via Blackboard on Turnitin, by 12 noon on the submission deadline in Week 11 specified on the module site on Blackboard.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40% overall. 

Reassessment arrangements:

Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon on the third Friday of August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: None

2) Specialist equipment or materials: None

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: None

4) Printing and binding: None

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: None

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: None

Last updated: 15 July 2021


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