BA in Oriental StudiesBA in Iranian Studies
Iran is a key country in the Middle East and to know Persian is essential for those who want to be involved in this part of the world. You can become a translator, a journalist, or work in broadcasting. There is always demand from diplomatic services. Because of the recent changes in the Middle East, many multinational companies are starting to invest in Iran so there are lots of opportunities in banking, commerce, oil and gas, and other international companies for those knowing Persian with a specialist knowledge of Iran.
Persian is one of the major languages of the contemporary Middle East. It is spoken throughout Iran and over large areas of Afghanistan; one of its branches, Tajik, is currently used widely in Central Asia. In the early modern period, Persian was the lingua franca for the educated élite in the Indian sub-continent and is still taught in Muslim communities today. Its literature contains some of the finest epic and lyric poetry and its general intellectual and artistic contribution to Islamic culture is unmatched. Since the ninth century when Persian (or Farsi) evolved, there has been little discrepancy between the spoken and written languages. In structure it is an Indo-European language (although written in the Arabic script), and therefore relatively easy to learn. Indeed, even in the space of an undergraduate course, it is possible to attain a good command of classical and modern Persian and to express oneself clearly and accurately in the language. There are none of the difficulties of a multiplicity of dialects or of a great chasm between classical and modern.
However, Iranian Studies is broader and distinct from Persian studies: the discipline of Iranian Studies focuses on broad trends in culture, history, language, religion and other aspects of historical Iranian peoples, such as Azeris, Kurds, Zazas, Lurs, Gilakis, Talysh, Pashtuns, Ossetians, Baluchis, Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, Parthians, Sogdians, Bactrians, Mazandaranis, etc.
For these reasons it is a sensible choice of subject for an undergraduate to make, since a thorough grounding can quickly be established from which the more challenging aspects of a different literature and culture can be explored.