"The Most Magnificent Party in History" or "The Devil's Feast?": The Shah's imperial celebrations of 1971 and problems in the historiography of late Pahlavi Iran

Hosted by the Department of International History

Online Public Event, United Kingdom


Dr Robert Steele

Dr Robert Steele


Professor Vladislav Zubok

Professor Vladislav Zubok

Public Lecture

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Persepolis Celebration that marked the 2,500-year anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. This lavish spectacle was one of the iconic moments in the history of late Pahlavi Iran, often cited as a turning point towards the 1978-79 Revolution. In this lecture, Dr Robert Steele will provide a new history of the celebrations and their role in Iran’s history. He examines some of the problems in the historiography of late Pahlavi Iran that he encountered in the research for his recent book on the celebrations and offers some suggestions as to how these can be overcome.

Meet our speaker and chair

Dr Robert Steele (@rob_steele1) is a Visiting Research Fellow at LSE Department of International History. He is a historian of modern Iran, whose research focuses on the cultural politics of the Pahlavi state, and Iran’s global interactions during the late Pahlavi period. His first book, The Shah’s Imperial Celebrations of 1971: Nationalism, Culture and Politics in Late Pahlavi Iran, was published by I.B. Tauris in 2020. His current book project explores Iran’s interactions with Africa in the 1960s and 70s.

Professor Vladislav Zubok is Professor of International History at LSE.

More about this event

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day.

Sponsored by the Department's Contemporary International History and the Global Cold War research cluster.

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Banner: Cover of Paris Match (23 October 1971)