Excerpt from Sa’di, Gulistan. Painter (unknown). Date 1427, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
The Franklin Book Programs (FBP) was a private not-for-profit U.S. organization founded in 1952 during the Cold War and was subsidized by the United States’ government agencies as well as private corporations. The FBP was initially intended to promote U.S. liberal values, combat Soviet influence and to create appropriate markets for U.S. books in ‘Third World’ of which the Middle East was an important part, but evolved into an international educational program publishing university textbooks, schoolbooks, and supplementary readings. In Iran, working closely with the Pahlavi regime, its activities included the development of printing, publishing, book distribution, and bookselling institutions.
This book uses archival sources from the FBP, US intelligence agencies and in Iran, to piece together this relationship. Put in the context of wider cultural diplomacy projects operated by the US, it reveals the extent to which the programme shaped Iran’s educational system. Together the history of the FBP, its complex network of state and private sector, the role of U.S. librarians, publishers, and academics, and the joint projects the FBP organized in several countries with the help of national ministries of education, financed by U.S. Department of State and U.S. foundations, sheds new light on the long history of education in imperialist social orders, in the context here of the ongoing struggle for influence in the Cold War.
This two volume book is the first critical edition of Henriyah Translation (tarjumah hinrīyah), the earliest Persian translation of “One Thousand and One Nights” (Maniahonar, 2022). Ganjavi has completed this critical edition based on two manuscripts of this translation. One is included in the Sir Edward Henry Whinfield Collection, which was bequeathed to the Indian Institute, Oxford, in 1922, and later transferred to the Bodleian Library. Today this manuscript is kept in the Bodleian Library with the reference number BP2531. The second copy of Henriyah Translation is held at Houghton Library, Harvard University (MS Persian 11). Its former owner had been Mary Pratt, who gifted it to Harvard College along with another 59 manuscripts of his brother, Herbert J. Pratt, back in 1915, a few months after the passing of Herbert.
Mahdi Ganjavi also edited and published Amir Hassanpour, The Peasant Uprising of Mukriyan 1952-1953: Consulate Documents, Diplomatic Correspondence, and the Press Coverage, Toronto: Asemana Books, 2022.
This book includes some of the documents held at Amir Hassanpour Fonds at University of Toronto Archives related to his research on the historiography of Mukriyan peasant uprising. In this sense, the volume can be seen in its relationship with another recent publication of the late Professor Amir Hassanpour, entitled The Peasant Uprising of Mukriyan 1952-1953 (Toronto: Iran Namag, 2021). The historical documents and archives related to that research have been collected and presented in this book as was Professor Hassanpour’s intention. These documents, apart from the information on the agrarian developments and peasant movements in Iran and Kurdistan, are useful for studies on the socio-economic structure of the region, the developments of the neighboring regions and their effects on Kurds in Iran, the methods and information sources of the US Consulate, and provides details about the economic, livelihood and agricultural situation of the region in early 1950’s. The Persian translation of the English declassified documents, historical dailies as well as the final manuscript preparation is completed by Mahdi Ganjavi. Professor Amir Hassanpour (1943-2017) was a prominent Kurdish-Iranian Marxist Linguist and Professor Emeritus of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto, where he taught from 1999 to 2009. His major research areas were Kurdish sociolinguistics, Kurdish history and nationalism, as well as peasant and social movements in the Middle East and Kurdistan.