Cambridge Security Programme (CSP)

December 2007. The Cambridge Security Programme is operationally closed. This site is maintained as a historical archive. Information on this site is no longer current.


Qajar seal

War and Peace in Qajar Persia: Implications Past and Present

A two-day conference to be held on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 July
at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge U.K.

Background: Today events in the Persian Gulf appear to echo many of the power plays of the 19th century’s Great Game. States of the region again are seeking advantage over their neighbours. The issue of oil nationalism is at the top of the agenda as it was in the early 20th century. Great power dominance, indeed intervention, has become a central theme. Even the national interests of the Islamic Republic recall those of its Qajar predecessor in the delicacy of its positioning as a regional strategic actor, and energy prize. By focussing on the historical and geopolitical interactions between Western strategic interests and those of Iran and the larger Persian Gulf during the Great Game, this conference will offer new and critical historical insight on how they relate to current security and energy concerns. Improved comprehension of this under-analysed era should stimulate debate on how power and security are today being managed in the face of renewed international jockeying, oil geo-politics and religious revivalism.

Aims: As international tension focuses on Iran and the larger Persian Gulf, this conference brings together for the first time historians of the region with scholars of political, international and security studies. Its multidisciplinary dimension will highlight the historical continuities and linkages to current regional geo-strategic threats and instabilities. Only recently has documentation begun to emerge from Iran and its northern neighbours about the region’s complex relationship with Europe during the Qajar dynasty. Domestic political changes at the end of the Qajar period likewise strangely recall those of today with the same air of uncertainty and division – concessions and constitution then, versus modernisation and conservatism now.

Organisers: The International Qajar Studies Association was founded in 1999 to establish formal study of Iran’s history between 1778 and 1925, a period of restricted academic enquiry under the Pahlavi dynasty. IQSA thus offers a scholarly vehicle to encourage research into the era in which both the Great Game and the discovery of oil fundamentally changed the map of the region. The Cambridge Security Programme, which is co-hosting the conference, was founded in 2002 to encourage research into new ways of conceptualising security, stability and uncertainty in international society.

Conference Programme:

Friday 15 July 2005 Saturday 16 July 2005
9.00 am Registration, Tea & Coffee 9.00 am Registration, Tea & Coffee
10.00 am Introduction 10.15 am Introduction
10.30 am Panel One – Frontiers (Afghanistan, Ottoman, Russian) 10.30 am Panel Three – Conflicts over Resources
12.30 pm Lunch 12.30 pm Lunch
2.00 pm Panel Two – Treaties, Alliances and Diplomacy 2.00 pm Panel Four – Internal Security: Costs and Consequences
4.00 pm Tea & Coffee 4.00 pm Tea & Coffee
4.30 pm Keynote Talk 4.30 pm Keynote Presentation
5.30 pm Close 5.30 pm Close

Delegate Rates: Friday 15 July only £45.00; Saturday 16 July only £45.00; Both Friday 15 and Saturday 16 July; £80.00. Lunch is optional at a cost of £12.50 per lunch. To reserve a place at the conference please download, complete and return the registration form indicating your method of payment and send it to CSP. Once payment has been received, confirmation of your reservation will be sent.

For further information about the conference or to pay by Paypal please visit the IQSA website: