The idea of Iran-Turan

The idea of Iran–Turan in Iran and Central Asia has been the focus of attention of an international group of scholars for the last several years, which enabled us to organise our first workshop “Cultural Encounters across Central Asia” in Leiden (28-29 September 2012). It was a joint effort of Leiden University (Asian Modernities and Traditions), Cambridge University, and the British Institute of Persian Studies ( .

The activities of the Centre related to this project are focused on the following themes:

  1. Historical and geographical aspects of the idea of Iran–Turan.
  2. Iran–Turan in literature, mythology, folklore, art & architecture, music, opera, ballet, theatre, cinema and pop culture.
  3. Iran–Turan: historical encounters and perspectives (pan-Turkism; pan-Iranism; cultural and political Sovietisation/Russification/de-Islamisation, post Soviet and post-colonial re-Islamisation; new national cultural and political heroes in the post-Soviet era).
  4. Iran–Turan in Europe and Russia (European encounters with Turan and Central Asia; the Great Game; Asiatisation of Russian capitals; multiculturalism; European and Russian scholarship on the region; Russian Orientalism in Central Asia and the Caucasus). 
  5. Iran and Turan in India (historical and literary sources, artistic influences).

Among the conferences, seminars and workshops should be mentioned a special international conference pursuing similar themes and focusing on the topics of Orientalist art, “Orientality: Cultural Orientalism and Mentality” was organised at Pembroke College, Cambridge (17-18 May 2013) jointly with Qatar’s Orientalist Museum ( and many others.