Encyclopædia Iranica

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Encyclopædia Iranica
Author 1200 named contributors.
Editor in chief
and founder: Ehsan Yarshater
Country United States of America
Language English
Subject Iranistics and Greater Iran studies
Genre Reference encyclopedia
Publisher Bibliotheca Persica Press[1]
Publication date
1985-present
Media type 45 hardback volumes
15 volumes have been published by 2009.
ISBN 1-56859-050-4
OCLC 59605200

Encyclopædia Iranica is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times. The Encyclopædia Iranica is dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the wider Middle East, the Caucasus, Europe, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The academic reference work will eventually cover all aspects of Iranian history and culture as well as all Iranian languages and literatures, facilitating the whole range of Iranian studies research from archeology to political sciences. It is a project founded by Ehsan Yarshater at Columbia University, started in 1973 at its Center for Iranian Studies, and is considered the standard encyclopaedia of the academic discipline of Iranistics.[2]

The scope of the encyclopedia goes beyond modern Iran (also known as "Persia") and encompasses the entire Iranian cultural continent, and far beyond. Relations of the Iranian world with other cultures (China, European countries, etc.) are also covered.

The project has published 15 volumes, and is planning on publishing a total of up to 45 volumes. The full text of most entries is available free for on-line viewing encoded with unicode.[f 1] Ehsan Yarshater stated that the completion of the project is scheduled for 2020 in an interview with BBC Persian. [3]

The editor-in-chief is Professor Ehsan Yarshater and managing editor is Ahmad Ashraf. The editorial board includes Nicholas Sims-Williams, Christopher J. Brunner, Mohsen Ashtiany, Manuchehr Kasheff, and over 40 Consulting Editors from major international institutions doing research in Iranian Studies.[4] A growing number (over 1,200 in 2006) of scholars from academic institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia have contributed articles to Encyclopædia Iranica.

Many foundations, organizations, and individuals have supported Encyclopædia Iranica. Since 1979, the encyclopaedia has been sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which, as of 2007 has been covering one-third of the project's budget for a few years.[5] The list of sponsors includes American Council of Learned Societies, Union Académique Internationale, Iran Heritage Foundation, and many other charitable foundations, philanthropic families and individuals.

On March 25, 2007, the Associated Press released a news report about Encyclopædia Iranica introducing it to the greater public.[6] This story was picked up by the news media, both print and online. For example, CNN International published it (with modifications) on their website. The article was prepared without its writer contacting the Editorial office of the Encyclopædia Iranica and contained serious inaccuracies such as "the Iranian government bitterly opposes the Encyclopaedia" and also inaccurate biographical details of Prof. E. Yarshater.[7] These inaccuracies prompted Encyclopædia Iranica to publish an official response.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Earlier Windows and Mac users required a simple free font download to display words showing their correct characters and accents.

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