The analysis takes the 19th century Iranian travellers as a starting point who articulated an Instrumentalist Occidentalism which in essence tried to adopt western legal institutions and social thoughts compatible with their own ideas. The first generation of intellectuals in the early 20th century, then, developed a complex Institutionalist Occidentalism in accordance with the west-philia of that time. This helped them in their struggle against the existing domestic despotism. This was followed by the second generation of Iranian intellectuals who crafted a Contradictory Occidentalism to refashion Iranian nationalism in compliance with the newly emerging international order. To formulate an Authentic Self in the aftermath of the Second World War, anti-western nativism of the third generation of Iranian intellectuals took the upper hand after the 1953 coup. The book closes this journey by a reflection on the fourth generation of Iranian intellectuals’ post-Occidentalism which is an ongoing project by reformists based on post-Islamist ideas.
Iranian Intellectuals’ Discursive Articulations of the West seeks to make sense of these complex articulations. It thus transcends the overwhelming shadow of Orientalism in Iranian and Middle Eastern studies.