This chapter lays out the prevailing approaches to nationalism and historiography in different geographical contexts. It identifies three approaches to historiography--historiography as professionalization, as state ideology, and as a colonial and communal contestation—before assessing their relative applicability to late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Iran. In the course of considering these approaches, it poses the following questions: 1) How did patronage networks, schools, and state cultural institutions shape the writing and pedagogy of history?, and 2) How did the writing of local, literary, and women’s histories and biographies inform and define Iranian nationalism? Drawing on critical theories of institutions and the public sphere, it suggests that understanding the historian’s position and relative autonomy within certain institutions or public spheres sheds light on the reasons why certain historical narratives emerged at particular points in time.
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