Call for paper proposals for a pre-arranged panel at the 10th European Conference of Iranian Studies, Leiden University, Netherland (21-25 August 2023)
The Wulff Archive: An Encyclopaedia of the Traditional Crafts, Technology, Science, Material Culture, and Art of Iran
Dr Mahroo Moosavi (University of Oxford, UK)
Dr Roxana Zenhari (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany)
Professor Pedram Khosronejad (Powerhouse Museum/Western Sydney University, Australia)
Johannes Eberhard Wulff was born in 1907 in Westphalia, Germany. In 1936, he was given an official position to go to Iran at the request of Reza Shah Pahlavi the king of Iran (r.1925-1941), to plan and set up the first ever schools of technical engineering, as foreign aid of the German government to the Iranian government. The first technical college was established by Wulff in Shiraz in 1937, and it was during the official opening of this school that he received a royal order from Reza Shah, to collect the necessary data for the preparation of an encyclopaedia of the “Traditional Crafts, Technology, Science, Material Culture and Art of Persia”.
In parallel with administering and teaching at the Technical Colleges in Shiraz, later in Isfahan and finally in Tabriz, from 1937 to 1941 Wulff travelled all around the country observing, interviewing, and photographing master craftsmen of many different guilds to record their techniques of production and tool making, to teach at his new schools and to use them as primary resources in his royal project. However, with the Second World War outbreak, and the invasion of Iran by the British and Soviet Armies in 1941, Wulff and many other Germans who were employed in Iran, were accused of being Nazi associates and sent to the Australian internment camps. In 1950 and following the release of the civilian internees in 1947 Wulff joined the University of New South Wales in Sydney, as a lecturer. In 1953 he retrieved all his research materials from Iran, including his notes, diaries, and photographs. In 1963 the Department of Industrial Arts at the University of New South Wales accepted Wulff as a doctoral candidate to work on a thesis based on his work on the traditional crafts of Iran. To complete his field research, Wulff returned to Iran twice during 1964 and 1965, and published a small part of his research in a book entitled The Traditional Crafts of Persia (MIT press, 1966). Having finished the project of documentation of the traditional crafts, art, science, and technology of Iran, Wulff died in 1967. His archive – the bulk of which are unpublished - was retrieved from his family in 2019 in Australia by Dr Pedram Khosronejad, is currently in his custody, and will be collectively used by the research project group in different modes and manners.
This is a call for papers for a prearranged panel at the 10th European Conference of Iranian Studies, Leiden University, Netherland on 21-25 August 2023. The panel and the parallel/consequential collaborative project aim to shed light on the significance of Wulff’s project as a basic research tool from different disciplinary angles, his potential agency in the development of the field of Iranian Studies, and his grand yet mainly understudied project of the documentation of the traditional art, craft, science, and technology of Iran. Identification, printing, and digitisation of Wulff’s archive with the goal of making this valuable collection available to the wider audience, publishing Wulff’s encyclopaedia of Persian traditional art, craft, technology, and science, and republishing his 1966 book is within the larger scope of the collaborative project.
Please send your abstracts (1500 characters), your CV, and your academic status and affiliation for being considered for this panel. Early career scholars and PhD candidates in art and architectural history, anthropology, and history of technology are also encouraged to apply. Interdisciplinary approaches towards the topic are welcome. The convenors are planning to run an online session soon, with the potential panel participants to further explain the direction/s of the project and possible avenues for collaboration.
Deadline: January 15th, 2023.
Please send your abstracts to all three convenors:
The accepted speakers will be in full charge of their costs including the conference registration, travel, and accommodation.
For more information about the conference, please visit: