The Program in Iranian Studies Iran Colloquium presents
Kayhan Nejad, Ph.D. Candidate in History at Yale University:
“From the Oilfield to the Battlefield: Transcaucasian Labor and Iranian Constitutionalism, 1904-11.”
Even before the earliest stages of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1905-11), Russian and Caucasian socialists infiltrated and even co-opted Iranian revolutionary circles. The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) initiated these efforts in 1904 in Baku, coordinating with the Hemmat (Endeavor) Party to incorporate the underclasses of Muslim labor into the socialist fold. Partially due to the initiative of the RSDLP, migrant Iranian labor thus engaged with broader political trends in the South Caucasus during the Russian Revolution of 1905, inaugurating a transnational and cross-ideological alliance that would last until 1921. This talk reconstructs the recruitment of Iranian migrant workers by the RSDLP and other labor organizations in the South Caucasus from 1904 to 1911, and the parties’ parallel and contingent efforts to radicalize the early Constitutional Revolution. In doing so, it explores the ethnic delineations and ideological divisions between South Caucasian and Iranian laborers, as well as their unified response to the anti-constitutional coup of Moḥammad ‘Alī Shāh in June of 1908.
Kayhan Nejad is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Yale University, where he is completing his dissertation: “Between National Liberation and Global Socialism: The Formation of the Iranian Left, 1904-1921.” He has multiple forthcoming publications on the topics of early Iranian-Soviet relations and the Caspian Sea as a unit of historical analysis. He presently serves as student director for the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus.