© 2019

Taghi Erani, a Polymath in Interwar Berlin

Fundamental Science, Psychology, Orientalism, and Political Philosophy


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Younes Jalali
    Pages 1-15
  3. Younes Jalali
    Pages 17-29
  4. Younes Jalali
    Pages 31-42
  5. Younes Jalali
    Pages 43-52
  6. Younes Jalali
    Pages 53-69
  7. Younes Jalali
    Pages 71-84
  8. Younes Jalali
    Pages 85-103
  9. Younes Jalali
    Pages 105-117
  10. Younes Jalali
    Pages 119-137
  11. Younes Jalali
    Pages 139-153
  12. Younes Jalali
    Pages 155-179
  13. Younes Jalali
    Pages 181-194
  14. Younes Jalali
    Pages 195-226
  15. Younes Jalali
    Pages 227-259
  16. Younes Jalali
    Pages 261-277
  17. Back Matter
    Pages 279-301

About this book


A prominent civil servant, scientist, and intellectual, Taghi Erani was a pivotal figure in interwar Iran. Witness to two of the major political upheavals in the twentieth century—the rise of Pahlavi and the collapse of the Weimar Republic—he turned from fundamental science to leftwing activism and pacifism, leading to his arrest and death in prison. Younes Jalali traces his journey from Tehran to Berlin, where in the 1920s he crossed paths with the greatest German scientists and scholars of his day, including Max Planck, Albert Einstein, and Friedrich Rosen, and published seminal works on psychology and political philosophy. In the 1930s, as Reza Shah pursued rapprochement with the Third Reich, Taghi Erani was caught up in a crackdown on left-wing and pro-labor activists. His life and death offer a unique lens through which to view modern Iranian intellectual and political history.


Modern Iranian history The Islamic Republic Iran-Iraq War the Pahlavi regime Modernization in Iran interwar years in Europe Weimar Germany Weimar Republic Reza Shah Third Reich Qajar dynasty orientalism Friedrich Rosen history of psychology history of German science Comintern

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Saint-Nom-la-BretècheFrance

About the authors

Younes Jalali is a former assistant professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University, USA. Born in Iran and educated in the US, he is interested in the history of science and Iranian history.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Taghi Erani, a Polymath in Interwar Berlin
  • Book Subtitle Fundamental Science, Psychology, Orientalism, and Political Philosophy
  • Authors Younes Jalali
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-97836-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-07414-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-97837-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 301
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of the Middle East
    History of Germany and Central Europe
    Intellectual Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“A remarkable life, lucidly narrated, with valuable lessons for today.” (Noam Chomsky)

“This is an important and timely book on a neglected figure. It sheds much light on Taghi Erani and his circle, and also on the wider intellectual and political history of modern Iran.” (Stephanie Cronin, Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Research Fellow, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK)

“This book tells a fascinating story of an aspiring Persian scientist who, unintentionally, became a German ‘orientalist,’ and subsequently a psychological autodidact, philosopher of science, and leftwing political activist.  Drawing on sources in many languages, this transnational study offers unusual insight into the simultaneously exhilarating and treacherous worlds inhabited by non-western intellectuals in the twentieth century’s first half.” (Suzanne Marchand, Boyd Professor of History, Louisiana State University, USA)

“The fruit of many years of labor, this book elucidates the complications and politics of Iranian history through the lens of Erani’s spectacular life.” (Colin Atkinson FRS, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Imperial College London, UK)