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This study examines both the conditions that generated the ideas leading to the Dar al-Funun, the pivotal Iranian educational institution in the nineteenth century, as well as the people and the cultural and political environment that nurtured it. It explores the Dar al-Funun as a channel for the flow of scientific, cultural and intellectual innovation imported from western Europe to Qajar society and as an experimental space in which long-established ideas and practices were challenged. It also sheds new light on the secularization of education in Iran, which led to the Ulama's loss of control over educational affairs.
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