Dr. Föllmer’s research interest is the social and cultural history of 19th and 20th century Iran. She focuses on the images and discourses of the pre-Islamic past, the perceptions of and dealings with the ancient non-Islamic religious heritage, and Iran’s political, economic and intellectual trans-regional relations at that time. Trans-regional influences and the mutual exchange of ideas and concepts are central elements of 19th and 20th century history, e.g. for the role of religion in cultural and social developments, the images of the past, and the ethnic pluralism in a traditional Islamic Shiite society that has to be modernized. The focus is associated with questions on social and cultural identity, political self-awareness, and concepts of history.
Research focus: The history of the peoples who live in the Iranian plateau and whose native language is an Iranian language is a history of mutual exchange with their neighbors from ancient times until today. The exchange is mainly caused by trade relations, territorial occupations, and the change of powers in that region. In the course of centuries the Iranian societies who maintained their own cultural heritage and history formed a center for a regional power and trans-regional exchange with other societies and powers in the East and the West.