|Author||1300 named contributors|
|Subject||Iranistics and Greater Iran studies|
|Publisher||Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation, Brill|
|Media type||45 hardback volumes planned;|
16 volumes or 15 volumes and 5 fascicles as of July 2020 .
Encyclopædia Iranica is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times.
The Encyclopædia Iranica is dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the wider Middle East, the Caucasus, Europe, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The academic reference work will eventually cover all aspects of Iranian history and culture as well as all Iranian languages and literatures, facilitating the whole range of Iranian studies research from archeology to political sciences. It is a project founded by Ehsan Yarshater in 1973 and currently carried out at Columbia University's Center for Iranian Studies. It is considered the standard encyclopedia of the academic discipline of Iranistics.
The scope of the encyclopedia goes beyond modern Iran (also known as "Persia") and encompasses the entire Iranian cultural sphere, and far beyond. Relations of the Iranian world with other cultures (China, European countries, etc.) are also covered.
The project is planning on publishing a total of up to 45 volumes.
Ehsan Yarshater was the Founding Editor of Encyclopædia Iranica from 1973 through 2017. The current editor-in-chief is Elton Daniel. The editorial board includes, Mohsen Ashtiany, Mahnaz Moazami, and over 40 consulting editors from major international institutions doing research in Iranian Studies. Former long tenured editors include Ahmad Ashraf, Christopher Brunner, Habib Borjian, Kioumars Ghereghlou, Manuchehr Kasheff, Dagmar Riedel and Houra Yavari. A growing number (over 1,300 in 2016) of scholars worldwide have contributed articles to Encyclopædia Iranica.
In 1990, Ehsan Yarshater established the Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation (EIF), which serves to promote the cause of the Encyclopædia Iranica and to ensure its continuation. Over the years, Columbia University's Center for Iranian Studies (also founded by Yarshater) continued to coordinate and edit the Encyclopædia, while the EIF substantially sponsored the work.
The Foundation provides the full text of many entries (up to fascicle XVI/3) for free on the iranicaonline.org website.
From the inception of the EIF, Yarshater has been both President of the EIF and Director of the Center for Iranian Studies. Following his retirement as Director in 2016, a dispute began to emerge between Columbia and the EIF. Against the will of the EIF, Columbia contracted with Brill, an academic publisher, which subsequently published fascicles 4 and 5 of volume XVI in 2018 and 2019; the EIF protested the move. In 2019, Columbia University sued the EIF, seeking, among other things, a finding that the EIF owns neither a copyright nor an exclusive trademark right in the encyclopedia. The EIF countersued, alleging that Columbia breached its copyright in the encyclopedia, infringed on its trademarks and committed various acts of unfair competition. On July 31, 2020, a district court in New York granted a temporary restraining order against Columbia University and Brill, enjoining them from the publication of fascicle XVI/6.
As part of the dispute, there are now conflicting accounts as to the current state of the Encyclopædia Iranica. By Columbia's count, volume XVI is not yet completed, and they intend to publish the next fascicle (XVI/6). Meanwhile, the EIF issued a press release in July 2020, stating that it has now "published volume XVI", which consists of fascicles XVI/1 through XVI/3 only. The EIF considers fascicles XVI/4 through XVI/6 "counterfeit fascicles".
On March 25, 2007, the Associated Press released a news report about Encyclopædia Iranica, claiming that it is "U.S.-backed".Encyclopædia Iranica published an official response, saying the report was "inaccurate and libelous", that while the National Endowment for the Humanities supports the encyclopedia, the Endowment is "an independent federal agency whose many projects are reviewed and decided upon by independent panels of scholars", not the U.S. Government, and that only a third of the encyclopedia's budget is supplied by the Endowment, not half, as the Associated Press had claimed.
Many foundations, organizations, and individuals have supported Encyclopædia Iranica. The encyclopaedia has been sponsored since 1979 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the American Council of Learned Societies, Union Académique Internationale, Iran Heritage Foundation, and many other charitable foundations, philanthropic families and individuals.
In a review of Volume III, Richard W. Bulliet calls Encyclopædia Iranica "not just a necessity for Iranists [but] of inestimable value for everyone concerned with the history and culture of the Middle East". Ali Banuazizi, though, notes that its focus is on Iran "as perceived, analyzed, and described by its most distinguished, mainly Western, students". In 1998, the journal Iranian Studies devoted a double issue (vol. 31, no. 3/4) to reviews of the encyclopædia, coming to 700 pages by 29 authors on as many subjects.
As of July 2015, the online version of the Encyclopædia Iranica has almost 7,300 entries, of which about 1,100 entries are only available on the Internet. The following is a list of printed volumes, current as of July 2020 .
|Beginning and ending entries||Publication year||Volume number||ISBN|
|?B - AN?HID||1985||I|
|AN?MAKA - R AL-WOZAR||1987||II|
|?TA? - BEYHAQI||1989||III|
|B?YJU - CARPETS||1990||IV|
|CARPETS - COFFEE||1992||V|
|COFFEEHOUSE - D?R?||1993||VI|
|D?R?(B) - EBN AL-A?IR||1996||VII|
|EBN ?AYY - E?TED-AL-SAL?ANA||1998||VIII|
|ETHÉ - FISH||1999||IX|
|FISHERIES - GINDAROS||2001||X|
|GI?NI - HAREM I||2003||XI|
|HAREM I - ILLUMINATIONISM||2004||XII|
|ILLUMINATIONISM - ISFAHAN VIII||2006||XIII|
|ISFAHAN IX - JOBBI||2008||XIV|
|JO?I - KAARI, SA?D-AL-DIN||2011||XV|
In addition, the following fascicles of volume XVI have been published:
(*) Not recognized by the Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation, see § Legal dispute.