How does this field of research fit into your body of work?
As an Iranologist I must constantly deal with the fact that most people identify Iranian culture only with the present-day Islamic Republic of Iran or the ancient Persian Empire, whereas Iranian civilization is much broader and influential than that. It is like reducing Western civilization only to what we see on contemporary Greece.
What do you find rewarding about teaching in the Department of Religions and Cultures? What do you try to impart to your students?
Our department is wonderfully interdisciplinary; we come from a wide range of fields and backgrounds. This makes for a great openness and opportunities to learn from different approaches and perspectives. Most of my students are not majors in our department, so when they enroll in a course like my Introduction to Iranian Civilization it is an opportunity to open their eyes to some aspects of world history that they may not have previously considered.
Read more about Foltz’s new book in this interview with the Central Asian Analytical Network.