Modern Afghanistan

Modern Afghanistan

The Impact of 40 Years of War
Edited by M. Nazif Shahrani
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/11/2018
Format: Paperback 16 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03005-4
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What impact does 40 years of war, violence, and military intervention have on a country and its people? Modern Afghanistan is a collection of the work of interdisciplinary scholars, aid workers, and citizens to assess the impact of this prolonged conflict on Afghanistan. Nearly all of the people in Afghan society have been affected by persistent violent conflict. Issues considered in this volume include social and political dynamics, issues of gender, and the shifting relationships between tribal, sectarian, and regional communities. Contributors consider topics ranging from masculinity among the Afghan Pashtun to services offered for the disabled, and from Taliban extremism to the role of TV in the Afghan culture wars. Prioritizing the perspective and experiences of the people of Afghanistan, the contributors offer new insights into the lives of those who are hoping to build a secure future on the rubble of a violent past.

Author Bio

M. Nazif Shahrani is Professor of Anthropology, Central Eurasian Studies, and Near Eastern Languages and Culture at Indiana University. He is author of The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War and editor (with Robert L. Canfield) of Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan: Anthropological Perspectives.


“As a broad yet detailed introduction to modern Afghanistan, this interdisciplinary collection of essays on social and political life in Afghanistan over the past 40 years is arguably one of the best available. ”
 — American Ethnologist

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Impact of Four Decades of War and Violence on Afghan Society and Political Culture / M. Nazif Shahrani

Part I: Technologies of Power--Competing Discourses on National Identity, Statehood and State Stability
1. Afghanistan: A Turbulent State in Transition / Amin Saikal
2. Afghanistan’s "Traditional" Islam in Transition: Deep Roots of the Taliban Extremism / Bashir Ahmad Ansari
3. Language, Poetry and Identity in Afghanistan: Poetic Texts, Changing Contexts / Mohammad Omar Sharifi
4. Lineages of the Urban State: Locating Continuity and Change in Post-2001 Kabul / Khalid Homayun Nadiri and M. Farshid Alemi Hakimyar
5. Webs and Spiders: Four Decades of Violence, Intervention and Statehood in Afghanistan (1978-2016) / Timor Sharan
6. Merchant-Warlords: Changing Forms of Leadership in Afghanistan’s Unstable Political Economy / Noah Coburn
7. Borders, Access to Strategic Resources, and Challenges to State Stability / Ahmad Shayeq Qassem
8. Brought to you by Foreigners, Warlords, and Local Activists: TV and the Afghan Culture Wars / Wazhmah Osman

Part II: Personal and Collective Identities, Gender Relations, and Trust Deficit
9. "The War Destroyed Our Society": Masculinity, Violence and Shifting Cultural Idioms among Afghan Pashtun / Andrea Chiovenda
10. Engendering the Taliban / Sonia Ahsan
11. Anticipating Discontinuous Change: Afghanistan in Retrospect and Prospect / Robert L. Canfield and Fahim Masoud

Part III: Adapting to New Political Ecology of Uncertainties at the Margins
12. Badakhshanis since the Saur Revolution: Struggle, Triumph, Hope, and Uncertainty / M. Nazif Shahrani
13. Hazara Civil Society Activists and Local, National, and International Political Institutions / Melissa Kerr Chiovenda
14. Adapting to Three Decades of Uncertainty: The Flexibility of Social Institutions among Baloch groups in Afghanistan / Just Boedeker
15. Party I