Afghanistan’s Traditional Arts After Years of Conflict

Please join us on Wednesday, October 19th at 5:30 pm for a lecture regarding “Afghanistan’s Traditional Arts After Years of Conflict” presented by Professor Ann W. Norton of Providence College. The lecture will be held at 725 Commonwealth Ave, room 303A with a reception to follow.

 

Seeking stability in Afghanistan

AIAS and RANA university hosted a presentation by Dr. Thomas Barfield on 15 August, 2016. The presentation was entitled ” seeking stability in Afghanistan”.

The 2004 Afghan constitution creates a highly centralized government in a land that is characterized by its diversity. One aspect of this diversity is the wide number of qawms (tribal or ethnic groups) by which people identifies themselves. While it has been argued that only a highly centralized government can prevent disorder from arising because of these divisions, in fact it may create more problems than it solves. This lecture will focus on how a more decentralized system of government may well be more stable because it would allow for a broader base of participation in governance. It will also focus attention upon the fact that although Afghanistan has ethnic divisions, it has never developed varieties of ethnic nationalism that seek to break up the state.

Dr. Thomas Barfield’s current research focuses on problems of political development in Afghanistan, particularly on systems of local governance and dispute resolution. He has also published extensively on contemporary and historic nomadic pastoral societies in Eurasia with a particular emphasis on politics and economy.

Dr. Barfield conducted ethnographic fieldwork in northern Afghanistan in the mid-1970s as well as shorter periods of research in Xinjiang, China, and post-Soviet Uzbekistan. He is author of The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan (1981), The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China (1989), and The Nomadic Alternative (1993), co-author of Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture (1991), and editor of Blackwell’s Dictionary of Anthropology (1997). Barfield received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 that led to the publication of his newest book, Afghanistan: A Political and Cultural History. He is also chairman of anthropology department of Boston University and president of the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies.

Epistemology of ‘State’ in Afghanistan: Beyond Modernism

AIAS hosted a talk by Dr. Jawanshir Rasekh on 12 July, 2016.

Epistemology on the philosophical knowledge of history is the manner of learning and studying of an historical phenomenon or narrative. The Epistemology of “Governance” in contemporary history of Afghanistan is the state of manners hypothesis, definitions and perceptions that, historian, anthropologist and politicians use to frame the nature and formed the type of government.

The Epistemology of ‘State’ in Afghanistan: Beyond Modernism is a part of doctoral teases and it would be the review of the manners on the intellectual history and Theory of Formation the governance in the study of Afghanistan.

networking event at the AIAS

AIAS had a networking event with the Afghan students who were studying in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and United States on 11 July, 2016.

These students who got their scholarships from the US embassy, Afghanistan shared their experiences from two different countries, different people, and different environments that they were studying. Also they discussed the opportunities they got while studying in Bishkek, and US, and what changes can be implemented in education system of Afghanistan, in order to make it a more useful education system.

Fulbright alumni gathering event

AIAS organized an event for the Fulbright alumni on 19 April, 2016.

In this event Fulbright scholars discussed their experiences of studying in US, experiencing new cultures, ideas, people, opportunities that they got by studying in United States, and their commitments in using those experiences and knowledge in Afghanistan to be a part of the change Afghanistan needs.

 

A Muslim Archipelago: Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia.

AIAS hosted a talk by Dr. Gross on 7 March, 2016.

Dr Gross discussed the main themes of his book, “A Muslim Archipelago: Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia.” He addressed such questions as ‘Why is Indonesia which has a large Muslim majority (87 per cent) officially a secular (Pancasila) state, while Malaysia whose Muslim population (55-60 percent) is a smaller fraction of the whole describes itself officially as an Islamic State?’ And ‘how important is religion (Islam) in the insurgency movements in southern Thailand and the southern Philippines?’

Dr. Max L. Gross retired from the U.S. Federal Government in December 2005. Prior to his retirement, he was for eleven years Dean of a College in the Department of Defense. Before that, he was Professor of Middle Eastern studies at the same institution. He also served as a Research Specialist in Middle Eastern affairs in the Department of Defense.  Dr. Gross served as an officer in the United States Air Force, with three consecutive overseas assignments in Turkey, West Germany and South Vietnam.

Dr. Gross attended graduate school at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, where he obtained an MA degree in Middle East history in 1971.  He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East history at Georgetown University in 1979.

Dr. Gross is the author of a number of articles on Lebanon, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Syria and Islam.  In addition to his work in the Department of Defense, he also has served as adjunct lecturer at George Washington University, American University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia, teaching courses on Islam, the International Relations of the Middle East, and the Arab-Israeli conflict and the History of the Middle East.  He also lectures several times each year at federal institutions in the Washington, DC area and around the country. He has completed a book on Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia and is working on a companion volume on Islam and Politics in South Asia. From 2011-14 Dr. Gross was Course Director for the Afghanistan Advanced Area Studies course at the Foreign Service Institute, helping to prepare U.S. diplomats to serve in Afghanistan.

Promote Voluntary Assistance for Vulnerable

AIAS organized a program for vulnerable kids of GULESTAN on 1 March, 2016 in Kabul.

AIAS launched a program named GULESTAN to support vulnerable kids working in Kabul city of Afghanistan. This program aims to support and motivate vulnerable kids working in Kabul city streets by providing chairs, desks, stationary, and by arranging programs and events for the kids as a show so that they can show their skills. AIAS is arranging these programs as a supporter with the purpose of giving the opportunities for these kids to improve them with the best it can.

 

 

Why Muslim Politics of Rage in the Age of ‘Empires of Trust’?

AIAS hosted a presentation by Dr. M. Nazif Shahrani  on 26 December, 2015.

The presentation explored how and why the anti-colonial nationalist resistance movements which gradually forced the end of European colonialism, led into the rise of new ideologically driven Western Empires of Trust – i.e. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Euro-American Capitalist Great Powers – controlling Muslim societies and cultures. The recent ever escalating violence in the name of Islam in Muslim majority regions against national and post-Soviet governments and their outside patrons will be examined as responses to the oppressive political ecology, policies and practices of the Western and Russian empires of trust in the predominantly Muslim majority societies. It will be argued that the root causes of Muslim politics of rage in these regions is not religious or sectarian, but externally imposed and forcibly maintained inappropriate system of extractive governments. Therefore, addressing persistent violence, poverty, ignorance and oppression in the Muslim world demands not only proper understanding of the military interventions but also the intents of the “liberal wars” (i.e., Western development assistance programs).  In addition, instead of pursuing security-centered counter-terrorist/insurgency wars against Islamist extremist during the past decades calls for appropriate, effective and inclusive political reforms.

Dr. Shahrani was born, raised and partly educated in Afghanistan after which he went on to receive his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Washington. Currently, he is Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University where he has also served as Director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program. He frequently visits Afghanistan

Honoring Haideri Wojodi the great poet and unveiling his book

AIAS honored Haideri Wojodi in an event on 2 December, 2015.  In this event hosted by the AIAS number of poets, writers and those who were interested in poetry and literature were invited. In this event the life, personality, and endeavors of Mr. Haideri Wojodi in Dari-Farsi literature were discussed.

Mountstuart Elphinstone and the Historical Foundations of Afghanistan Studies

The AIAS co-sponsored program “Mountstuart Elphinstone and the Historical Foundations of Afghanistan Studies: Reframing Colonial Knowledge of the Indo-Persian World in the Post-Colonial Era” examined the intellectual legacy of Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) whose career as a diplomat, administrator and scholar left a substantial and lasting impact on colonial fields of knowledge and governance in Afghanistan and British India. Elphinstone’s seminal Account of the Kingdom of Caubul (1815) established the framework for knowing and engaging Afghanistan, and his influential History of India (1841) built upon significant and highly transformative administrative tenures in Poona/Pune and Bombay/Mumbai.

The conference took place at SOAS, University of London, from November 6-7, 2015, and included a key-note address given by William Dalrymple, based upon research for his book Return of a King (2012).

Part II of the Elphinstone Conference series will take place at Elphinstone College in Mumbai, India in April 2017.