On Migration with the Nomads of Qataghan

-A Lecture by Dr. Thomas Barfield-

Central Asian Arabs are a group of Persian speaking nomads who specialize in raising fat tailed and karakul sheep in northeastern Afghanistan. In 1976 Professor Barfield took part in their annual migration from their winter pastures on the banks of the Mau Daryl in Imam Sahib to their summer pastures in central Badakhshan. This presentation documents that migration that and presents a unique picture of their way of life, one in which about ten thousand families and shepherds move more than a million sheep over age old paths to their historic grazing grounds.

Thomas Barfield is Professor of Anthropology at Boston University and President of AIAS. He has conducted research on Afghanistan since the 1970s and is the author of The Central Asian Arabs of Afghanistan (1981), The Nomadic Alternative (1983), and (with Albert Szabo) Afghanistan: An Atlas of Indigenous Domestic Architecture (1991). Since 2001 his research has focused on political development in contemporary Afghanistan, particularly questions of customary law and its role in conflict resolution. Barfield received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 to complete his new book, Changing Concepts of Political Legitimacy in Afghanistan and their Consequences (forthcoming).

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