Past Events



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March 21: The Persian and Afghan Romance of Alexander the Great


ACANSRS Annual Silk Road Lecture 2016 at Boston University Dr. Michael Barry (Princeton University) gives a lecture and slide show on the 15th- and 16th-century Persian miniatures. Alexander the Great, setting out to conquer the Persian Empire in 334 BC, lamented over Achilles’ tomb at Troy that he enjoyed no Homer to sing his exploits. In fact, Alexander or “Iskandar” found his Homer, and Virgil too, more than a thousand years later in the Persianate world’s two greatest epic poets, Firdawsî and Nizâmî - illustrated by the finest miniaturists throughout the lands that are today Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India - in an extraordinary mythical transformation of sober history into a tale of unwitting fratricide and then divine redemption through universal empire: with Alexander learning that he is the secret half-brother to Darius, whose daughter he weds to reconcile all kingdoms, all peoples. Cosponsored by the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies (AIAS), the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies & Civilizations (SMSC), and Mizan Project.

Mountstuart Elphinstone and the Historical Foundations of Afghanistan Studies: Reframing Colonial Knowledge of the Indo-Persian World in the Post-Colonial Era

Hello   About the Conference This conference examines 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 brings together eighteen junior and senior scholars representing a diverse range of historical and cultural specializations to explore Elphinstone’s career in its own right, in relation to the local populations he engaged, and in the context of wider communities of intellectuals and officials including such prestigious figures as John Malcolm and Charles Metcalfe. The individual papers represent both a tribute to the intellectual heritage of Elphinstone and his peers as well as a critical reflection on their enduring legacies and collective influence on the contemporary scholarship of Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan. SOAS will host the key-note address given by William Dalrymple, which will be based upon research for his Return of a King(2012).

Details Day 1: Friday, 6 November - 08:30 to 14:30 Djam Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London, UK Day 2: Saturday, 7 November - 09:00 to 17:00 British Library, Conference Centre, London, UK

Contact: The two-day conference is free and open to the public.

Organizer: Dr. James, Caron, Francesca Fuoli

Contact email:

Sponsors: American Institute of Afghanistan Studies; James Madison University; SOAS, University of London; Muslim South Asia Research Forum; Council of American Overseas Research Centers

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 2015 Richards Fellowship

The application period for the 2015 John F. Richards fellowship cycle is now open. Applications are due April 1, 2015 with results announced at the beginning of May 2015. For more information, please visit the fellowship page.

From Sufis to Taliban: Trajectories of Islam in Afghanistan (UCLA)

The University of California Los Angeles' Program on Central Asia, with support of AIAS, is pleased to present its Afghan Studies Conference:

From Sufis to Taliban: Trajectories of Islam in Afghanistan

Thursday, October 30 – Friday, October 31 Charles E. Young Research Library Providing idioms and organizations for both anti-state and anti-foreign mobilization, Islam has proven to be a vital socio-political resource in modern Afghanistan. Even as it has been deployed as the national cement of a multi-ethnic "Emirate" and then "Islamic Republic," Islam has been no less a destabilizing force in Afghan society. Despite the universal scholarly recognition of the centrality of Islam to modern Afghan history, its developmental trajectories have received relatively little sustained attention outside monographs and essays devoted to particular moments or movements. This conference will bring together specialists on the different historical periods, regions and languages of Afghanistan to develop a more comprehensive, comparative and developmental picture of Afghan Islam from the nineteenth century to the present and to see beyond the unifying rhetoric of Islam into its disparate forms. To learn more, please visit the event page here.

Afghanistan, Pashto and the Creation of a Literary Language


UCLA Program on Central Asia Presents:

Afghanistan, Pashto and the Creation of a Literary Language
Afghan Studies Lecture by C. Ryan Perkins, University of Oxford

C. Ryan Perkins is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Indian History and Culture at the University of Oxford.  He specializes in the literary history of Islamic South Asia, with a focus on the social, cultural and literary history of the regions from north India and the Deccan to contemporary Pakistan and Afghanistan

April 10, 2014
2:00-3:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA Asia Institute
Los Angeles, CA

For more information, please email

Wajma Screening


8th Annual Boston Muslim Film Festival Presents:

Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)

April 9, 2014

6:00 - 8:30 PM

Boston University

CAS Room 211| 685 Commonwealth Avenue

Speakers: Omar Sharifi and Uzra Azizi

RSVP Today!

This event is Free and Open to the Public | Light refreshments will be served

This event is sponsored by the American Islamic Congress, the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, and Boston University's Institute for the Studies of Muslim Societies and Civilizations