On 22 August, 2015 AIAS hosted a reception for Dr. Thomas Barfield & Dr. Michael Alexander Barry.
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 director of Boston University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies & Civilization and currently serves as president of the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies.
Michael Alexander Barry has lectured in Princeton’s Near Eastern Studies Department since 2004 on the medieval and modern Islamic cultures of Iran, India, Pakistan, and most especially Afghanistan—where his work over more than four decades has ranged from anthropological research to defense of human rights and coordinating humanitarian assistance for the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, for Médecins du Monde, and for the United Nations. He has published extensively in both his writing languages, English and French; his academic works have been translated into Persian and a half-dozen European versions; and he holds seven literary prizes from France and Iran.
While fluent in the Persian language (including the Afghan or “Dari” variant thereof) and deeply committed to reviving the study of its literature in Princeton.