2011 Fellowship Recipients

Research Fellowships

Nile Green (UCLA), 'Transnational Perspective on Early Twentieth Century Afghanistan: Urdu & Persian Source Materials.'

While the transnational dimensions of Afghanistan’s modernization between 1901 and 1933 have long been recognized with regard to Ottoman influences, Afghan interactions with Indian Muslim intellectuals and institutions remains little known. Part of the reason for this is that the source materials on this neglected dimension of Afghan modernity are in the ‘wrong’ language, being in Urdu rather than the notionally national languages of Persian and Pashto. In order to gauge the degree of Afghanistan’s interaction with this ‘Urdusphere’ of publishers and educational institutions, the project aims to locate new source materials in both Urdu and Persian which relate to the trans-border traffic in persons, books and technologies through which Afghan modernists engaged with Indian neighbors they conceived of as being Muslim friends as much as colonial enemies. Through research trips to library and archival collections, the project seeks to collect the various accounts of Afghan history, ethnography and commerce that were produced by the Urdusphere of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, as well as Persian texts printed in India related or in some cases exported to Afghanistan. In doing so, the project aims to not only contextualize the interaction with late Ottoman reformists into a larger pattern of transnational engagements, but also to locate sources on an early twentieth century period of pre-Taliban and modernist rather than traditionalist Afghan engagement with Indo-Pakistan.

Anila Daulatzai (Johns Hopkins University), 'Ethnography of Heroin Users in Kabul, Afghanistan (preliminary study).'

Afghanistan is well known as a manufacturer and exporter or opium and heroin. A growing number of men and women inside the war-torn country itself are also turning to the intravenous use of heroin. This project is a preliminary anthropological study of heroin users in Kabul city. She will be conducting ethnographic research with a population of heroin users (and in the case of females: their families) who live as squatters in the former Soviet Cultural Center on Darulaman Road on the western side of Kabul as well as in other squatter populations scattered around Kabul City. In addition she will work as a volunteer in the Nejat Center Outreach Program, the only harm reduction program in Afghanistan. The project will inquire into the trajectories of the lives and predicaments of the heroin users, and it will investigate the institutional networks with which the heroin users interact. As the first anthropological study of drug use in contemporary Afghanistan, the research project will not only shed light on this local manifestation of a global problem, but it will also investigate how the Islamic prohibition of intoxicants impacts the lives of heroin users as well as the possibilities of state and non-state actors to provide assistance and health care to them. The study will furthermore be a continuation of research on the consequences of prolonged war and armed conflicts in Afghanistan. This project is partially funded by AIAS, using private funding.