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From Sufis to Taliban: Trajectories of Islam in Afghanistan

Co-sponsored by UCLA's Program on Central Asia, Asia Institute, Center for the Study of Religion, and the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies

Program on Central Asia Afghan Studies Conference

Thursday, October 30, 2014 to Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 1: Young Research Library Main Conference Room
Day 2 - Friday, October 31: Young Research Library Presentation Room

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Thursday, October 30
Charles E. Young Research Library, Main Conference Room 9:15 am - 4:30 pm Friday, October 31
Charles E. Young Research Library, Presentation Room
New directions – Graduate Research in Afghanistan Studies
9:30 am - 12:30 pm

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.

Thursday, October 30
Charles E. Young Research Library, Presentation Room (11338)

9:15 Welcome and Opening Remarks
Nile Green, Director, Program on Central Asia
9:30-11:15 Panel 1. Historical Formations
Chair: Asma Sayeed (UCLA NELC/Islamic Studies)

Arezou Azad (University of Oxford and University of Birmingham)
The Caliphate and Afghanistan: Embedding Islam in Afghan Society

Benjamin Hopkins (George Washington University) A Long History of the Talib-ilm/Taliban along the Afghan Frontier

Robert McChesney, (NYU, Emeritus) Earning a ‘Living’: Making Religion Pay in Early Modern Central Asia
11:30-12:45 Panel 2. Modern Transformations
Chair: James Gelvin (UCLA History)

Faridullah Bezhan (Monash University)
The Taliban and Women’s Agency in the Works of Two Female Afghanistani Writers, Homaira Qaderi and Masuda Khazan

Bashir Ansari (Southern Methodist University)
Afghanistan’s “Traditional” Islam in Transition: Deep Roots of the Shift to Radicalism
2:00-3:15 Panel 3. Contemporary Developments
Chair: Bojan Petrovic (UCLA Political Science)

Mariam Abou Zahab (INALCO, Paris) The Construction of a Shi'i Identity since the 1970s in Afghanistan/Pakistan: An Ethnicization of Shi'ism?

Sonia Ahsan (Columbia University)
Women and the Taliban: Histories of Feminism in Afghanistan
3:30-4:30 Perspectives on Religion and Afghanistan
Chair: Nile Green
Nushin Arbabzadah, UCLA
Asma Sayeed, UCLA
Mohammad Omar Sharifi, Boston University
Zaman Stanizai, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Friday, October 31 History Conference Room, 6275 Bunche Hall New directions – Graduate Research in Afghanistan Studies

9:30-10:30 Panel 1. New Directions in the Study of Islam and Politics in Afghanistan
Chair: Mariam Abou-Zahab (INALCO, Paris)

Mohammad Omar Sharifi (Boston University)
Language, Poetry and Identity in Afghanistan: Poetic Texts, Changing Contexts

Waleed Ziad (Yale University)
Hazrat Jeo Sahib: How Durrani Peshawar Revived Bukhara’s Sanctity
10:45-12:30 Panel 2. Afghanistan Studies at UCLA
Chair: Benjamin Hopkins (George Washington University)

Sohaib Baig (History) Afghanistan as a Hub for Trans-Imperial Revolutionaries: The Seven-Year Visit of ‘Ubaydullah Sindhi (1915-1922)

Michael O’Sullivan (History)
The Right Flank of the Ottomans' Eastern Policy: Ottoman Advisors in Kabul and Afghan terakki, 1908-1923

Marjan Wardaki (History)
German-Afghan Connections in the Early 20th Century


Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Asia Pacific Center, Program on Central Asia, UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library, Center for the Study of Religion, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies