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Great Games? Afghan History through Afghan Eyes

An International Conference of the UCLA Program on Central Asia

Thursday, November 17, 2011
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Young Research Library
Presentation Room

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November 17-18, 2011

The year 2011 marks the eightieth anniversary of the death of Fayz Muhammad Katib, often considered to have been the founder of modern Afghan history writing. Whether in the present day or in the Katib’s own period, Afghans have long invested in a multiplicity of historiographical models to make sense of the tortured development path of the Afghan state. Recent international intervention in Afghanistan has created or reproduced many narratives of the Afghan national story, from repeatedly doomed invasions to perpetual fault lines of ethnic division. Yet very little attention has been given to the ways in which Afghans themselves have understood their history, whether as national Afghans or international socialists, as members of ethnic qawms or Muslims. This conference focuses on patterns and case studies of the historical writings which Afghans have produced in abundance since the formation of the Afghan state in the mid-eighteenth century and which form crucial but under-researched sources on Afghans’ own representations of state, society and culture. Bringing together the leading international specialists on Afghan historiography, the conference represents the first consolidated attempt to study the range of historical genres and narratives produced by Afghans themselves.

Organized by Nile Green, Professor of History and Chair, UCLA Program on Central Asia.

Funding for this conference is provided by the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies.

Click here for a related story about Afghan studies at UCLA.

Day 1 Program: Thursday, November 17

9:30-10:00 Coffee and Refreshments

10:00-10:15 Welcome and Introductions

10:15-12:30    Panel I

Ashraf Ghani, Chairman, Institute for State Effectiveness, Kabul (by Video Presentation)
 Crafting History: A Tribute to Fayz Muhammad and Seraj-al-Tawarikh

Robert McChesney, NYU
 Toeing the Line: Fayz Muhammad Katib's Career as Court Historian

Senzil Nawid, University of Arizona
 Afghan Historiography in the Twentieth Century

Robert Nichols, Richard Stockton College, NJ
 Reclaiming the Past: The Tawarikh-i Hafiz Rahmat Khani and Pashtun Historiography

Chair & Discussant: Farzin Vejdani, University of Arizona
 Comparative Perspectives from Persian Historiography

12:30-1:45 Lunch
1:45-2:00  Viewing Afghanistan: From Isolation to Interaction, Curator Talk with Nile Green, UCLA

2:00-4:00        Panel II

Amin Tarzi, Marine Corps University, Quantico
 The Lasting Legacy of the Great Game: ‘Pashtunistan’ Through Afghan Lenses

Ingeborg Baldauf, Humboldt University, Berlin
 Chori Laqay and the Qo’nghurot of North Afghanistan: Oral Histories and Written Stories

James Caron, University of Pennsylvania
 Fictive Histories, Real Historiography: Time, Space, and Reality in 21st Century Afghan Prose Fiction

Chair & Discussant: James Gelvin, UCLA
 Comparative Perspectives from Arab Historiography

Day 2 Program: Friday, November 18
9:00 -11:00 am
Emerging Research in Afghan History: Graduate Papers

Thomas Wide, Oxford University
 An Afghan In Exile: Mahmud Tarzi In Istanbul 1929-1933

Naveena Naqvi, UCLA History
 Haji Shamsuddin: An Indian Educationist in Afghanistan

Jawan Shir Rasikh, James Madison University
  Afghanistan-Iran Imagined: A Debate of the Afghan-Iranian Nationalists, 1930s

Discussant: Robert McChesney, NYU

Pay-by-space parking is available in Parking Structure 3, located in the northeast corner of the UCLA campus.

(310) 825-0007

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Asia Pacific Center, Program on Central Asia, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies