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Concepts of Statehood and Territoriality in Early Modern Afghanistan

Afghan Studies Lecture by Christine Nölle-Karimi, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Young Research Library
Presentation Room

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Christine Nölle-Karimi, Institute for Iranian Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, specializes in regional history and concepts of power and space. She completed her PhD in Near Eastern Studies at U.C. Berkeley in 1995. She is the author of State and Tribe in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan (1997),  on the genesis of the modern Afghan state and its impact on the relationship between the state-supporting elite and local powerbrokers; and co-author of Afghanistan—A Country without a State? (2002). In 2009 she obtained the Venia legendi in Iranian Studies at Bamberg University. Her next book, The Pearl in Its Midst: Herat and the Mapping of Khorasan from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries (forthcoming), explores the changes that concepts of statehood and territoriality underwent since early modern times. Her current projects include the study of Persian travelogues and modernism in Persophone Literary History.

In this presentation, Prof. Nölle-Karimi will briefly explore the construction of Afghanistan as a modern political entity and its projection into the past. The focus, however, will be on early modern notions of territory and the constraints and opportunities that delimited the horizon of the military actors. Interestingly, the term “Afghanistan” was associated with different spatial concepts over time. On the basis of Persian chronicles, she will argue that the mapping of the terrain was a dynamic process which involved the agglomeration of known territorial units rather than the delineation of political entities.

This lecture is presented by the UCLA Asia Institute's Program on Central Asia, with support from the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies.


Sponsor(s): Program on Central Asia, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies