Further Reading and Discussion Questions

Further Reading and Discussion Questions

Omar Sadr
  • Negotiating Cultural Diversity in Afghanistan, Routledge, 2020.
    • The complexities of navigating cultural diversity in Afghanistan are made clear in this book. How do the social, political, and historical contexts of Afghanistan influence how cultural diversity is viewed and managed? How does understanding these factors play a role in creating more effective strategies to promote intercultural dialogue and cooperation?
  • The Republic and Its Enemies: The Status of the Republic in Afghanistan,’ AISS, 2021.
    • Sadr examines the relationship between Afghanistan and multiple non-state actors, including insurgent and tribal groups. How do these interactions shape the dynamics of governance in the country? What are the implications of incorporating these diverse actors into the political process, and how can the government strike a balance between engaging with them and upholding the principles of a unified republic? What do interactions between groups look like under Taliban rule?
  • Political Settlement of Afghanistan Conflict: Divergent Models,’ AISS, 2019.
    • In this text, Sadr analyzes different tactics to resolving the conflict in Afghanistan. What are the key models proposed that are meant to achieve a political agreement in the country, and what are their respective strengths and weaknesses? How do these models account for the diverse interests and demands of the differing stakeholders involved in the conflict?
  • Is Nonviolent Resistance Against the Taliban Possible?,’ The National Interest, April 11, 2022.
    • Sadr discusses the difficulties that accompany nonviolent resistance in a highly repressive environment. What are the factors that might influence the effectiveness of this type of resistance against the Taliban’s rule? How can local communities, civil society organizations, and international actors support nonviolent movements in Afghanistan without accidentally exacerbating the risks faced by activists and protestors?
  • Afghanistan’s Public Intellectuals Fail to Denounce the Taliban,’ Fair Observer, March 23, 2022.
    • Sadr examines the role and responsibility of public intellectuals in shaping public discourse and influencing societal attitudes. What impact does the silence of these intellectuals have on the Afghan population’s perception of the Taliban’s actions and policies? How can intellectual engagement and critical discourse play a role in promoting human rights, social justice, and democratic values in the face of an authoritarian regime?
  • Additional Resources from Omar Sadr:
Sarah Chayes
  • Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security
    • According to Chayes, corruption undermines trust in government institutions and fosters disillusionment among populations. How does this erosion of trust affect social unity and political stability, specifically when looking at modern-day Afghanistan? What are some strategies that can be used to rebuild public trust in governance and strengthen institutions to resist corruption’s influence? Is there a way to do this under Taliban rule?
Tamim Ansary: (link to books here)
  • The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000 Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection
    • How does Ansary analyze the underlying causes and patterns of conflict in different societies and eras? What insights can we gain from these historical accounts to inform our approaches to resolving conflicts and promoting peace in the present day? How can lessons from the past help develop more effective conflict resolution strategies and strengthen the prospects for global cooperation?
  • Road Trips: Becoming an American in the vapor trail of The Sixties
    • How does Ansary’s unique perspective as an Afghan immigrant to America influence the way he navigates and interprets the countercultural movements of the sixties? How does his outsider status add depth and complexity to the narrative?
  • Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes
    • Ansary emphasizes the importance of understanding history from multiple cultural perspectives to foster cross-cultural understanding and bridge gaps of misunderstanding. How can this book contribute to a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of Islam and Muslim societies for readers from diverse cultural backgrounds? How might this enhanced understanding of history lead to more meaningful conversations and cooperation between different cultures and religions in the contemporary world?
  • The Widow’s Husband: A Historical Novel
    • How does this book challenge traditional narratives of imperialism by centering the story on the Afghan characters and their experiences? How does this shift in perspective improve our understanding of the complexities of colonialism and its impact on local communities?
  • West of Kabul, East of New York
    • How does Ansary’s personal narrative intersect with the historical events that unfolded in Afghanistan during the late 20th and early 21st century? How do these historical events shape his family’s experiences and decisions, and how do they contribute to the larger understanding of the Afghan diaspora?
Shah Mahmoud Hanifi: complete list of books and articles found here
  • Mountstuart Elphinstone in South Asia
    • Elphinstone’s “Account of the Kingdom of Caubul” (1815) and “History of India” (1841) had a lasting impact on British engagement with Afghanistan and India. How did Elphinstone’s writings and research contribute to shaping British perceptions of these regions and their peoples? How has later historical study of India, Afghanistan, and British imperialism either validated or challenged the perspectives presented in Elphinstone’s works?
  • Connecting Histories in Afghanistan
    • This book challenges the prevalent political mood that often characterizes discussions of Afghanistan, especially concerning colonialism. How does Hanifi present a more nuanced understanding of Afghanistan’s history and its connections to British colonialism? How does this perspective on Afghanistan’s past reveal its present-day realities and geopolitical relationships with other countries?
  • Deciphering the History of Modern Afghanistan
    • This article raises concerns about the omission of imperialism’s lasting impacts on Afghanistan and the exclusion of the majority of Afghan people from its history. How can historians address this issue and integrate the experiences of ordinary Afghans into their research and publications? What methodologies and approaches can be employed to ensure a more accurate representation of Afghanistan’s history and the resilience of its people in the face of imperial challenges?
  • What Next for Afghanistan
    • The article highlights the interplay between the rule of law and the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan. How have US policies toward the rule of law and human rights been contradictory to the actions taken during the military intervention, and what are the consequences of this for Afghanistan and its people?
  • The Intellectual Impact of Colonialism and the Urgency of Decolonizing Knowledge of Afghanistan 
    • How has the dominant colonial narrative of Afghanistan, originating from British Indian colonial officials, affected the way Afghans view their own identity and history? What are some of the contradictions and alternative perspectives and stories that challenge this dominant view?
Zubeda Jalalzai
  • Washington Irving and Islam: Critical Essays
    • How does this book of critical essays highlight the historical and cultural context in which Washington Irving wrote about Islam? What are some of the underlying factors that influenced Irving’s portrayal of Muslims and Islamic culture?
  • Globalizing Afghanistan: Terrorism, War, and the Rhetoric of Nation Building
    • How does Jalalzai analyze the role of rhetoric in shaping the perception of Afghanistan and its people on the global stage? What are some specific examples of rhetoric used by different actors, and how has it influenced international perspectives on Afghanistan?
Ali Karimi
  • Information Control in Afghanistan, 1901–1946
    • Afghanistan underwent significant political, social, and technological changes between 1901-1946. How did these transformations impact the government’s strategies for information control? Were there any shifts in policy or challenges faced by the authorities as a result of these changes? How might the history of information control in Afghanistan inform our understanding of information censorship and surveillance in the modern era?
  • The Bazaar, the State, and the Struggle for Public Opinion in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan
    • According to Karimi, how did the Bazaar play a role in shaping public opinion during the nineteenth century? What were the main factors that made the Bazaar a focal point for the exchange of ideas and information among the Afghan population? How did the government attempt to regulate or influence public opinion through its interactions with the Bazaar? Does this historical relationship influence how Afghans exchange information in modern-day Afghanistan?
  • Surveillance in Weak States: The Problem of Population Information in Afghanistan
    • According to Karimi, what are the main challenges faced by weak states like Afghanistan in collecting and managing population information for surveillance purposes? How do these challenges differ from those in more stable countries? What implications do they have for governance and security? Do these challenges change in face of a Taliban-controlled state?
  • Medium of the Oppressed: Folk Music, Forced Migration, and Tactical Media
    • How does the article explore the role of folk music in preserving cultural identity and heritage among displaced communities who are at risk of cultural fragmentation or loss? How do these cultural expressions not only provide a sense of belonging but also contribute to building bridges between different communities and raising awareness about the challenges faced by forced migrants?
  • Street Fights: The Commodification of Place Names in Post-Taliban Kabul City
    • How does the article explore the role of place names in shaping collective memory and shaping public narratives about Afghanistan’s past and present? How do the contested street names reflect differing visions of the country’s history and national identity? How do they contribute to ongoing debates about cultural heritage and political representation?
Mejgan Massoumi
Ahmad Rashid Salim
  • Islam Explained: A Short Introduction to History, Teachings, and Culture
    • This book provides insights into the complexity of Islamic traditions. How does Salim address the various interpretations and practices of Islam across multiple regions and communities? How do these variations contribute to a deeper understanding of Islam, and what are some of the common misconceptions that the book aims to eliminate? How does this book foster intercultural understanding and promote dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims, while dispelling stereotypes and creating more meaningful discussions about Islam in today’s global context?
Marjan Wardaki
Munazza Ebtikar
  • A Critique of Knowledge Production about Afghanistan
    • How do external actors, including researchers, policymakers, and media, influence the narratives surrounding Afghanistan? How can an awareness of these power dynamics help to critically evaluate and contextualize the information received about the country? How does this resource challenge conventional approaches to knowledge production and representation of Afghanistan? How do limitations in existing research about Afghanistan impact the understanding of the country’s history, culture, and social dynamics?
  • Additional articles written by Munazza.