Organized Panel Session
This panel considers the local and global forces impacting knowledge production in and of Afghanistan through one hundred years of national independence (from 1919) and two large-scale military invasions over the last forty years (1979 Soviet and 2001 US-led international). Knowledge about Afghanistan evolved in different ways across the historical periods defined by these dates. Independence from Great Britain transformed colonial-imperial writing about Afghanistan and locally produced nationalist historiography in the country. This period is examined by Max Drephal who considers Afghan Independence through the expanded operations of the British Legation in Kabul in the post-independence era. The invasions of Afghanistan in 1979 and 2001 generated different types of international scholarly writing about the country, as well as new forms of domestic academic production and public intellectual behavior. Mateusz Klagisz examines the recent invasions of the country using Soviet Afghan propaganda posters to explore Afghanistan’s symbolic location in Soviet imperial visual culture. The distinct pressures of national independence and two highly transformative international invasions resulted in similar textual products in the form of national atlases of Afghanistan. The production of atlases often results from new configurations of national and imperial power, and this conspicuous and important genre of texts will be examined by Rachel Lehr and Florence Shahabi through their examination of the unpublished archive of the Linguistic Atlas of Afghanistan that originates with work of the Norwegian Linguist George Morgenstierne (1892-1978) who began research in Afghanistan in the early 1920s immediately after the country gained independence.