Recent international intervention in Afghanistan has reproduced familiar versions of the Afghan national story, from repeatedly doomed invasions to perpetual fault lines of ethnic division. Yet almost no attention has been paid to the ways in which Afghans themselves have made sense of their history. Radically questioning received ideas about how to understand Afghanistan, Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes asks how Afghan intellectuals, ideologues and ordinary people have understood their collective past. The book brings together the leading international specialists to focus on case studies of the Dari, Pashto and Uzbek histories which Afghans have produced in abundance since the formation of the Afghan state in the mid-eighteenth century. As crucial sources on Afghans' own conceptions of state, society and culture, their writings help us understand the dominant and marginal, conflicting and changing, ways in which Afghans have understood the emergence of their own society and its relationships with the wider world.Based on new research in Afghan languages, Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes opens up entirely fresh perspectives on Afghan political, social and cultural life, providing penetrating insights into the master narratives behind domestic and international conflict in Afghanistan.
Nile Green is Professor of South Asian history at UCLA and founding director of the UCLA Program on Central Asia. A specialist on the Muslim communities of South Asia and the Middle East, his research brings Islamic history into conversation with global history. He has authored six monographs, including Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, which won the Albert Hourani prize and the Ananda K. Coomaraswamy prize.
Introduction: A History of Afghan Historiography (Nile Green) 1. Afghan Polities and the Indo-Persian Literary Realm: The Durrani Rulers and Their Portrayal in Eighteenth-Century Historiography (Christine Noelle-Karimi) 2. Tarikh-i Ahmad Shahi: The First History of 'Afghanistan' (Amin Tarzi) 3. 'The Bottomless Inkwell': The Life and Perilous Times of Fayz Muhammad 'Katib' Hazara (Robert D. McChesney) 4. Archaeology in the Reign of Amanullah: The Difficult Birth of a National Heritage Annick Fenet (translated by Nile Green) 5. From Patriot to Port-City Poet: Mahmud Tarzi in Istanbul (Thomas Wide) 6. Writing National History: Afghan Historiography in the Twentieth Century (Senzil Nawid) 7. Reclaiming the Past: The Tawarikh-i Hafiz Rahmat Khani and Pashtun Historiography (Robert Nichols) 8. Uzbek Oral Histories of Migration and War: Remembering the Early Twentieth Century in Northern Afghanistan (Ingeborg Baldauf) Afterword (Farzin Vejdani)