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Follow the Afghan War

Methods, Interpretations, Imagination

Irene Kucera

Anthropological research in war-torn countries like Afghanistan is dangerous and therefore often impossible. There are various constraints, both general and specific, that often hinder an anthropologist from going out into the field. This is not a new problem for social anthropology, but it is increasingly preoccupying the discipline. Thus, a 'distance approach' needs to be developed for studying the ethnography of the Afghan war. This article proposes one methodological possibility for approaching the Afghan war from other perspectives. This method involves extensive reading in and analysis of various written works and the critical examination of web sites and other media, in combination with fieldwork in Europe and Central Asia. In order to demonstrate this approach, the discourse on women's rights will be discussed.

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Zuzanna Olszewska, Veronica Doubleday, Irene Kucera, Michael Humphrey, Mary Elaine Hegland, Soheila Shahshahani, Marcia Inhorn, Suad Joseph, Soraya Tremayne and José-Alberto Navarro

PUBLICATIONS

Coburn, Noah (2011), Bazaar Politics: Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). 254 pp. ISBN 978-0-8047- 7672-1.

Heath, Jennifer and Zahedi, Ashraf (eds.) (2009), Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women (Berkeley: University of California Press). 393 pp. ISBN 978-0-520-26186-0.

Barfield, Thomas (2010), Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). 389 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-14568-6.

Oeppen, Cery and Schlenkhoff, Angela (eds.) (2010), Beyond the ‘Wild Tribes’: Understanding Modern Afghanistan and Its Diaspora (London: Hurst). 233 pp. ISBN 978-1-84904-055-6.

Hyndman-Rizk, Nelia (2011), My Mother’s Table: At Home in the Maronite Diaspora, a Study of Emigration from Hadchit, North Lebanon to Australia and America (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing). 290 pp. ISBN (13) 978-0-691-14568-6.

Loeffler, Agnes (2007), Allopathy Goes Native: Traditional Versus Modern Medicine in Iran (New York: Taurus Academic Studies). 224 pp. ISBN 978-1- 85043-942-4.

FILMS

Oskoui, Mehrdad (2007), Last Days of Winter, Iran, 52 minutes.

Sheykholeslami, Mahvash (2012), Dark Room, Iran, 40 minutes.

CONFERENCES

45th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), 1–4 December 2011, Washington, DC

‘Globalized Fatherhood’, 13–15 April 2012, Yale University, New Haven, CT