Anthropology | Post-Taliban Afgh War on Terror
A200 | 27303 | Shahrani
The unprecedented terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 aimed at
targets within the United States prompted the coalition “War on
Terrorism” against the Taliban controlled Afghanistan – regarded as
the virtual headquarters of global terrorism led by Osama bin Laden
and his Al Qaeda terrorist network who have been implicated in
carrying out the attacks. The war on global terror has been waged now
for well over seven years in Afghanistan, has spawned into the
invasion of Iraq and greater instability in the Middle East and beyond
without an end in sight. Why the attacks on New York City, Pentagon
and Pennsylvania? Who did it and Why? Why and how did Afghanistan
become a Global Terrorism Inc.? Is the rise of the Taliban movement in
Afghanistan, as a contemporary phenomena unique? How is the problem of
terrorism conceptualized and explained by the government officials and
media experts in the U.S.? What are the root causes of the problem of
terrorism? What role, if any, does religion/civilization, especially
Islamic “fundamentalism” play in the current global security crises?
Has the “War on Terrorism” worked? Why or why not? What are some
alternative solutions to the problem of terrorism which are not being
considered and why? What lessons are learned from the war on global
terror so far? Will continuation of the war make America and the world
more secure? If not, how can we re-conceptualize our concept of
security in a manner that could be obtained? This course will
critically examine these and related questions from an anthropological
perspective by focusing on the history, society, economy and political
culture of Afghanistan as a multi-ethnic modern nation-state which has
been ravaged by a century of internal colonialism, and most recently
by foreign invasions, proxy wars and global terrorism.
Required Tests (some titles may vary):
Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan
and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
Gilles Dorronsoro Revolution Unending: Afghanistan, 1979 to the
Present. Columbia U.P.
Gabriel Kolko, Another Century of War? The New Press
Peter Marsden, The Taliban: War and Religion in Afghanistan (Revised
Edition). Zed Books
There will be two examinations. All exams will be of the essay type,
consisting of short-answer questions and longer essays. Each
examination will be worth 50 points and course grade will be based on
100 cumulative points.