Current Institutional Affiliation
Academic Tutor

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, City University of New York (CUNY) / Graduate Center
Making Everyday Life in the Context of Conflict: Practices of Music, Chess and Gardening in Herat, Afghanistan

This research investigates the interplay of the recent history of violence in contemporary Afghanistan with processes of cultural identification and the activities of daily survival as expressed in the accounts of ordinary Afghans. This project develops a unique methodology focused on three popular social practices, chess, music and gardening, in the northwestern Afghan city of Herat, to investigate how war affects the social dynamics, material circumstances and changing meanings of both participation in these practices and the everyday lives of war-affected communities. As entry points into the daily life of communities, as sites of relative continuity amidst tremendous instability, and as creative activities that are shared across informal social networks, these three practices offer distinctive vantage points from which to examine how the war experience continues to be felt in contemporary Herat. An important goal of this research is to explore how the history of conflict affects cultural and political identification, specifically how Heratis understand themselves as members of the local, urban community of Herat and as members of the national community /project of Afghans.