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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)
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Post-Taliban Afghanistan and the War on Terror
CEUS-R 251
Nazif Shahrani

This course carries CASE S&H & CASE GCC designations

The unprecedented terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 aimed at targets within the United States prompted the so called "War on Terrorism" against the Taliban controlled Afghanistan– considered the headquarter of global terrorism led by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda terrorist network who were implicated in carrying out the attacks. The war on global terror by the US and allies has been fought  for well over thirteen years in Afghanistan, was spawned into the invasion of Iraq causing 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 Taliban movement in Afghanistan unique phenomena? How is the problem of terrorism conceptualized and explained by the government officials and media experts in the U.S.? What were/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 US "War on Terrorism" worked now that US and NATO troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is to be completed by the end of December 2014? 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? Has the war on terror made America and the world more secure? If not, how can we re-conceptualize our concept of security in a manner that could be realized?

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 Texts (some titles will 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

Course Requirements (some change in requirements is possible) :
There will be two or three examinations. All exams will be of the essay type, consisting of short-answer
questions (in-class)  and longer take-home essays. Students will be also expected to write weekly/biweekly responses/reviews of the required reading materials.