South Asian Studies Events on Afghanistan and Beyond

Afghanistan: A Panel Discussion on the Current Crisis and Its History

Wednesday, 22 September at 7-8.30 pm, Woodhead Lounge

Colonel (retired) Bob Cassidy (Andersen Fellow in Defense and Foreign Policy) • The folly of war without strategy

  • This talk will review the efforts of four presidents to align policy, strategy, and war in Afghanistan.  It will also offer some reasons for and the potential implications of this huge failure.

Afiya Zia (Frank B Weeks Visiting Assistant Professor, FGSS) • Failure and Success; Brothers in Arms.

  • Considerable post 9/11 academic and political debates on Afghanistan critiqued the premise that Muslim women ‘needed to be rescued’. Twenty years later, a feminist reassessment of this argument is critically important.

Vijay Pinch (Professor of History) • Afghan disasters, then and now.

  • The British retreat from Kabul in 1842 offers a useful context for understanding the current US mess in Afghanistan. See, for example, this recent piece by the historian William Dalrymple. Pinch’s remarks will examine the extended military aftermath of the 1842 “Afghan disaster” and what lessons it may offer us today.

This event is also sponsored by the Muslim Studies certificate.

Pious, populist political masculinities in Pakistan and India 

Wednesday, 13 October at 7-8.30 pm, Judd 116

A presentation of research on the historic evolution of ideal Muslim political masculinities in precolonial India and the encounters with Hindu asceticism in nationalist movements under colonialism. I discuss how these are replayed in the populist leadership of the current Prime Ministers of Pakistan (Imran Khan), and India (Narendra Modi). While both brands of populist masculinities undermine democratic norms and silence dissent in their respective nations, these also inspire subversive subaltern masculinities that resist an overarching regional ‘hegemonic masculinity’.

Dr. Afiya Shehrbano Zia is a feminist scholar and author of Faith and Feminism in Pakistan (SAP 2018). She is the Frank B Weeks VAP of Feminist Gender and Sexualities Studies at Wesleyan (2021-2022).