Imagining Afghanistan: the History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge

MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop: Envisioning the Global South(s)

Add to calendar 2021-06-09 15:00 2021-06-09 16:30 Europe/Paris Imagining Afghanistan: the History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge Online via Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


09 June 2021

15:00 - 16:30 CEST



via Zoom

Max Weber Fellow Matteo Capasso interviews Nivi Manchanda (Queen Mary University of London). The discussion will center around the interviewee's book "Imagining Afghanistan: the History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge".

Over time and across different genres, Afghanistan has been presented to the world as potential ally, dangerous enemy, gendered space, and mysterious locale. These powerful, if competing, visions seek to make sense of Afghanistan and to render it legible. In this innovative examination, Nivi Manchanda uncovers and critically explores Anglophone practices of knowledge cultivation and representational strategies, and argues that Afghanistan occupies a distinctive place in the imperial imagination: over-determined and under-theorised, owing largely to the particular history of imperial intervention in the region. 

Focusing on representations of gender, state and tribes, Manchanda re-historicises and de-mythologises the study of Afghanistan through a sustained critique of colonial forms of knowing and demonstrates how the development of pervasive tropes in Western conceptions of Afghanistan have enabled Western intervention, invasion and bombing in the region from the nineteenth century to the present.

About the Workshop: 

This multidisciplinary workshop aims at exploring strategies, processes and narratives through which Western gazes have contributed to the creation and making of the Global South. The workshop critically examines the ways in which knowledge is produced on Asian, African, Middle East and Latin American regions. It does so to look at the social, environmental, political, legal premises and consequences of those views. The contributors reflect on many of the questionable policies and practices born of these imaginaries and related histories that have been utilized in the regions since the colonial period. They further reveal how power, in the form of development programs, notions of nationalism, expert knowledge, landscape transformation and human right discourses, for instance, relates to Western and European-originated knowledge production systems.

The Zoom link will be provided following registration.


Pia Dittmar


Matteo Capasso (EUI)


Nivi Manchanda (Queen Mary University of London)

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