Universität Wien FIND

Return to Vienna for the summer semester of 2022. We are planning to hold courses mainly on site to enable the personal exchange between you, your teachers and fellow students. We have labelled digital and mixed courses in u:find accordingly.

Due to COVID-19, there might be changes at short notice (e.g. individual classes in a digital format). Obtain information about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

240537 SE Refugees, Insurgents and Humanitarians: Towards a Global Ethnography of Afghanistan (P3, P4) (2021S)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

If the Covid regulations allow it, the course will change to on-site.
Information about the lecture rooms will then follow in time.

Tuesday 08.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 09.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 15.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 16.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 22.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 23.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Tuesday 29.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 30.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

In its scale and duration, the conflict that has been tearing Afghanistan apart is one of the gravest humanitarian disasters of these last decades. The Afghan state and society have been marked in a lasting way by war and the exodus of part of its population, but also by the presence of a myriad of international and nongovernmental organizations, as well as armed forces from many countries. The movement of refugees trying to get to neighboring countries, Europe, Australia or North America is matched by the flow of experts who exercise their talents in Afghanistan after having been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine or East Timor. The latter travel from North to South and promote social and political norms supposed to be universal; the former move in the opposite direction and unmask through their mobility the inequitable distribution of resources, whether it is economic well-being or the possibility of living in security.
The course will combine lectures and discussions to provide conceptual tools for reading the political situation in light of the past and sociocultural contexts. It aims to encourage the students’ ability to integrate new perspective and develop personal reflection.

Assessment and permitted materials

Attendance, discussion, written exam, essay

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The course is open to all students. Students must attend all of the scheduled classes, unless excused by the instructor. They will be asked to notify in advance if they are unable to come to a class. The students’ performance will be evaluated on the basis of classroom participation and the quality and timeliness of the writing assignments. Participants have to show familiarity with the assigned readings that will be discussed in the class.
Each student will lead the discussion at least once during the semester. This will involve presenting the readings in a few minutes and posing a few questions to initiate the debate.
Written assignments (on topics selected after discussion with the instructor) will be twofold:
1) An essay of no more than 1500 words or a clip of no more than 3 minutes due by 15th of August 2021. It will address a subject in connection with events related to Afghanistan or Afghan refugees (in Austria or elsewhere) as they are unfolded in the media. Typically, it may consist in a critical comment, using the concepts discussed in the course, of two or three articles selected from the print media or internet, and dealing with the same theme, or alternatively a TV or radio show, but also a documentary or feature film.
2) Write a final paper of no more than 3000 words (excluding bibliography and annexes), due by 15th of August 2021. It will deal with issues explicitly addressed in the course and the assigned readings.
Grade will be determined as follows: 10% for classroom participation and discussion; 30% for the essay or clip; 60% for the final paper.
Class participation
• Regular attendance (an attendance list will be held).
• Reading assignments.
• Quality of presentations: content; voice and body gesture; didactic aids; participation in debates; questions & answers.
• Relevance of questions.
• Quality and timeliness of the various interventions.
• Ability to listen and respect the views of other participants of the course.
Written papers
• Relevance of the topic.
• Structure of the text.
• Written style and formatting of the paper.
• Clarity of argument.
• Quality of empirical material; appropriate methodology.
• Analytical quality; theoretical framework.
• Ability to articulate constructively theories and practical issues.
• Critical thinking, ability to take a step back from mainstream discourses.
• Use of the concepts discussed in class.
• Use of literature, bibliographical research.
• Ability to integrate comments.
• Overall originality of the topic and the perspective.
• If relevant, call to personal experience.

Examination topics

Examination topics will consist in issues explicitly addressed in the course and the assigned readings.

Reading list

Balland Daniel. 1985. "Afghanistan. x. Political History." Encyclopædia Iranica, available at www.iranica.com, 12 p.
Barfield Thomas J. 2010. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 404 p.
Billaud Julie. 2015. Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 257 p.
Dupree Louis. 1985. "Afghanistan. iv. Ethnography." Encyclopædia Iranica, available at www.iranica.com, 8 p.
Coburn Noah. 2011. Bazaar Politics: Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 273 p.
Edwards David. 2017. Caravan of Martyrs: Sacrifice and Suicide Bombing in Afghanistan, Oakland, etc.: University of California Press, 296 p.
Monsutti Alessandro. 2013. "Anthropologizing Afghanistan: Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters", Annual Review of Anthropology 42, p. 269-285.
--. 2020. Homo Itinerans: Towards a Global Ethnography of Afghanistan, Oxford: Berghahn Books, xvi-132 p.
Shroder John F. 1985. "Afghanistan, i. Geography." Encyclopædia Iranica, available at www.iranica.com, 7 p.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 14.06.2021 12:09