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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.
Tu 08.06. 09:45-11:15 Digital



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.

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 timelines 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 about 10 minutes and posing a few questions (made available in advance to the participants) to initiate the debate.
Written assignments will be twofold:
1) A written exam, which will take place on Wednesday 30 June 2021, from 9:45-11:15. The students will have to select one question among three that will be asked in relation to the themes discussed in class. They will be allowed to have the class material with them and their computer.
2) An essay of no more than 2000 words due by Sunday 27 June 2021. It will address a subject in connection with events related to Afghanistan as they are unfolded in the news. Typically, it may consist in a critical comment, using the concepts discussed in the course, of two or three articles selected from newspapers or magazines and dealing with the same theme.
Grade will be determined as follows: 20% for classroom participation and discussion; 40% for the written exam; 40% for the essay.

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: We 24.02.2021 08:48