How to (Not) Read Afghan Literature?

Submitted by Rick Aguilar on
Wasif Bakhtari (b. 1942), Afghan Poet and Scholar

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Join: Here

Discussant: Aria Fani (University of Washington)

Panel with Ahmad Rashid Salim (Berkeley), Zuzanna Olszewska (Oxford), and Samuel Hodgkin (Yale)

The literature of Afghanistan has received more scholarly attention in recent years which have advanced our understanding of its place and value in many fields such as comparative literature, Persian studies, history, sociology, and others. Building on this work, our panel features three exciting presentations that introduce twentieth and twenty-first-century Persian poetry to academic and public audiences and reflect on both generative and reductive ways of reading Afghan literature today. The poetry discussed include Sulayman Layiq’s unfinished versified novel Mardi az kuhistan (A Man from the Mountains), Wasif Bakhtari’s long poem “Bayān-nāma-ye wāresān-e zamīn” (The Manifesto of The Inheritors of the Earth), and new work by diasporic Afghan poets. Ultimately, this panel aims to coalesce scholarly energy around the study of Afghan literature. As such, this conversation will be the first of many.    

Afghanistan through Afghan Voices is a series of virtual workshops that highlights and critically engages with recent scholarship on one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world. It aims to open an inclusive and multidisciplinary space where Afghan scholars and artists come together in conversation with broad audiences to publicly reflect on their research endeavors and creative trajectories. Monthly programs include Afghan artists from around the globe in dialogue with scholars of literature, art, and history; panels featuring conversations on visual culture and media; and poetry readings in Persian/Dari, Pashto, and English.