A History of Afghan Historiography
This long chapter provides the first-ever overview of history-writing in Afghanistan from the country’s foundation in the eighteenth century until the early twenty-first century. The chapter introduces major and minor history writers and their various genres and languages (including Dari Persian, Pashto, Uzbek, Urdu and Arabic). The introduction shows how Afghans have conceived their past at different moments in time, connecting the experience of history to the production of historiography. In this way, the chapter gives a summary of Afghan history itself while connecting it to the ways in which Afghans at home and in their diasporas conceived their past, often with specific ideological aims. The chapter draws on a vast selection of previously unknown primary sources in Afghan languages. In this way, the chapter constructs an intellectual history for Afghanistan at the same time as showing how contentious debates on history were inseparable from political struggles that led to violence.
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