Marriage, Elopement and Mourning Rituals

Monday 15 October 2018, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Dr Naysan Adlparvar, Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University

Following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, a new process of political reconstruction - framed as a constitutional democracy and based on an ethnic power sharing arrangement - was initiated by the international community. This has led to a major shift in ethnic relations in the country. Yet, while Hazarahs (members of a historically oppressed ethnic category) have gained significantly from this process, questions abound.

Do these gains signify a much-needed democratic victory for the international community in Afghanistan? Or, has this political re-engineering unleashed a volatile process of social change? Do the Afghan communities benefit from these changes?

This presentation, based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and adopting a progressive methodological framing of ethnicity, responds to these questions. It does so by investigating the impacts of political reconstruction on ethnicity and interethnic relations in the Bamyan Valley.

The presentation exposes the factors leading to improvements in the social status of Hazarahs and illuminates the effects of the associated contestation of entrenched inequalities. Case studies include analysis of shifting marriage arrangements, elopement and retaliatory violence between Hazarahs and Saadat, on the one hand, and growing sectarian tensions between Hazarahs and Tajiks linked to Shi’i mourning rituals, on the other.

For more information contact Dr Janaka Jayawickrama.

Location: CA/102, Chemistry Department, University of York

Admission: Free