Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-846f6c7c4f-whwnh Total loading time: 0.33 Render date: 2022-07-07T13:02:31.462Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Maps and Spaces

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2013

Christine Noelle-Karimi*
Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria; e-mail:


Students of Afghan history come up against two sets of academic demarcations and appropriations. First, as Nile Green points out in his introduction to this roundtable, Afghanistan as a field of study tends to fall off the edge of the scholarly traditions associated with the regional denominations of the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia. Second, the tendency to view history through the lens of present-day national entities presents an impediment to historical inquiry and not only in Afghanistan. The attempt to streamline the past to fit a consistent narrative of state-building may serve to foster a national identity, yet it is of little use in gaining a deeper understanding of the political, social, and economic processes at work in a given period.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 On travel, both voluntary and involuntary, see R. D. McChesney's contribution to this roundtable; on the social and spatial mobility of tribal elites, see Noelle-Karimi, Christine, “The Abdali Afghans between Multan, Qandahar and Herat in the 16th and 17th Centuries,” in Beyond Swat: History, Society and Economy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier, ed. Marsden, Magnus and Hopkins, Benjamin (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming).Google Scholar

2 Alam, Muzaffar and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, Indo-Persian Travels in the Age of Discoveries, 1400–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 34.Google Scholar

3 Fragner, Bert G., Die “Persophonie”: Regionalität, Identität und Sprachkontakt in der Geschichte Asiens (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch, 1999).Google Scholar

4 McChesney, Robert D., Waqf in Central Asia. Four Hundred Years in the History of a Muslim Shrine, 1480–1889 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991).Google Scholar

5 Noelle-Karimi, Christine, The Pearl in Its Midst: Herat and the Mapping of Khurasan from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, forthcoming).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 Schinasi, May, Afghanistan at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century. A Study of Serâj ul-Akhbâr (1911–1918) (Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1979).Google Scholar

7 Grevemeyer, Jan-Heeren, Afghanistan. Sozialer Wandel und Staat im 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 1990)Google Scholar; Kamali, Mohammad Hashim, Law in Afghanistan. A Study of Constitutions, Matrimonial Law and the Judiciary (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985).Google Scholar

8 Ghani, Ashraf, “Islam and State-Building in a Tribal Society. Afghanistan: 1880–1901,” Modern Asian Studies 12 (1978): 269–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Olesen, Asta, Islam and Politics in Afghanistan (Richmond, U.K.: Curzon Press, 1995).Google Scholar

9 Benjamin Buchholz, Loya Jirga: Ratsversammlung, Verfassungsorgan und Mythos (forthcoming).

10 Muhammad, Fayz, Siraj al-Tawarikh: Jild-i Chaharum, ed. Mawlayi, Muhammad Sarwar, 4 vols. (Kabul: Intisharat-i Amiri, 1390/2011).Google Scholar

11 For the ongoing working group on “Modernity and Modernism in Persophone Literary History” at the Institutes of Iranian Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna and at the University of Bamberg, see (accessed 14 August 2012).

12 The multiple perspectives on the historical process since the 1940s are nicely captured by Edwards, David B., Before Taliban (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2002).Google Scholar For an analysis of the narrative structures of Sultan ʿAli Kishtmand's memoirs, see Andreas Wilde, “Narrative Strukturen afghanischer Geschichtsschreibung am Beispiel von ‘Yāddāshthāyo Siyāsī va Rūydādhā-yi Tārīkhī’” (master's thesis, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, 2004).

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Maps and Spaces
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Maps and Spaces
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Maps and Spaces
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *