Writing the Nation in Afghanistan. A Comparison of School Textbooks for History and Patriotism (2001-2021)

Responding to the observation that educational media play a significant role in shaping the world views, identity concepts and convictions of future citizens, the project intervenes into these debates with a systematic analysis and careful contextualisation of accounts on nation, state and modernity as conveyed in textbooks for history and patriotism published between 2001 and 2021.

  • Goals

    The project aims at rendering visible the traces that historiographic and political discourses have left in textbook accounts as well as at identifying ambivalence and vagueness as reflections of societal contestations.

  • Procedure

    The project focuses on the following research questions:

    1. Have textbooks contributed to integrating a diverse society?
    2. Are they reflective of controversies on Afghan history?
    3. Do they take up debates on culturally adequate forms of governance? 
    4. Have authors dealt with post-colonial critique of applying western concepts of state, nation, and modernity to the history of non-Western societies?

    The project is based on an analysis of three types of sources. (i) All history and patriotism textbooks published between 2001 and 2021 will be subjected to a systematic analysis. (ii) Historiographic controversies on key issues of Afghan history as reflected in academic literature published inside and outside Afghanistan will be reconstructed in order to identify the traces they have left in educational media. (iii) International debates on the impact of post-colonial theory on concepts of (national) belonging, social and political organisation as well as history in post-imperial contexts will be scrutinised in order to develop a critical horizon from which textbook accounts can be assessed.

  • Results

    The results will be published as a monograph.

Project Team