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Afghan Histories beyond the State, War, and Tribe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2013

Robert Nichols*
Department of Historical Studies, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway, N.J.; e-mail:


Increased access to archival and other textual sources and the situating of “Afghan” history within wider theoretical, comparative, and interdisciplinary thinking have opened Afghanistan-related studies to new fields of research and analysis. This offers new opportunities to reimagine and move beyond established historical narratives and preoccupations. At a point when English-language archives have been comprehensively mined for the political histories of Afghan dynasties, intruding Western empires, and the dynamics of modernity and state-building, non-English-language primary-source material has become increasingly available, including in translation and in online digital archival formats. The recent English translation by M. Mehdi Khorrami and Robert D. McChesney of volume three of The History of Afghanistan by the Afghan Hazara historian Fayz Muhammad Katib (c. 1863–1931) offers new material with which to reconsider not only elite political careers but also ethnic identity and competition, the sociology of provincial political networks, and the creation of governing rules codified by ʿAbd al-Rahman and Habibullah.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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1 Katib, Fayz Muhammad, The History of Afghanistan: 1747–1901: Fayz Muhammad Katib's Siraj al-Tawarikh, vol. 3 (Kabul: Government Press [Matbaʾa-i Dawlat], 1333/1915)Google Scholar, trans. M. Mehdi Khorrami and R. D. McChesney (Leiden: E. J. Brill, forthcoming).

2 Afghanistan Digital Library,

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