In the aftermath of the capture of Kabul by the Taliban on 15 August 2021, Afghan poets – both those already living in the diaspora and those who were evacuated – have been particularly prolific in online spaces. They have written poems reacting to the chaotic events of the evacuation and harsh Taliban crackdowns on women’s rights and other reprisals, and they have reflected on the pain and dilemmas of renewed or ongoing exile.
Drawing on a long-term digital ethnography of Afghan intellectuals and writers, this lecture follows the lives and works of several poets who regularly post their new work online. While specific to the particularities of this historical moment, these works illuminate several broader developments in Afghan poetry in the Persian language. The speaker explores poetry as a form of witnessing of cataclysmic political events like the Taliban takeover as they unfold in Afghanistan, as well its ability to crystallize affective diasporic publics.
A lecture by Zuzanna Olszewska (University of Oxford) in the series "Cultures of Islam: Current Research" by the Münchner Mittelost-Mittelmeer-Mittelasien-Zentrum, 4MZ (Munich Middle East Central Asia Center).
Find more information on the Website of the Institute for the Near and Middle East.