Afghanistan Rising: Islamic Law and Statecraft between the Ottoman and British Empires
August 19, 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from Britain. Commemorating the roots and legacies of Afghan independence a century ago, Professor Faiz Ahmed unearths a lost history behind Afghanistan’s founding as a modern nation-state between the Ottoman and British empires, the subject of his book, Afghanistan Rising (Harvard University Press). As NATO policymakers continue to debate the future of foreign involvement in this pivotal country, the lecture will explore what insights and new perspectives we can learn from rediscovering Afghanistan’s own legal and constitutional history in Afghan, Turkish, and South Asian archives, rather than European colonial sources. Ahmed will offer a rich narrative focusing on long-overlooked voices from Afghanistan, Ottoman Turkey, and British India just over a century ago, including: Young Turk lawyers to Pashtun clerics; Ottoman Arab officers to Indian independence activists; and emissaries of the last Ottoman caliphs to an extraordinary dynasty of Afghan kings and queens.