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SAC Presents: Noah Coburn

341 Eggers Hall

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Potters and Warlords in an Afghan Bazaar How does culture shape the way that we understand social organization and violence? This talk focuses on an Afghan market town north of Kabul where the speaker conducted a year and a half of ethnographic research with several lineages of potters. Despite insurgency in neighboring districts and a great deal of tension over land and water rights, the social patterns, including marriage, friendships and both economic competition and cooperation, made violence an unattractive political tool for many of the young men in town. As the presence of international military forces and development continue to reshape the local political landscape, however, power and sovereignty continue to be re-conceptualized. This talk looks at current sources of instability in Afghanistan on both a local and national level, and more broadly asks what this tells us about the relationship between culture, social organization and power.


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