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“We Went to the Hills”: Four Afghan Life Stories

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Title: “We Went to the Hills”: Four Afghan Life Stories
Authors: Weir, Jimmy
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for South Asian Studies
Citation: Weir, Jimmy, "“We Went to the Hills”: Four Afghan Life Stories." Paper presented at the Center for South Asian Studies 30th Annual Symposium, "Sensing South Asia," April 17-19, 2013.
Abstract: Many begin to understand Afghan culture in terms of the importance of honor. While identifying a complex of mix of ethnicities in terms of a single characteristic present in all cultures unavoidably over-simplifies, it nevertheless suggests a useful question: honor before whom? In a series of life history interviews I conducted with Afghans in 2005 I found many narrating images of themselves and their pasts in a relationship to their sense of anticipated audiences to their lives. In my presentation I will focus on four “ordinary” Afghans from distinctly different backgrounds to identify what I perceive to be a narrative image emerging in relationships to their perception of personally significant audiences, that is a community or social entity important to the narrator’s social and self-identification. A sense of a life takes form before a sense of a community who is deemed a valued judge of honor across, in the Afghan case, a lifetime of acting and reacting to circumstances of severe political conflict. The underlying premise is many, especially older, Afghans are engaged in a process of anticipating others they personally value as judging their lives and assessing their honor and I consider this as it emerges across life narratives for insights into memory and intersubjectivity in Afghan contexts.
Rights: Weir, Jimmy
Appears in Collections:2013 South Asia Spring Symposium Presentations

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