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Crafting History: A Tribute to Fayz Muhammad and Seraj-al-Tawarikh

A video presentation by Ashraf Ghani for the 2011 Program on Central Asia conference: Great Games? Afghan History through Afghan Eyes

The year 2011 marks the eightieth anniversary of the death of Fayz Muhammad Katib, often considered to have been the founder of modern Afghan history writing. Whether in the present day or in the Katib’s own period, Afghans have long invested in a multiplicity of historiographical models to make sense of the tortured development path of the Afghan state. Recent international intervention in Afghanistan has created or reproduced many narratives of the Afghan national story, from repeatedly doomed invasions to perpetual fault lines of ethnic division. Yet very little attention has been given to the ways in which Afghans themselves have understood their history, whether as national Afghans or international socialists, as members of ethnic qawms or Muslims.

This conference focuses on patterns and case studies of the historical writings which Afghans have produced in abundance since the formation of the Afghan state in the mid-eighteenth century and which form crucial but under-researched sources on Afghans’ own representations of state, society and culture. Bringing together the leading international specialists on Afghan historiography, the conference represents the first consolidated attempt to study the range of historical genres and narratives produced by Afghans themselves.

Ashraf Ghani was elected President of Afghanistan on September 21, 2014.

Support for Great Games? Afghan History through Afghan Eyes provided by the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies. For further information about the UCLA Program on Central Asia Afghan studies program, please visit