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The Afghan Discovery of Buddha: The Intellectual Prehistory of Islamist Iconoclasm

Carson Lecture Series: Lecture by Dr. Nile Green

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

In March 2001, the world watched in horror as the Taliban detonated explosives beneath the colossal Buddhas of Bamiyan. Since then, Islamist iconoclasm has spread to other regions of the Islamic world. Yet in the decades before the anti-Soviet jihad of the 1980s, official Afghan state historians celebrated the Buddhist and wider pre-Islamic past as the bedrock of Afghan civilization. Drawing on previously unknown textual and artistic sources from Afghanistan, this venture into global intellectual history traces the influential interplay of French archaeology and Afghan nationalism.

Dr. Green is a historian of the multiple globalizations of Islam and Muslims. After beginning his career as a historian of India and Pakistan, he has traced Muslim networks that connect Afghanistan, Iran, the Indian Ocean, Africa, Japan, Europe and America.

Reviews of his books have appeared in The New York Times (as Editors' Choice), The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Literary Review, Prospect, Time Out, as well as major newspapers across the English-speaking world from the Toronto Star to the Sydney Morning Herald (as Pick of the Week), in addition to South Asia and the Middle East.

His writings span the domains of global, social, religious, cultural and literary history. His most recent book, The Love of Strangers, reconstructs the beginning of modern Muslim-European exchange by following the first Middle Eastern students to study in Europe.

Memorial Union (campus map)
208: La Raza
Natalia Bueno
1 541 737 8560
natalia.bueno at oregonstate.edu
History Department