Afghan Village Voices: Stories from a Tribal Community



Afghanistan in the 20th century was virtually unknown in Europe and America. At peace until the 1970s, the country was seen as a remote and exotic land, visited only by adventurous tourists or researchers. Afghan Village Voices is a testament to this little-known period of peace and captures a society and culture now lost. Prepared by two of the most accomplished and well-known anthropologists of the Middle East and Central Asia, Richard Tapper and Nancy Tapper-Lindisfarne, this is a book of stories told by the Piruzai, a rural Afghan community of some 200 families who farmed in northern Afghanistan and in summer took their flocks to the central Hazârajât mountains.

The book comprises a collection of remarkable stories, folktales and conversations and provides unprecedented insight into the depth and colour of these people's lives. Recorded in the early 1970s, the stories range from memories of the Piruzai migration to the north a half century before, to the feuds, ethnic strife and the doings of powerful khans. There are also stories of falling in love, elopements, marriages, childbirth and the world of spirits. The book includes vignettes of the narrators, photographs, maps and a full glossary. It is a remarkable document of Afghanistan at peace, told by a people whose voices have rarely been heard.

Product Details

I. B. Tauris & Company
Publish Date
July 23, 2020
6.1 X 1.2 X 9.1 inches | 1.75 pounds

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About the Author

Richard Tapper is Professor Emeritus at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is a social anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic field research in Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey. His publications include the monographs Pasture and Politics: Economics, Conflict, and Ritual among Shahsevan Nomads of Northwestern Iran, as well as Frontier Nomads of Iran: A Political and Social History of the Shahsevan and Islam and Democracy in Iran: Eshkevari and the Quest for Reform. He is also well-known for the books Nomadic Peoples of Iran, The New Iranian Cinema and A Taste of Thyme.

Nancy Lindisfarne-Tapper taught social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London for many years. She has carried out fieldwork in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Wales and the USA. Her books include Bartered Brides: Politics, Gender and Marriage in an Afghan Tribal Society, Dancing in Damascus, The Roots of Sexual Violence, and the edited Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies, and Masculinities under Neoliberalism.