Afghanistan is a war-torn country in a vital geostrategic location - connecting the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Since the 1970s Afghanistan has experienced a number of invasions and conflicts producing chaos and turmoil in daily life. And yet, remarkably, its cultural forms and values have managed to survive the onslaught. Today, Afghanistan's rich music scene combines the sounds of military anthems, energetic pop music and deeply devotional Sufi chants performed in different places for different occasions in a number of languages - Dari, Pashto, Hazara, Uzbek and Turkmen. This book studies the impact of war and conflict on popular culture in Afghanistan and examines the key roles of both Islam and gender in defining the music and folklore of Central Asia. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the society and culture of modern Afghanistan and other turbulent environments.
Razia Sultanova is a Fellow of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, University of Cambridge and Director of the Centre for Central Asian Music. She graduated from the Uzbek State Conservatory and was awarded her PhD by Moscow State Conservatory, where she is Visiting Professor. She has also worked as a Research Fellow at Goldsmith's College and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is the author of From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam and Culture in Central Asia (I.B.Tauris). Her interests extend from Russian and Central Asian to Middle Eastern culture and music.