Syeda Masood

GIAS Fellow
Period of Stay: 
September 2022 – August 2023
Discipline: 
Sociology
Institution: 
PhD candidate, Brown University
Project Title: 
Self-Making under U.S. Occupation in Afghanistan: Literary Kabul’s Engagement with Segregation, Surveillance and Withdrawal
Project Abstract: 

This project is based on my dissertation, Coloniality and Self-Determination in Afghanistan: Literary Kabul’s Engagement with Segregation, Surveillance and Withdrawal. First, it will be revised for submission as a book manuscript to an academic press. Second, I will write and submit two stand-alone articles to top tier journals for peer-review. The book and articles are based on the ethnographic data I collected in 90+ interviews and 15 months of participant observation in book clubs in Kabul, Afghanistan. I will use the time at Global Institute for Advanced Study and European Humanities University primarily for writing and revision. The book manuscript would develop the argument from my dissertation further. I argue that despite the gains made by the urban middle classes in a country like Afghanistan under U.S. occupation, symbolic violence perpetrated by the technologies of American empire eroded a confident sense of self for them. My findings contribute to the study of self-making under empire by showing the ways this happens under the U.S. empire.