A brief update for anyone reading in London or Oxford: I’ll be giving two presentations in the course of the next week that will focus on some of the German material on development in Afghanistan that I’ve been collecting recently.
On Friday, April 20, I’m delighted to be presenting a short paper at the 10th Annual LSE-GWU-UCSB Graduate Conference on the Cold War, titled ‘Afghanistan’s Developmental Moment? Modernization and Development in Cold War Afghanistan, c. 1929-1973′. It looks to be a great conference, with a really catholic selection of papers on topics from the DDR in the world to the history of Latin American Studies in the USA to relations between the Reagan Administration and American Catholics over the issue of nuclear weapons. More than that, I’m excited to have Odd Arne Westad, one of the most methodologically interesting historians of the Cold War, as my panel discussant – hopefully I won’t trip over myself too much. Because there are so many papers, presenters are asked to keep their papers to less than 15 minutes. As a result, I will hardly be able to cover all of the different stories of development in Afghanistan during the 1960s and early 1970s; I’ll try to focus on some of the fantastic West German material I’ve been collecting in the last two weeks. That paper will be give between 4 PM – 5:45 PM at the LSE (more details forthcoming), and I’ll make sure to record it and put the Prezi up shortly after I give it.
On Thursday, April 26, I’ll be giving a related talk in more familiar environs: the Thursday Graduate Seminar of my home program at Oxford, Economic and Social History. Taking place at 12:45 PM in the Seminar Room at Nuffield College with free sandwiches and refreshments, that talk is tentatively titled ‘Replenishing the Borderlands: From Hydro-Freedom to Eco-Development in Cold War Afghanistan, c. 1947-1970′ and will likely be a comparative discussion of West German and American provincial development programs in the country during the Cold War, based on a close reading of both Paul S. Jones’ wonderful and bizarre Afghanistan Venture (a memoir about working on the Helmand Valley Association) and some of the West German files and interviews I’ve collected recently on irrigation and afforestation in Paktia Province. I’ll have a bit more time for that talk, so expect something expansive. As with the LSE talk, this one should be recorded and up for your listening and viewing pleasure online shortly after the event itself.
Because of all of these talks, expect a less frequent posting schedule this week. I’m working on several longer essays, but between Prezis for these presentations, actually writing the dissertation after these research trips, and the term in Oxford beginning next week, life is rather loco at the moment.