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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Nationalism in Afghanistan has not received attention from the scholars of the country despite its significance, at least locally. Using a post-modernist analysis of nationalism, this thesis will study nationalism in Afghanistan in the context of colonial knowledge, class, and cultural institutions between 1901 and 1929. Chapter one is about colonialism and its impact on nationalism in Afghanistan. In the nineteenth century, colonial activities constructed the political, epistemological, and territorial foundation of Afghan nation. Chapter two shows how previous studies of nationalism in Afghanistan have explained nationalism in the country. As the review of the previous studies of nationalism in Afghanistan will show, the previous explanation is hegemonic and state-centric. Chapter three, the primary findings of this thesis, is a study of the reforms in education and its relationship to development of nationalism in Afghanistan. As a result of the reforms in education, the Afghan state was able to produce and patronize a well-composed class of roshanfekran or elites in Kabul. Chapter four is about the symbols and Amanullah Khan’s eight month world tour that became useful tools of the Afghan state and the nationalists to legitimate their nationalistic programs inside and outside Afghanistan. In the conclusion, the thesis draws attention to its findings, and suggests that further studies of nationalism in Afghanistan will be useful; especially studies that will address the relationships between class, ethnicity, and language and nationalism in Afghanistan.

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