Nasim Fekrat

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10502

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Fekrat, Nasim (California, Irvine, U. of) "The Entangled Legacies of Afghanistan: Occupation, Exile and Hazara Struggles for Belonging"

Since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in Summer 2021, approximately 76,000 Afghans have evacuated to the U.S. Of these, a disproportionate number come from the Hazara ethnic minority, who fled the country because of their close ties to the U.S. and their genocidal persecution under the Taliban. My dissertation project investigates the prominent societal roles that Hazaras took up under U.S. occupation, and how Hazara refugees understand themselves and their identities today in the aftermath of that occupation. Empirically, it seeks to understand how Hazara cooperation with foreign military intervention affected their communities, their relationships with other Afghans, and their sense of belonging to Afghanistan. It examines Hazara collective political subjectivity in light of U.S. occupation, which both enabled their (short-lived) liberation and marked them as targets of Taliban-condoned violence. Its primary research question is: What is the relationship between Hazaras’ role in the U.S. occupation and their sense of belonging to the Hazara community, Afghanistan, and the U.S. as recent immigrants? Through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and online ethnography with Hazara refugees, former politicians, and community organizations, my project will shed light on how the geopolitics of U.S. dominance shapes struggles for belonging among refugees in exile.