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South Asia Center presents: Karim-Aly S. Kassam

341 Eggers Hall

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Karim-Aly S. Kassam Challenging Metanarratives of Conflict: Pluralism and the Ecology of Survival in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan This presentation challenges the metanarrative that farmers and pastoralists are fundamentally in conflict, and illustrates the application of the value of pluralism. It challenges the Cain (farmer) and Abel (herder) narrative in the context of war-torn Afghanistan. It also introduces the notion that pluralism has an ecological basis and expands the concept of ecological niche to include sociocultural dimensions of human communities. Using evidence from the Pamirs, it demonstrates how diverse ethnic and cultural groups participate in different livelihood strategies based on diverse relationships with local biodiversity and develop systems of mutual benefit through trade and shared space. These groups have enabled each other’s survival in the midst of economic collapse and civil war, indicating that interdependence is a source of resilience.

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