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Images of Afghanistan

Images of Afghanistan provides the first-ever overview of the art and literature of Afghanistan. 32 chapters on art, music, film, proverbs, short stories, poetry, cartoons, and folktales in popular style offer key insights into the complexities of Afghan culture. The book is divided into seven sections. Introductory chapters focus on the history of Afghanistan and understanding culture through art and literature. A Dari Literature section covers classical and modern poetry, short stories, proverbs and children's rhymes. A Pashto Literature section includes traditional poetry, modern poetry, short stories, folktales, proverbs and tappas. The Themes of Culture section analyzes the dynamics of shame and honor in the Persio-Afghan setting, the traditional need for patronage and its modern relevance, the mystical longing for God as reflected in the ghazals of Hafiz, and romantic love in traditional and modern love stories. The Traditional Art section covers calligraphy, woodworking, and ceramics, the unique layout of the traditional city, and archeological heritage. The Performing Arts and Fine Art section explores the development of music, fine art, and film in Afghanistan. A final section called Potpourri features Afghan authors who help span the chasm between east and west, a selection of modern cultural initiatives, the infamous folk character Mullah Nasruddin, the role of women in art and literature, and cartoons and comedy. "This is a book to give all of us a more profound understanding of the rich culture and ancient heritage of a place many only know as a place of war. Images of Afghanistan will change the way you see this country." -Lyse Doucet, Presenter and Correspondent, BBC World News
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About the Author

Dr. Loewen grew up in rural mid-West Canada, but Persian-Afghan culture has been his area of research for many years. In the 1980s, he studied Persian at a university in Pakistan and graduated with an MA in Persian Literature. He actually wrote his dissertation in Persian - an analysis on the ethics in the Gulistan of Shaykh Saadi of Shiraz. "Persian-Immersion" for sure. He and his wife moved to Toronto, Canada in 1989. Here he continued graduate studies and completed a PhD in Middle Eastern Civilizations, from the University of Toronto. For his thesis he analyzed the Persian hero - jawanmardi (literally: young manliness). This research helped him tremendously after he moved to Afghanistan in 2003, where he developed a leadership - management training program for Afghan professionals and students. He explored how modern leadership and management relate to shame / honor and patron-client societies. In other words, how can we be truly honorable leaders and managers. Now living in Canada again, he directs a multi-media project and teaches on cultural and faith issues, with a special interest on Christian-Muslim relations. Dr McMichael, an American physician, moved to Kabul during the Taliban era. She is the editor of Images of Afghanistan: Exploring Afghan Culture through Art and Literature and Enjoy Afghanistan, a popular orientation manual for expatriate workers, and the author of Pocket Medical Dari and Pocket Medical Pashto, language survival guides for expatriate health workers. She has written more than 50 radio dramas on women's issues and public health topics. For two years, she led a four-day orientation course for expatriates new to Afghanistan. As a dermatologist, her interests also include skin diseases, skin care, and umbrellas for sun protection.

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