In her first book, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature Alla Ivanchikova examines how Afghanistan has been imagined — and what those imaginings have come to signify — in global literature and film produced after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent U.S.-led invasion.
The book is especially timely as it comes out during the period of U.S. withdrawal negotiations, marking the end of an era of the 9/11 wars.
In Imagining Afghanistan: Global Fiction and Film of the 9/11 Wars, Ivanchikova analyzes fiction, graphic novels, memoirs, drama and cinema, arguing that the imagined “Afghanistan” of these texts serves as a lens to examine pressing political and artistic anxieties of the era. Imagining Afghanistan unpacks how “contemporary cultural producers contend with the moral ambiguities of 21st-century humanitarianism, interpret the legacy of the Cold War, debate the role of the U.S. in the rise of transnational terror and grapple with the long-term impact of war on both human and nonhuman ecologies.”
Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean writes that “with power and brilliance, Alla Ivanchikova presents Afghanistan as a screen for competing geopolitical fantasies of the future — socialist, Islamist, and neoliberal. In so doing, she teaches us to see the ongoing disaster of a Cold War militarism that masquerades as 21st-century liberal humanism. Imagining Afghanistan is a much-needed contribution to the urgent project of dismantling the anti-communism that shields capitalism and imperialism in the Anthropocene.”
“A powerful study of Afghanistan in the global imaginary, this brilliant and moving book restores an acutely needed balance to narratives about the aftermath of Soviet occupation and the War on Terror,” writes Debjani Ganguly, professor of English and director of the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures at the University of Virginia. “It revives memories of an Afghanistan prior to 1979, a haven of educated, enterprising, and progressive people. In traversing the arc to the 21st century, Alla Ivanchikova’s book invests Afghanistan with a humanity scarcely found in Western accounts of ruined landscapes trampled upon by bearded fundamentalists.”
Ivanchikova holds a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research and teaching focus on the post-9/11 global novel, post-socialist studies, ecocriticism and new media theory. Her recent articles on the global novel and film appeared in Textual Practice, Camera Obscura, College Literature, and Modern Fiction Studies.