arrow graphic
Asia Society
Homeland Afghanistan

Geography and Destiny For centuries, scarce resources and difficult terrain have required people in the Hindu Kush region to develop unique solutions to survive. But while geography has brought challenges, it has also offered opportunities. In Afghanistan, geography is a multi-sided destiny.

Identity and Perception Local, tribal, and religious identities in the Hindu Kush region have always shifted depending on one’s point of view. As Afghanistan decides what it means to be Afghan, it faces a kaleidoscope of moving perspectives.

Tradition and Modernization Afghans have always had to be flexible. At times, this flexibility has brought people together, and at other times it has torn them apart. Reconciling tradition and modernization means making sense of what’s at stake when people change--and when they don’t.

Traces and Narratives History is not always written. Much of what we know about Afghanistan comes from scattered artifacts, symbols, and oral traditions. Understanding these traces means piecing together the narratives that history leaves behind.

Scroll through the timeline below to reveal events in selected theme (denoted by Theme Icon ).

Drag here for timeline

Timeline Timeline

Through Afghan Eyes

CIRCA 1910 CE
THEMES:

Identity & Perception

Traces & Narratives

Tradition & Modernization

Reveal Source

Image32. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

KES-1025-A-394. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1051-H-420. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1069-H-438. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1114-H-483. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1116-H-485. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1123-H-492. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1152-H-521. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1204-A-573. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1246-A-615. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1252-A-621. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1263-A-632. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-131-H-42. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-14-A. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1536-A-905. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-157-2-H-68-2. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1578-A-947. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1586-A-955. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-158-H-69. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1603-A-972. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1653-A-1022. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1657-A-1026. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1662-A-1031. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1716-A-1085. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1730-A-1099. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-183-21-H-94-21. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1848-A-1217. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1849-A-1218. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1890-A-1259. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-1934-A-1303. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-197-H-108. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-2009-A-1378. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-2190-HG-13. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-2191-HG-14. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-2198-E-4. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-228-H-139. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-238-H-149. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-267-H-178. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-330-H-241. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-363-H-274. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-429-H-340. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-459-H-370. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-503-2-H-414-2. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-514-H-425. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-517-11-H-428-11. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-517-14-H-428-14. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-517-9-H-428-9. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-532-H-443. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-600-H-511. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-604-H-515. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-627-H-538. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-645-A-14. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-730-A-99. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-758-A-127. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-815-A-184. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-947-A-316. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
KES-996-A-445. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.
 
Lopez, Vincent, Harry Donnelly, and Wilander Wiliam. Afghanistan. Lopez and Hamilton's Kings of Harmony Orchestra. 1920. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/27tomp9.

Producer: Grace Norman
Reveal Transcript

Photography came to Afghanistan sometime in the late 19th century, most likely from Europe.

For the first time, the world was able to witness Afghanistan through Afghan eyes. There was portraiture, and photographs of important political events and historical turning points. Photographers documented different peoples of Afghanistan &mdash but mostly it captured the high society that could afford this new photo technology.

The outside world had a glimpse of well-to-do Afghan families. Photography revealed a changing society. New fashions came and went. There was a life of leisure, for those who could afford it.

And it caught the innocence that a future generation of Afghan children would not know.

Photography came to Afghanistan sometime in the late 19th century. For the first time, the world could witness Afghanistan through Afghan eyes.

Share