The discussant will be Alessandro Monsutti, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology.
The need to “save Afghan women” was a justification used by the US and its allies to gain public support for the military intervention in Afghanistan after the attacks of 9/11. Paradoxically, 20 years later and in spite of billions spent on reconstruction efforts, the Taliban are back in power and the situation of women remains dire. How can we explain such a situation? What are the historical origins and ethical limitations of this politics of compassion toward Afghan women? Can a more egalitarian language of alliance and solidarity, beyond the paternalist one of salvation, be invented as the global war on terror comes to a dead end?
Julie Billaud is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology. A legal and political anthropologist, she joined the Institute in 2019, where she teaches Human Rights and the Politics of Culture (ANSO) and Comparative Humanitarianisms: Anthropological Perspectives (MINT). She earned her PhD from the University of Sussex and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She is the author of Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan (2015, Pennsylvania University Press). Her current research interests span from the relationship between ethics and politics in humanitarian action to the transformations of global governance processes resulting from the encroachment of neoliberal forms of management in public affairs.