Ajam Podcast #29: Nostalgic Desire & the Restoration of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace

Episode 29 December 07, 2020 00:25:44
Ajam Podcast #29: Nostalgic Desire & the Restoration of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace
Ajam Media Collective Podcast
Ajam Podcast #29: Nostalgic Desire & the Restoration of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace
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Show Notes

In this episode, Rustin interviews Dr. Huma Gupta, the Neubauer Junior Research Fellow at Brandeis University, about her 2017 article, “['Nostalgic Desire': The Restoration of Dar ul-Aman Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan"](https://www.academia.edu/41646389/_Nostalgic_Desire_The_Restoration_of_Dar_ul_Aman_Palace_in_Kabul_Afghanistan) (Thresholds Journal, MIT Press). Gupta shows how the Darul Aman Palace’s restoration, which was initiated by President Ashraf Ghani in 2016, transformed the palace into an object of collective nostalgic belonging-- a symbol of Afghanistan’s gloried past and constantly interrupted history. Originally constructed in 1927 to serve as the seat of Parliament, the Darul Aman Palace has served many purposes over the course of the previous century, ranging from a storehouse, military base, and a refugee camp.  By focusing on the palace during Amanullah Khan’s reign, Ghani’s restoration sanitizes the building’s longer history, using it to promote an image of an Afghanistan that could have been if only its people had accepted their enlightened leaders’ vision of modernity. Gupta pushes against this narrative and provides alternative visions for a restoration that could embody the palace’s many lives.

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