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CPCR Seminar: Invisible Men: The Injured Lives of Afghan Interpreters

Invisible Men: The Injured Lives of Afghan Interpreters

CPCR invites you to the first seminar of 2024, Invisible Men: The Injured Lives of Afghan Interpreters. Please see the abstract below: 

Wounded Afghan interpreters often remain a footnote in the stories of Western soldiers, despite the ubiquity of injuries among local Afghan civilian interpreters who worked during the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission (2001-2014). This paper seeks to fill this knowledge gap by offering an analysis of how Afghan male interpreters make sense of their injuries, based on interviews conducted by the authors. The silence around injured Afghan interpreters is politically problematic but also limits academic understanding of the differential gendered impact of injuries on a wider range of actors in conflict, who must navigate unequally structured cultural, political, and legal arenas in the aftermath of their injuries. Attending to the voices of injured Afghan civilian interpreters employed by Western armies, shows how they navigate, strive but also fail to perform military and civilian masculinities as in/outsiders to Western military brotherhood and a divided Afghan society in the face of limited institutional support.

Conference Details

DateTuesday, 30th January 2024



LocationF301 Newman Building, UCD


Please see below the speakers bios: 

Professor Sara de Jong has researched the claims to protection and rights by Afghan interpreters and their advocates in countries involved in the Afghanistan war (2001-2021) for the past six years. Her research traces continuities between colonial and neo-imperial ab/uses of local brokers, such as interpreters, who are often indispensable but treated as expendable. It centres Afghan voices, interrogates and informs resettlement policies and connects advocates internationally. Together with three Afghanistan veterans, she also co-founded the Sulha Alliance, which advocates for Afghan interpreters and other locally employed civilians employed by the British Army. She collaborated with photographer Andy Barnham to create the award-winning exhibition 'We are here, because you were there: Afghan interpreters in the UK', soon again on display in Impressions Gallery in Bradford. 

Sayed Jalal Shajjan is a writer and a graduate of social and cultural anthropology with degrees from the University of Tuebingen in Germany and London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also a prize-winning journalist whose work has covered conflict, security, migration and humanitarian crisis. His work has been published in Aljazeera, the Vice, the New Arab and many more. Sayed Jalal, coming from Afghanistan, previously worked with the government of Afghanistan and international organisations focusing on post-conflict sustainable development and disaster risk management. His interests include, violence, post-conflict development, migration, and governance.  In 2017 and 2018, Sayed Jalal conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Kabul, focusing on the lives of local interpreters as they lived in hiding from the insurgents. 

Please do share with your networks. Please register to attend via heidi.riley@ucd.ie

UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe)

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