Mou Banerjee

Position title: Resident Fellow (2022-2023)

Assistant Professor, Department of History, UW–Madison

The IRH logo

Strange Intimacies: Changing Perceptions of Afghanistan in the South Asian Imaginary, 1816-1930

A common perception of Afghanistan is that of a remote, wild, ungovernable frontier, the “graveyard of empires.” My monograph, “Strange Intimacies: Changing perceptions of Afghanistan in the South Asian Imaginary, 1816-1930,” questions these Western definitions of the Afghan frontier by privileging close relationships between South Asians and Afghans instead. Through this, the project aims to re-center historical, diplomatic and postcolonial connections between Afghanistan and South Asia, beyond paradigms of humanitarian wars and geopolitical tensions. After the end of the 20-year War on Terror, analyzing such entanglements is urgently important to envision an alternative future for South Asia and Afghanistan.

Dr. Mou Banerjee is Assistant Professor of History at UW–Madison. She holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. She is a historian of modern South Asia, specializing in the period from 18th to the 20th century. Her research interests include religion and politics in India, especially on the evolution of the concepts of private faith and political identity in the public sphere. Her first book, The Disinherited: Christianity and Conversion in Colonial India, 1813-1907 is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.