The Hazaras, one of the ethnic groups in Afghanistan, have historically resided primarily in central Afghanistan, known as Hazarastan or “Hazarajat.” However, Hazara communities can now be found throughout the country. While there is no clearly defined territorial boundary for Hazarastan on the map of Afghanistan, it generally encompasses three central provinces (Bamiyan, Uruzgan, and Ghor), along with parts of other provinces such as Herat, Farah, Kandahar, Ghazni, Parwan, Baghlan, Balkh, and Badghis. The majority of Hazaras practice Shia Islam, with their language being Persian (Dari) spoken in the Hazaragy dialect. Despite their Mongolian-Turkish heritage, the exact ethnic origins of the Hazara remain a topic of ongoing discussion and require further exploration. Hazaras exhibit diverse ethnic backgrounds and possess ancient origins. While they are likely the second or third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, discriminatory policies and division within the country have marginalized them, resulting in their continued socio-economic and political underdevelopment.
Zainab Qadiri studied literature at Herat University before she became an author, theater artist and editor-in-chief of the literary and artistic magazine “Shirin”. She was also actively involved with the Simorgh Film Association of Culture and Art and the Yaran-e-Yar Cultural Association, both based in Herat. Zainab directed theater plays dealing with gender topics and discrimination against the Hazaras in Afghanistan. Through her theater work in a female theater collective in Afghanistan, she cooperated with the Ernst Busch University of Performing Arts, among others. Working at the intersection of academic research and the performing arts, Zainab will focus on a project on the Hazara ethnic minority while being a EUME Fellow in 2022-24, affiliated with Ernst Busch University for Performing Arts, Berlin.
Mina Kanlarzadeh is a historian of the modern Middle East. Before joining EUME, she was a postdoctoral scholar at Northwestern University where she worked on a co-authored book project in history of science and technology in contact with MIT University Press. She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University with a thesis in global political thought titled “Alienation, Translation, and Their postcolonial Critics.” Her research interests are in postcolonial political thought, gender and sexuality, critical theory, translation and literary studies. Work from her projects has been published in Religions, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, and Popular Music and Society.