Skip to main content
IU Bloomington

M. Nazif Shahrani

Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies/College of Arts and Sciences

Expert Bio

M. Nazif Shahrani is a professor emeritus of anthropology and of Central Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Indiana University Bloomington. His earlier research focused on cultural ecology of high altitude agro-pastoralism in the Wakhan and Pamirs of Afghanistan. Since the 1980s, his focus has been on Islamic movements, identity politics, state society relations in multi-ethnic nation-states, political economy, international aid and proxy wars “by the West on the Rest.”

Born in Badakhshan, Afghanistan, Shahrani moved to the United States to pursue his higher education in anthropology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1976. He has been Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Middle Easter Studies, Mellon Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center and a Woodrow Wilson Fellows for International Scholars at the Smithsonian Institute. He received the East-West Center scholarship at the University of Hawaii (1967-70), the Social Science Research Council and Fulbright awards, among others.

Shahrani has authored “The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War” (1979 and end edition with updates in 2002), co-edited “Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan: Anthropological Perspectives” (1984 & 2018) and edited “Modern Afghanistan: The Impact of 40 Years of War.”

Areas of Expertise

State-Society relations in multi-ethnic fragile states, political economy of international assistance, causes of the forever wars, Islamic movements, political anthropology and anthropology of Islam, and regionally Afghanistan, Central and Southwestern Asia and the Middle East.