The Sounds of Kabul: Radio and the Politics of Popular Culture in Afghanistan, 1960-1979


ACLS Fellowship Program


COLLEGE Program, Stanford Introductory Studies


“The Sounds of Kabul” is an in-depth analysis of radio and popular culture in modern Afghanistan. As the first historical study of Afghanistan to use archives of sound, this project employs literature, poetry, and song to uncover thousands of years of shared textual history and cultural memory across Central and South Asia, and the broader Islamic World. Over the course of six chapters this interdisciplinary study places sound and mass media, and their diverse interlocutors, in direct conversation with broader social, cultural, and political developments unfolding primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. Accordingly, a wide array of elite and ordinary actors are introduced and contribute to a new sonic approach that captures the visceral experience of daily life in the region.