Gender Studies in Afghanistan or jender bazi: The Neoliberal University, Knowledge Production and Labour Under Military Occupation
By Paniz Musawi Natanzi. Following the military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, private universities in Kabul became sites of marketisation and models for other cities in the country. In the process of neoliberal transformation, gender mainstreaming was a key cross-sectoral tool, intersecting foreign development and military policies, which included higher education. Funding for the development of university degree programmes and scholarships in gender studies came with conditions of adhering to an anti-social political and epistemological understanding of gender that builds on expanding “individualisation and financialisation”, while claiming to serve communities through entrepreneurialism. The hegemony of finance under neoliberal imperialism, the current manifestation of capitalism and process of empire-building, in sites of military and humanitarian-developmental intervention, reconfigured social, political, economic and epistemological structures also through the university. A critical analysis.