The Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association awarded Professor Olszewska the prize for her recent book The Pearl of Dari: Poetry and Personhood Among Young Afghans in Iran (Indiana University Press).
Commenting on their choice, they said, ‘Interspersed
with poetry that is used as ethnographic data and analyzed as literature, the
book is rich, original, and beautifully written. For a work that makes
significant contributions to so many different topics in anthropology –
poetics, refugees, gender, political Islam, and more – it is remarkably modest
in presentation. The analysis unfolds through intimate stories, readings of
poems, descriptions of lives and events. The arguments are clear and also
presented with great subtlety. Providing an account of the lived experiences of
people in this lesser-known refugee population in the Middle East is a
significant contribution on its own; Pearl of Dari does this
and so much more.’
Professor Olszewska specialises in the ethnography of Iran and Afghanistan, with a focus on Afghan refugees in Iran, the Persian-speaking Afghan diaspora, and the anthropology of literature and cultural production. The Pearl of Dari examines Afghan refugee life in Iran through the circle of poets and intellectuals who make up the ‘Pearl of Dari’ cultural organisation. Dari is the name by which the Persian language is known in Afghanistan.
More information about Professor Olszewska's work can be found on her Faculty webpage.