The Kite Runner -

The Kite Runner: Introduction Webquest
Just as our own cultural context creates our perception of the world around us, so too are author’s
shaped by their historical and cultural contexts. To gain a better understanding of The Kite Runner,
you will complete an online webquest to establish background knowledge about Afghan culture and
historical context.
Research: You will engage in online research about a particular topic relating to Afghan culture. Your
group will be assigned a topic from the list below:
History and Geography
Religion and faith
Daily life (Dress/Food/Recreation/Economy)
Women in Society
Tribal relationships
You will complete the readings online today, and gather information under the guiding questions I
Present: Your group will then create a GoogleSlides presentation that you will share with the class.
You will present on 10/26
Outline: Finally, you group will need to make an outline that summarizes the most important
information you collected. You must share the outline with Ms. Blakeney by the end of class on
10/22. I will make copies for the entire class to look at as you present.
Summarize Afghan history since 1930, highlighting important events. Consider:
• What happens in 1921?
• What happens in 1933?
• Who does Gen. Mohammed Daoud Khan make an alliance with? Why?
• 1973 was a pivotal point in Afghanistan’s history. Why?
• Why does Osama shift his focus from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1988?
• In 1992 Afghanistan endures yet another coup. Which group takes over this time? What are the
problems with this group?
• Why do most Afghans believe the Taliban takeover in 1993 is a good thing at first?
• Why do more than a million Afghans flee to Pakistan between the years of 1995 – 1999?
• What was America’s answer to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001?
What trends do you see in history?
What do these suggest about life for the average citizen?
What do they suggest about Afghan national identity and values?
How does the country's "basic information" affect its national identity?
Basic cultural overview
Afghanistan Data
Historical overview
Historical Timeline
Religion and faith
What are the differences between Sunni vs. Shiite Islam?
How is Islam integral to Afghan culture?
What are the basic tenets of Islam?
What other religions have similar beliefs?
Why do you think these religions, if they are so similar, seem to have difficulty getting along?
Basic cultural overview
Difference between Sunni and Shiite
Overview of Islam
Thorough explanation of Islam with links to lots of helpful sites
Prohibitions and Obligations of Islam
Daily life (Dress/Food/Recreation/Economy)
What does an Afghan citizen’s clothing choices suggest about their position in the culture?
What does traditional Afghan clothing suggest about cultural values?
How do Afghan recreational activities illustrate cultural priorities?
Describe the Afghan economy. What are it’s current challenges? Why?
Basic cultural overview
Dress code laws since the Taliban
Overview of Pashtun culture including clothing description
Afghan food
Turban tying and Kite Running
Afghan national sport
Brief economic overview
Fighting the Opium Wars
Women in Society
How have things changed/stayed the same since the Taliban lost power?
Explore how women’s role in society has developed in the last forty years.
What challenges to modern Afghan women encounter? How are these similar/different to their
Afghanistan's Women after 'Liberation' (the homesite, has a lot of information)
National Geographic overview with photo gallery and linked video
Women under Taliban Threat - TIME Photo Essay
Associated article with preceding photo essay (Also see video on left)
Afghan women fear for the future
Afghan Women Soar to New Heights
Tribal relationships and Family
What role do tribes play in Afghan culture? Family?
On what cultural values does the Pashtunwali code place most importance?
What does it mean to be an outsider in Afghan society? Why are people excluded? What does this
exclusion look like?
How is treatment of Afghan “others” similar/different to other cultures’ history of oppression?
Basic cultural overview
Pashtun tribal structure
Pashtunwali code
Honour among them: Pashtunwali v. Radical Islam
National Geographic article and photo gallery on "Afghanistan's Outsiders," the Hazara
Overview of ethnic/tribal conflict
Relationship between Pashtun and Hazara in The Kite Runner
Note: This document is on my website, so you can press SHIFT
and click on the links to access the information.