Pierre Centlivres, Professor Emeritus, is former Director of the Institut d’ethnologie, Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland). He is an anthropologist with field experience in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Europe. His research interests include questions of identity, ethnicity, refugees, diasporas, and popular imagery in Islam.The text is a modified and reduced version of “The Controversy over the Buddhas of Bamiyan,” paper presented at the SAMAJ Conference on “Outraged communities: investigating the politicisation of emotions in South Asia,” September 25-26, 2008, Paris.

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