Director of Interdisciplinary Development Research and Action Center (IDRAC),
Social Development & Policy
School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
My research and teaching interests are eclectic, ranging from historiography of colonial rule and ethnography of social movements to the phenomenology of space and place. As a teacher at Habib, I will help my students develop a critical theoretical apparatus and an inter-disciplinary approach towards understanding contemporary society, especially issues concerning the pursuit of socio-economic development in post-colonial societies. I approach teaching from a critical humanist and interpretivist perspective, although I draw on material from a wide range of disciplines such as political economy, anthropology, history, and sociology in my classes.
- Ph.D. in Socio-cultural Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
- M.P.A. in Public Administration, University of Victoria, Canada
- B.Sc. Hon. in Economics, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
My current research focuses broadly on a critique of the contemporary narratives of progress and development advocated through the building of large-scale infrastructure projects in postcolonial societies like Pakistan. My published research examines how Pakistani government’s policy of building large-scale development projects such as transnational gas pipelines and commercial ports have affected the lives and transformed the political attitudes of ethnic Baloch people. Ethnographically, my focus is on Gwadar, a small coastal town located near the entrance of the Persian Gulf that has played an important role in the longue duree of Western Indian Ocean. In studying these historical and contemporary cultural dynamics, my research questions the prevalent view of globalization as the circulation of people, money, commodities, and ideas in an increasingly frictionless transnational sphere. Instead, I propose an alternative understanding of globalization as the contested and embodied articulation of capital, nation, and community rooted in historical structures of lived experience.
For my future projects, I plan to engage with recent research on the emerging regional ports of Salalah (Oman) and Chahbahar (Iran) to bring a comparative perspective on the politics of oil and port building in Southwest Asia. This comparative perspective and the ability to look at the center from the margins can help us rethink how we imagine and represent geographic collectives such as South Asia and the Middle East.
- Book Chapters and Peer-reviewed Publications:
2014: A Tempest in my Harbour: Gwadar, Pakistan. In V. Prashad, M. Tahir, and Q.C. Memon Eds. Dispatches from Pakistan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
2013: The Anxiety of Development: Megaprojects and the Politics of Place in Gwadar, Pakistan. Crossroads Asia Working Paper Series. Berlin: Competence Network Crossroads Asia/ ZMO.
- Short Articles and Book Reviews:
2015: Book Review of Mathew Hull’s The Government of Paper: the Materiality of Urban Bureaucracy in Pakistan. South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ), Book Reviews, URL: https://samaj.revues.org/3969
2010: Producing Tribal Balochistan: Sovereignty and Rule in a Colonial Frontier State. Bulletin of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Available online at http://www.pakistanstudies-aips.org/events/newsletter/docs/2010_July.pdf
2009: The Bitter Harvest: Sectarianism in Balochistan. The Middle East Report. Issue 251.
2009: Victims of ‘Development’. The News on Sunday, April 26. Jang Group of Publications: Karachi, Pakistan.
2007: The Forgotten Refugees of Balochistan. The Middle East Report, Issue 244. Available online at http://www.merip.org/mer/mer244/forgotten-refugees-balochistan