International Conference on Pakistan at SLC April 4-5; scholars convene to discuss political economy of social transformation

An international conference on historical realities and current challenges facing the country of Pakistan will be held at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, April 4-5, 2014. Re-envisioning Pakistan: The Political Economy of Social Transformation will bring together scholars representing various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, writers, journalists, and activists from Pakistan, the UK, and the US with a range of perspectives.

According to the organizers, SLC sociology faculty member Shahnaz Rouse and economics faculty member Jamee Moudud, Pakistan’s socio-economic and political history has conventionally been analyzed and based on an orthodox "modernization" paradigm and a politics of governance that has been focused narrowly on questions of security while paying lip service to democracy. As against such approaches, this conference provides an alternative framework on Pakistan, one that moves beyond the headlines and simplistic understandings of Pakistan towards a more complex and nuanced approach to the place and its diverse "publics."

The keynote speaker is women’s and human rights activist Hina Jilani, Director of AGHS Legal Aid Cell and Advocate to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Ms. Jilani is internationally renowned for her work on human rights within and outside of Pakistan.

The conference will be of interest to specialists on Pakistan as well as activists and members of the general public interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the processes of socio-economic and political transformation in Pakistan, as well as within countries of the global south more generally. Additional information and registration can be found at

The conference is sponsored by the Donald C. Samuel Fund for Economics and Politics at Sarah Lawrence College, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, the American Institute for Pakistan Studies, the Sarah Lawrence College student senate, and others.

The following presentations are currently scheduled for the conference:

Battlelines: Women in/and Conflict
Nighat Saeed Khan, ASR, Lahore

Beyond Redundancy
Haris Gazdar, Senior Researcher, Collective for Social research Karachi

Domination and Resistance: Class and Power in Local Punjab
Mohammad Ali Jan, Oxford  University, International Development

Dynastic Politics, Political Parties, and Electoral Competition in Punjab
Ali Cheema, Senior Research Fellow, IDEAS, and Associate  Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences, with Hassan Javid, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Lahore University of Management Sciences 

Empowering Citizens: Grassroots Governance Reform in the Pakistani Electrical Power Sector
Ijlal Naqvi, Singapore Management University

Enclosed Within: Women, Peace, and the Political Economy of Conflict (Illustrated through Swat, Pakistan)
Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson, National Commission on Women, Pakistan and Maleeha Aslam, Researcher

Ethnic Federalism in Pakistan: Federal Design, Construction of Ethno-Linguistic Identity & Group Conflict
Maryam S. Khan, Independent Researcher

Fiction: "To Live:" An Examination of Contemporary Karachi’s Social Realities
Bilal Tanweer, Writer

From Domination to Intermediation: A Tale of Social Transformation, Punjabi Style
Shandana Khan Mohmand, Institute of Development Studies (UK)

Having "Faith" in Social Transformation: Women’s Secular Resistance to Faith-based Development in Pakistan
Afiya Shehrbano Zia, Independent scholar, Karachi

Judicialization of Politics: Pakistan Supreme Court’s Jurisprudence after the Lawyers’ Movement 
Osama Siddique, Department of Law & Policy, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Perils of Politicization: Courts and the Question of Religious Difference in Pakistan
Sadia Saeed, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, Yale University

Popular Movements and the Transition to Democracy:  The Case of the Labor Movement in Pakistan and Bangladesh, 1965-1971
Anushay Malik, History Department, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Reporting Conflict
Zahid Hussain, award winning journalist and writer, Islamabad

State, Capital, and Expertise: Financing and Contesting the Indus Basin Plan, 1960-1970
Majed Akhter, Department of Geography, Indiana University – Bloomington

States of Contention: Culture and Nationalism in Pakistan
Saadia Toor, Dept. of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, CUNY

The Enclosure of Public Waters in Punjab and the Struggle of Indigenous Fishers
Hashim bin Rashid, Independent Journalist, Graduate Student, Columbia University

The Making of Teachers: Discourses in Higher Education
Sara Zubair, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Political Origins of Economic Reform in Pakistan:  1979-1989
Khurram Husain, Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C.

The Right to Life and the Right to Compensation in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas
Saba Gul Khattak, Independent Researcher, Islamabad

Transactions with God: Finance and Remembrance in Karachi’s Marketplace
Noman Baig, University of Texas

Urbanization and Political Change in Pakistan—Exploring the Known Unknowns
Daanish Mustafa, Department of Geography, King's College, London

What’s Land Got to do with Class? The Afterlife of Moral Economy in Pakistan
Mubbashir Rizvi, Georgetown University, Anthropology Faculty

Wounds of Waziristan: Ethnography of a Kill Site
Manan Ahmed Asif, Columbia University with Madiha Tahir, Independent Journalist