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Conferences & Workshops in the US 2013-2014

Sarah Lawrence College Conference Re-Envisioning Pakistan: The Political Economy of Social Transformation

April 4-5, 2014


The international conference on Pakistan that was held at Sarah Lawrence College aimed to bring together a range of diverse perspectives to examine historical realities and current challenges facing Pakistan.

Pakistan’s tumultuous economic and political history reflects a socio-economic policy based on an orthodox ‘modernization’ paradigm with marginal trickle-down effects. Its politics of governance has focused equally narrowly on questions of security while paying lip service to democracy. In spite of increased calls for better governance and a move away from this technocratic paradigm, an ahistorical and simplistic understanding of its history and contemporary realities continue to plague scholarly work, policy making, and media coverage of the country. As against such approaches, this conference provided an alternative analytical framework on Pakistan, bringing together scholars from various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, writers, journalists and activists. Given its thematic emphasis, the conference wasof 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, and within countries of the global south more generally.

This conference was co-sponsored by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.


Monmouth College Conference on Pakistan

April 7-9, 2014

Monmouth College organized a two-day conference on Pakistan to take full advantage of speaker Zahid Hussain’s visit. This interdisciplinary conference had presentations on contemporary political and social issues, as well as music performances and a presentation on film and literature in Pakistan.

In addition, the Buchanan Center for the Arts in the city of Monmouth sponsored an evening of sitar music held at their Center in downtown Monmouth during the conference timeline. 

NCSU-NCCU Conference Contextualizing Pakistan from Within and Without

April 11-12, 2014

Our joint conference aims to examine how historical and socio-cultural interconnections shape and influence identity in Pakistan.  It does not move away from the study of state and society but, instead, examines how “external” connections (i.e., the “without”) at the national, regional and local levels can contour identities (and conflicts about it) “within” Pakistan.  The conference will be organized around two themes:

1.  The first theme examines how regional and local identities within Pakistan are/were shaped and constituted by “external” phenomena (e.g., historical legacies that predate Partition, identities that Partition undid and/or re-imagined, socio-cultural formations that extend from beyond the state’s territorial limits and/or the geography of post-1947 and 1971 Pakistan).  Whether focused on or in Sindh, Punjab, the northern administrative units, Baluchistan or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we hope to bring into comparative dialogue work on regional and local identities that have been shaped by (but not subsumed by) state-centered narratives about the nation of Pakistan.

2.  The second theme focuses on continuities and disruptions that have shaped (and continue to influence) the networks of movement that link Pakistan’s territory to other locations in the Indian Ocean region and the world at-large.  While these networks (linked to employment, trade, pilgrimage, imperial connection and religious affiliation) often predate the creation of Pakistan, they continue to historically and socio-culturally shape identity in Pakistan.  This second theme aims to bring together studies about networks of movement to explore, as under the first theme, how life “outside” of Pakistan contours and shapes what it means to be Pakistani. 

A main goal of this conference is to draw new bodies of research into conversation with older scholarship on state and society so as to develop a vision of Pakistan Studies that is mutually shaped by historical and socio-cultural phenomena which are both “outside” and “inside” the territorial boundaries of the Pakistani state.

Final Report

Conference Program