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CSAS Lecture | Qaum, Mulk, Sultanat: The Ideas of Citizenship and Belonging in Pakistan

Ali Usman Qasmi, Humanities Center, Stanford University
Friday, March 18, 2022
4:30-6:00 PM
Off Campus Location
This lecture will give an overview of the transition from colonial subjecthood to citizenship in a postcolonial Muslim nation-state. Focusing on Pakistan, it looks at the complexity of the processes whereby the postcolonial state formation project was intimately tied with creating a citizen through various discursive practices, ideological formulations, and pedagogical tools. Through a close reading of various archival documents, newspaper reports, and even museum catalogs, we will examine how the postcolonial state selectively drew upon the repertoire of the qaum for rich ideological pickings to establish the sense of being Pakistani. Yet, at the same time, in the continuous acts of creation and recreation of the state through everyday practices, the postcolonial state empties the metaphor of qaum of its richness and plurality to make it more amenable and stabilize its meanings. By highlighting the modalities, rationalities, and techniques of nation-state formation, this lecture will historicize the ‘sights and sounds of the nation-state’ through which the postcolonial state creates its preferred representation of nationhood.

Born and raised in Lahore, Ali Usman Qasmi is a historian of modern South Asia. He has published extensively in his area of expertise, including two monographs - Questioning the Authority of the Past: The Ahl al-Quran Movements in the Punjab, and The Ahmadis and the Politics of Religious Exclusion in Pakistan (winner of Karachi Literature Festival Peace Prize). Along with several journal articles and chapters in academic works, he has co-edited three volumes, including Muslims Against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Ideas of Pakistan. He has previously been the recipient of the Newton International Fellowship for postdoctoral research. Since 2012, Qasmi has been teaching history at the LUMS University's School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He is currently a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.

Please register in advance for this Zoom webinar here:

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Asia, Pakistan
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for South Asian Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures