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11th U-M Pakistan Conference | Trade Networks, Economy, and Sovereignty

Friday, April 1, 2022
9:30 AM-4:00 PM
Space 2435 North Quad Map
The conference will be hybrid. If you wish to participate remotely, please register here:

Full conference details, including schedule:

Traders are highly desirable cosmopolitan subjects yet their mobility, extensive spatial reach, and myriad networks of commodity movement frustrate the nation-state. As the Pakistani state aspires to forge relationships anew with its neighbors, particularly with China, new trading activities have emerged with these countries, and beyond, that create their own (asymmetrical) dependencies between populations and states. Such cross border, indeed transregional, connections complicate the relationship between economy and sovereignty. The ‘‘licit’’ and ‘‘illicit’’ cross-border flow of commodities continue to comprise the Pakistani state’s ability to control borders and exercises control in the realm of the economy. The traditional hawala networks of money transactions that are intimately entwined with trading networks have successfully evaded the law and transparency regulations. In the 11th UM-Pakistan Conference, we will explore the relationship between trading practices, economy, and sovereignty with a focus on Pakistan.

In this conference, we ask the following questions but are not limited to these: How can we understand trading networks that straddle over geographic, cultural, nation-state frontiers, and geographical barriers? How do trade networks shape mobility, economies and sovereignty in a globalized world? What role do traders play in facilitating and shaping state-to-state contact, yet frustrating the same attempts through ‘‘illicit’’ cross border movements? How do traders shape and organize markets above and below the state? Trading in high-risk areas demands protection both from the state and nonstate actors. How is the protection negotiated and enforced, and what sorts of networks are further drawn into the trading world to ensure peaceful business transactions? What kind of economic strategies are pursued by traders in volatile regions and in the conditions of increasing precarity? How can we conceptualize ‘‘smuggling’’ and other “illicit” trading activities with regard to the state and the “formal” and “informal” economy?

Moreover, we ask: How do traders perceive and shape the economy through (mis)trust, good life and work, and social investments? How do trade and economy become an object of (moral) critique and a matter of political action and mobilization? What kind of politics, sensibilities, and moralities emerge from trading practices and bazaars? How are the social and the political negotiated in the realm of the economy? How do traders shape the world economy and bazaars and in what ways do trading practices, nationalist imaginations, and politics intersect? How do traders retain older forms of mobility and associations and yet create new ones? What skills and repertoire are required of traders to negotiate with states and different actors across cultural and regional boundaries? How do trading networks shape and are being shaped by kinship, religiosity, and identity, etc.?

This conference is possible thanks to the support of the U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and the following units at the University of Michigan: Center for South Asian Studies, History, History of Art, the Rackham Graduate School, the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and the Residential College.

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: North Quad
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: Asia, Pakistan
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for South Asian Studies, Residential College, Rackham Graduate School, International Institute, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Asian Languages and Cultures