Issue 7: Beyond Tremors & Terror

Sep 2014

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Recently, a group of scholars described the state of representations of Pakistan and scholarship about the country thus:

Represented as a country beset by daily bomb-blasts, “honor killings,” and “mob” violence, Pakistan regularly populates the pages of the international mainstream press. These popular journalistic accounts often leave the impression that the country is embroiled in a spate of irrationality, violence and Islamic fundamentalism. Alternatively, liberal Pakistanis, if they make an appearance in the drama, are celebrated as carriers of the torch of progress, challenging the dominance of religious conservatism with their unrivalled ‘toleration’, their capitalist ‘development’, and their support for the Pakistani state’s military offensives and the broader ‘War on Terror’. This is the narrative typically delivered to the world.

Unfortunately, this is narrative has not remained within the ambit of journalism. Much of the recent scholarly work on Pakistan, too, has been guilty of reproducing a crude and overly-narrow analysis of the country and its people, an analysis (if one could call it that) which seems to be more committed to promoting US foreign policy objectives than to stimulating any serious academic inquiry. For instance, Anatol Lieven’s Pakistan: A Hard Country (2012), declares that Pakistan is “a highly conservative, archaic, even sometimes quite inert and somnolent mass of different societies”. With such a view being prevalent, it is little wonder then that political scientist Stephen Cohen invites US intervention to awaken this slumbering nation in his book, The Idea of Pakistan (2006). Such Orientalist views imagine the country as overrun by “mad” fundamentalists and militant Islamists and prescribe a variant of imperialism, militarism and/or liberalism as an antidote.

That was the call for a conference that brought together a new generation of young thinkers, along with international scholars and activists, this May. Tanqeed now brings you these voices. These young scholars and activists are pushing new avenues of scholarship and engagement that question the dominant frames of tremors and terrors, far beyond the tepid policy circles through which all things Pakistan are usually considered.

As with any intellectual project, these are thickly layered, meaty articles that reward the reader with rich insights. Read them slow. Read them well.

Omer Aijazi reflects on his experience during the floods and the limitations of humanitarian work. Sonia Qadir reads the Supreme Court’s decision on the Pakistan steel mills case and finds that it reflects neoliberal logics, even if the consequence, this time, was to block the privatization of that asset. Sarah Suhail uses racism as a conceptual framework to discuss women’s bonded labor in Sindh. While these scholars examine the regimes of control, others have analyzed the will to resist — and the problems that can beset protest movements. Ayesha Omer shares her insights based on her ethnographic and interview work with the Hazara sit-ins, and Katja Mielke presents her long study of katchi abadi protests. Nadia Hasan researches another kind of movement: the turn towards forms of piety organizations like Al-Huda, by bourgeois Pakistani women. Two young scholars provide intriguing studies of Pakistani cinema. Rabea Murtaza  contemplates memory and motherhood in Pakistani cinema, and Hira Nabi discusses the aura of the cinema, and why some find it so threatening. And, Aasim Sajjad Akhtar delivers a talk on the politics of hegemony.

We also bring you two investigative long-form articles in keeping with TQ’s mission. Zehra Hashmi investigates the encroachment by the Pakistani Navy on village land and Asad Hashim takes stock of the situation in Bannu, a way station for travelers, migrants and now refugees from the Pakistani Army’s bombardment of North Waziristan.

And, the artist Tazeen Qayyum  discusses art and her latest projects in our multimedia piece for this issue.

Finally, we are pleased to announce our first digital print magazine! We are releasing it as we kick off our 1000 subscriber campaign. TQ remains an all-volunteer effort with countless hours poured into the articles you are about to read and the website you peruse. We don’t have any grants or loans. We just have you, our readership. Help us sustain TQ and subscribe today!

Happy reading!



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9 Responses to Issue 7: Beyond Tremors & Terror

  1. TQ Chāt | # 20 | Tanqeed on Sep 2014 at 10:59 AM

    […] Fall 2014 issue, Beyond Tremors and Terror, is out!! Check out the issue’s artwork by Tazeen […]

  2. TQ Chāt | # 21 | Tanqeed on Sep 2014 at 11:03 AM

    […] the way, have you seen last week’s releases from our Fall 2014 issue? neoliberalism against privatization and how the state sanctions bonded labor and […]

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