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2024 AIPS Book Prize

Congratulations to Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi (Assistant Professor, Lahore University of Management Sciences) for receiving the 2024 AIPS Book Prize for his book Qaum, Mulk, Sultanat: Citizenship and National Belonging in Pakistan! The committee found this book to be “a significant and original contribution to Pakistan Studies and South Asia Studies, and to the study of nationality, citizenship, and state formation. Qasmi substantively addresses a wide variety of ideas associated with identity as citizens and with national belonging in Pakistan.” To see the committee's full comments, please see below. Congratulations again to Dr. Qasmi!

“Qaum, Mulk, Sultanat is highly engaging and richly informative from the beginning until the bibliography and index. The work draws from a wide scope of fields including history, religion, political biography, case law, policy-making, and classical Urdu poetry. Chapter One, "Noah's Ark?," is an original introduction to the making of Pakistan. Scholars of South Asia will find it new and stimulating while students new to South Asian Studies will find it clear and helpful. "Quilting Islam," Chapter Two, presents even more essential facts for those new to Islamic identities, and provides new perspectives to scholars familiar with South Asian Muslim societies. The chapter, "Making the State National," is valuable and continuously readable for insisting on a clear and distinct treatment of the nation and the modern state (a set of institutions to create and maintain law over people, "nationals" or not, within a territory). Then "Over the Moon" takes the reader into the intriguing labyrinth that is Eid-quality moon sighting in Pakistan while "Scripting the National Time and Space" takes the reader into archives and museums to trace the formation of a national calendar and national road signage for Pakistan. The Postscript "A New Beginning" encourages the reader, as does the entire book, to keep thinking through the evolution of national belonging and not belonging, citizenship, and state making as distinct but related processes. Not surprisingly, the book was the committee’s unanimous choice for this award given its enormous contribution to Pakistan Studies. It will be a highly valuable addition for courses on Citizenship and Nationality, Partition, Muslim Societies, and Government and Politics.” You can order this book through the Stanford University Press website.

Honorable Mentions (equally ranked)

Faiza Moatasim: Master Plans and Encroachments: The Architecture of informality in Islamabad. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023.

Committee notes: “This is a thoroughly engaging read and makes an important contribution to our understanding of the making of Islamabad, Pakistan’s remarkable national capital. It also makes a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary study of the informal sector in which most of the world and most people in Pakistan live and work. The original concepts that Moatasim develops and deploys such as “elite informality” demonstrate that it is not only capital, terms of work, production, and service processes that can be made informal (thereby reducing or eliminating employers’ expenses for recognized work) but also the application and interpretation of law and regulation that can be made informal. The insights about Islamabad (including those related to Imran Khan’s Bani Gali estate) are richly revealing of Pakistan broadly. It is a beautifully produced book with more than fifty illustrations."

Ilyas Chattha: The Punjab Borderland: Mobility, Materiality and Militancy, 1947-1987.  Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Committee notes: “This impressive, important, engaging work establishes the study of contraband culture in Pakistani Punjab. The discussion is rich and detailed and shows how formality is penetrated by and often relies on informality. Good scholarship brings into relief the role played by the black market in the economic, physical and social development of Karachi after partition. It provides insights into the practical politics of Indo-Pak relations as played out along the Punjab border with some contrasts on border politics between India and East and West Pakistan. The reasons for the solidification of this Punjab border are clearly elucidated. A good triangulation of methods informs this work.”