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AIPS Conferences 2010-2011

Tehrik-e-Niswan: Tees aur Aik Saal

A conference to celebrate 31 years of Tehrik-e-Niswan
24 - 26 December 2010

To explore the interconnections between performance art and the politics of gender and class, participants from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan demonstrated how the cultural forms of theatre, dance, music, film and the fine arts have been used to advocate for gender and class equity.

Conference Website

News Coverage of the Conference


AIPS Sponsored Panel at Association for Asian Studies Meetings, Hawaii

April 2, 2011, 7:30 to 9:30 AM

Chair: Nichols, Robert; The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Title: Governance and Authority in the North-West Frontier: Past and Present Histories of Power and Resistance

Abstract: The papers on this panel take up the north-west frontier to explore questions of colonial control, Islamic identity and resistance, and social change in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Even before the frontier districts came under direct or indirect British administration, there was a constant struggle to establish a steady and legitimate regime of command. Alternative religious identities and beliefs contested for authority. In many instances, the costs associated with controlling the frontier exceeded the financial benefits that could ever be reaped. And yet, the imperative of defending the north-west gateway to India from foreign invasion made the frontier a site of enduring political and military importance. The notion that the "wild and turbulent tribes" demanded a peculiar form of governance led to the passage of special laws for special circumstances, two of which are examined in the papers of Ben Hopkins and Elizabeth Kolsky. Sana Haroon examines the enduring Islamist vision and legacy of Sayyid Ahmed Brelvi. Taking a view from Swat Valley, Robert Nichols explores the dynamics of state power and local resistance, especially in the recent post-colonial period.

Elizabeth Kolsky - To Burn or Not to Burn?: "Murderous Outrages" and Colonial Control on India’s North-West Frontier

In 1867, the Governor General in Council passed “The Punjab Murderous Outrages Act,” an exceptional piece of legislation designed to control the murder or attempted murder of servants of the Queen and “other persons” in certain districts of the Punjab. Generally, a murderous outrage involved the murder of non-Muslims (often British military officers) by Muslims who were interchangeably referred to as fanatics or ghazas. In 1901, in connection with the formation of the North-West Frontier Province, the Punjab Act was superseded by the Frontier Murderous Outrages Regulation.

Among the many extraordinary features of the law was the provision that any fanatic killed in the act of committing an “outrage” or executed by the state would have his body disposed of as the state saw fit. Since the 1860s, the favored, culturally significant method of disposal was to burn the corpse. The logic and rhetoric that framed the murderous outrages legislation had roots in other historical contexts (including Ireland) that will be examined in this paper. In addition, I will explore the moral and political issues raised in the enactment and implementation of the law, many of which have pressing contemporary relevance. Was (is) it just to use terror to control terror? Could knowledge about the religious beliefs and customs of subject populations be effectively mobilized to design forms of punishment that would control the spread of religio-political extremism? What does the suspension of ordinary law and its replacement by extraordinary law tell us about the modern state and its rule of law?

Ben Hopkins - Governing by "tradition": The Frontier Crimes Regulation and Imperial Governance in the NWFP

From the invention of British imperial authority along the North-West Frontier, subjects were divided between the ‘civilized’ inhabitants populating the cultivated plains and the ‘wild tribesmen’ living in the hills. The problem of governing this latter group, ‘independent tribes’ who were nevertheless considered imperial subjects, proved a vexed one for both the British Raj and independent Pakistan. The mechanism developed by imperial administrators to govern the frontiersmen was the Frontier Crimes Regulation, first passed in 1872 and still in effect along the Frontier today. The FCR was designed to exclude the Frontier’s inhabitants from the colonial judiciary, and more broadly the colonial sphere, and instead encapsulate them in their own colonially-sanctioned ‘tradition’. This paper explores the use of the FCR as an instrument of governance from its first incarnation in 1872 into the twentieth century, arguing it was key to shaping the nature of frontier rule.

Sana Haroon - Reconsidering the Legacies of the Early Nineteenth-Century Jihad of Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed

The story of Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed who led a jihad against the Sikhs in the Pashtun north-west in 1826-31 is widely known and is often referenced as a moment of unusual and transformative political organization and mobilization by Muslims, but primarily for the claims made by W. W. Hunter, entitled The Indian Musalmans in his 1872 pamphlet defining a ‘Wahhabi’ imperative as underlying Muslim militarism before and during the anti-British uprisings of 1857. Following in this trend, popular accounts of Sayyid Ahmed’s movement have remained focused on Sayyid Ahmed as a jihadi, and Sayyid Ahmed’s death on the battle field in the Pakhtun North-West is understood to be the end of his movement and the failure of his scheme.

I propose an alternative to this view by considering the ways in which Sayyid Ahmed both taught the principles of mystical devotionalism in simplified and easily transmitted terms, and disassociated community based practice and the interrogation of the Quran and the hadith from the authority of ulama of Noth Indian madrassas. Thinking about the manner in which Sayyid Ahmed’s teachings intellectually rationalized and structured community-based religious practice allows us to look beyond the violence, vitriol and short life of the movement, and consider instead the ideas, pedagogies and notions of authority which it introduced.

Robert Nichols - Class, State, and Power in Swat Conflict

In the literature on Swat, social and political power has been argued to rest in competing lineages and factions and in hierarchies of socio-economic status and class. The role of the state, during the Swat State period (1915-69), then later, after the merger with Pakistan, has tended to buttress established interests even as religious resistance has empowered activism among a range of participants. One argument of this paper is that evidence from the recent period supports analysis that while political Islamic agendas have motivated many, the dynamics of a wider social movement in a Muslim society best describes the mobilization of much local and regional ‘jihadi’ activism in Swat. A second argument is that deployment of centralizing state power has recently challenged previous hierarchies of lineage, faction, class, and political party.

David Gilmartin - Discussant

Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan
Sponsored by AIPS

Islamabad, May 6-7, 2011

Abstracts and Speakers' Biodata
Table of contents for upcoming volume from this conference
Talk by Aitzaz Ahsan

See media coverage of this event:

This conference brought together scholars, policymakers and practitioners concerned with development and social transformation in Pakistan to forge a substantive understanding of the structural impediments that affect Pakistan’s ability to eliminate poverty, promote social justice, achieve its economic goals, and implement policies to promote equity and political cohesiveness. The conference will analyze the linkages between Pakistan’s development goals, local institutions, the state’s legal framework, and prospects for sustainable futures in a variety of arenas in Pakistan. It will not focus on pragmatic development challenges such as where to put in new schools, how to introduce new hybrid seeds or new systems of local governance. Instead, the conference has the dual goals of (a) creating a sound understanding of the processes that will shape Pakistan’s future and (b) develop practical recommendations for a strategy on institutional transformation to help Pakistan achieve its development agenda.

The global community concerned with development and social transformation has identified and analyzed ‘structural impediments’ that constrain countries’ efforts to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable social development. The UNDP, in launching its Millennium Development Goals, contends that there are “practical, proven solutions” to breaking out of the poverty traps that entangle poor countries, such as “investing in human development,” increasing agricultural productivity, emphasizing human rights and social equity through democratic governance, and promoting environmental sustainability by improving urban management. Such rhetoric, however, is difficult to translate into realistic, practical applied programs. In Pakistan, in particular, there has been limited substantive research to identify the prevailing unique blend of structural impediments to development.

Indeed, Pakistan’s prospects to promote viable, sustainable social development appear bleaker today than a decade ago. This conference, therefore, seeks to rectify this void by analyzing Pakistani institutions (e.g., the economy, legal infrastructure, the changing contours of violent conflict, women’s status and rights, agricultural transformation) to anticipate what could be changed to promote more productive interactions between them to facilitate Pakistan’s achievement of its development goals. Policy makers and development professionals will be able to attend the conference and see the importance of a robust understanding of the institutional foundations of the development work in which many are engaged. Most important will be the fact that the conference will be held in Islamabad and that members of various Pakistani ministries (Planning, Education, Economic Affairs, Food and Agriculture) and ODA donors (World Bank, ADB, USAID, DFID) can attend to improve their understanding of how these issues are interconnected.

The conference will result in two publications: (a) a significant edited volume that will be printed in Pakistan to make it available to local schools, universities, donor agencies, and international actors present in Pakistan. In this way the results of the conference will be disseminated widely within the country as well as internationally. The final papers will be due by the end of June so that publication can proceed rapidly. The basic editing will be done by Weiss and one Pakistani scholar and published in Pakistan; and (2) a conference overview. The latter will contain an Executive Summary of the conference, abstracts of all papers, and recommendations for a strategy on institutional transformation to facilitate Pakistan’s achievement of its development agenda. This will be disseminated quickly to various stakeholders (Pakistani policymakers, ODA donors, US embassy personnel, and others) working in the arena of Pakistan’s development prospects.

Cultural Heritage Workshop in the US

Sponsored by AIPS

Islamabad, August 27-28, 2011

Participants of the Cultural Heritage Workshop at CahokiaParticipants of the Cultural Heritage Workshop at Cahokia

One of the most important areas in which AIPS can assist Pakistani universities and museums is to help develop local capacity in cultural heritage management and preservation. In 2007 in collaboration with the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) I organized and led a one-month workshop for 10 individuals, four of who were from Pakistan. I would like to propose a similar workshop for 10 Pakistani museum and university staff to visit the US and engage in capacity building workshops and to provide a forum in which they can develop regional strategies for cultural heritage management and training.

      Selection of participants will be made by the President of AIPS in consultation with Pakistani Institutions and Ministries. Potential participants should come from a broad range of disciplines and institutions; for example Museum and Conservation specialists, Archaeologists, Anthropologists, Tourism and Ministry of Culture Officials. Potential participants will be provided with a questionnaire and screened by a committee of AIPS staff and officers. Participants must have a full command of English and should submit a brief statement on the current state of cultural heritage or museum development, or archaeological conservation in their region. They will also need to have basic knowledge of how to use a computer for text entry, database entry and photo editing. They should also include an outline or summary of what they will be able to contribute to this session in terms of ideas, solutions, critiques, etc. In other words we need to be sure that the people who are participating in this project are familiar with their own region, its current state of affairs, the various problems that are present, how these problems are currently being addressed, and how to solve these problems if they are not being addressed. These are the types of participants who will actually do something with what they learn and will make a long term impact once they go back as long as there is some follow-up with funded projects

      The program will be led by Dr. J. Mark Kenoyer as workshop director, and a staff escort selected in consultation with CAORC and the Smithsonian. Selected speakers will be asked to lead specific workshops of their specialty and each major museum will be paid a fee-for-service to compensate for staff time and resources required to run the various workshops. International travel to and from Pakistan for the program coordinator will allow the participants to have a pre-departure orientation. A post-workshop follow-up will include visits by the program director to the Ministries and major institutions to present the results of the workshop back in Pakistan. AIPS will organize (using different funds) a small conference in Islamabad in conjunction with the returning participants.

During the first week the group will start with a short orientation in Islamabad at the American Institute of Pakistan Studies center, where they will meet to compare their respective regional goals and current solutions. This pre-departure orientation will include an overview of the travel and venues to be visited. The key to a successful workshop is to develop goals and collaboration among the ten participants. The pre-departure orientation will serve to begin the process of bringing the group together and to narrow down the goals and objectives that are meaningful to each of the participants. They will proceed to the USA where they will have four weeks of workshops and on site training. Each participant will be provided with books and readings for use  during and after the program. Each participant will be expected to bring his or her own computer for the duration of the workshop (this is not part of the proposal budget). Specific software needed for the workshop will be provided. The workshop leader will have a computer with the same software to make sure that all are using the same programs and to coordinate training.  Each computer will contain the necessary software for database management (FileMaker Pro), Office software for report writing and data analysis, and Photoshop for image processing and archiving. This software and the books on museum organization and conservation of artifacts will be donated to their institutions in Pakistan so that they can use them to train additional staff members in their home institution.

After arrival in Washington DC, the first session (18 days) will take place at the Smithsonian Institution’s (, National Museum of Natural History ( and other major museums and national monuments in the Washington, D. C. area.  The participants will be involved in various types of workshops at the NMNH and Freer Sackler, as well as tours to other local museums and a visit to Williamsburg. At the Freer/Sackler they will meet with the education department for discussion of school programs and with the Smithsonian Associates for review of their approach to continuing education. Other meetings will include a visit to the Conservation Analytical Lab in Silver Hill, MD to meet with conservators and discuss various strategies for projects in Pakistan. Details of other workshops will be provided once the participants have been selected and will be based on their specific requests. Examples of workshops that can be organized are ones that would specifically focus on paper conservation, museum display text development, site information brochure development, outreach and children’s education development, and disaster management for natural and other disasters.

The second session (10 days) will take the participants from a national level museum and institution to a series of smaller museums and institutions, at the State, City, and University level.  Upon arrival in Madison the participants will tour the Department of Anthropology laboratories and artifact storage and conservation areas. These collections have recently been reorganized and housed in state of the art archival storage areas. There are also labs where students are able to use the collections and work on them as part of a course on artifact curation. Three days of special workshops on scanning artifacts, site drawings, manuscripts, and artifact curation will take place in the Department of Anthropology at the UW-Madison campus. For one day they will also meet with exhibition and outreach specialists at the Chazen Museum of Art, at the University of Wisconsin. This museum is also expanding and they can see the planning and construction of a new museum. Another day they will visit the Milwaukee Public Museum and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Museum Training Program. The Milwaukee Public Museum is one of the leading state run public museums in the country and is closely linked to the Museum studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This experience will allow them to experience how state and university can work together for training and cultural heritage management. From Madison they will take a day trip to Cahokia site Museum (Collinsville, IL) and St. Louis. This visit to Cahokia will allow them to see how a private group of sponsors in collaboration with universities and the state have teamed up to preserve a site that was being destroyed by highways and city expansions around St. Louis. This is what is happening throughout Pakistan and will allow them to get a good idea of potential ways to engage the public and make them aware of their cultural heritage.

At the conclusion of the program, each participant will spend two days preparing a report on their experiences and participate in a small seminar in Madison to present what they have learned in preparation for presenting this information to their colleagues in their home institutions. After this seminar they will return to Pakistan and present what they have learned at their institutions and in future conferences in Pakistan and internationally.

Women's Studies Conference

Women's Studies Conference
Sponsored by AIPS & CAORC

August 27-8, 2011

Conference Program

Suggestions for Publishing Women’s Studies Research

Convenor: Centre for Excellence in Gender Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

Conference Steering Committee: Professor Anita M. Weiss, University of Oregon; Dr. Farzana Bari, Quaid-e-Azam University; Nasreen Aslam Shah, University of Karachi; Dr. Anis Haroon, National Commission on the Status of Women

This two-day conference seeks to bring together a wide range of scholars and practitioners to explore women’s changing roles, status and rights in Pakistan today.  It seeks to explore the synergy between such changes occurring at the national policy level with the reality of women’s lives at the local level.

Importantly, too, in bringing together scholars and practitioners, it hopes to develop a corpus of knowledge that can be published in the Journal of Feminist Studies (Quaid-e-Azam University), the Journal of Women’s Studies (University of Karachi), and other publishing venues.

A total of six panels are planned: one each morning and two each afternoon. The steering committee has identified topics around which these panels will be organized, including one that celebrates Fifty Years of the MFLO. One distinguished scholar or policymaker, either from Pakistan or the U.S., is being invited to participate on each panel. The remainder of the participant slots will be filled through responses to this Call for Papers.

Each of the panels intends to engage participants not only in describing and analyzing women’s involvement with the subject at hand, but also in thinking about movement and change.  The six panels are entitled as:

  1. Navigating Systems of Law & Justice
  2. Moving Past Conflict and Disaster
  3. Creating Real Democracy
  4. Learning from Women’s Indigenous Knowledge
  5. Engendering Pakistan’s Economy: Women’s Economic Emergence
  6. Celebrating Fifty Years of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance (MFLO)

New York Conference on Asian Studies

The College at Brockport, October 1-2, 2010

The College at Brockport, State University of New York is looking forward to hosting the 46th Annual Meeting of the New York State Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS) from October 1-2, 2010. Brockport is a suburb of Rochester - home to such global industries as Kodak, Xerox, Bosch & Lomb, R.F. Communications with visible involvement in Asia.

While the Conference has a dual theme of Democracy in Asia and Men & Women of Asia, we welcome panels, individual papers, and roundtable proposals on all aspects of Asian history, geography, economics, politics, sociology, anthropology, literature as well as current developments on the continent of Asia.

Today's Asia presents contrasting pictures of great successes as well as mired failures. The Conference would like to focus on all of them with penetrating insights into success stories as well as failures - their causes and solutions in today's well-connected global environment. Tomorrow's global peace largely depends on what happens in Asia - home of more than 3 � billion people.

We are also planning to include a roundtable discussion to include Ambassador's from South Asia, including Afghanistan. An effort is also being made to bring scholars from Asia for a more meaningful and focused academic interaction.

Asia is defined to include East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Southwest Asia - from Japan in the East to Turkey in the West.

For more information please visit the conference website.

Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting

The 85th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America will take place January 6-9, 2011 in Pittsburgh.

Plenary speakers include Barbara Johnstone of Carnegie Mellon University, Janet Pierrehumbert of Northwestern University, and Ted Supalla of the University of Rochester.

For more information, including a call for abstracts, please visit the LSA website.

Cultural Heritage Issues in Pakistan: Archaeology, Museums and Conservation

Date: January 6-8, 2011
Venue: Margala Hotel, Islamabad

Sponsored by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies with support from the US Embassy, Islamabad. In collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Museums Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan.

More information, including images and video

The Cultural Heritage of Pakistan is rich and diverse, with significant potential for further research, conservation and tourism development. This conference has been organized to enhance the national and international profile of Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage by bringing together US and Pakistani scholars who will present papers on a wide range of topics. The main goal of this conference will be to highlight the important new archaeological discoveries made over the past ten years, by both Pakistani and foreign scholars, The conference will also have sessions with speakers who will discuss how museums and site management can become more focused on outreach and education, and to present new and innovative ways to conserve both sites and artifacts. Additional topics to be considered will be how to manage cultural heritage in the face of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and man-made disasters such as bombings and attacks by people trying to destroy cultural heritage.

Twenty-six leading scholars from Pakistan and ten from the US have been invited to present their new findings. All of these scholars have been involved in recent excavations and research on earlier excavations. The presenters have been selected by a steering committee made up of US and Pakistani scholars. This conference will be a chance for Pakistani and US scholars who have spent considerable time in Pakistan to exchange ideas on the major issues of Cultural Heritage research, preservation, conservation and education. Students from universities throughout Pakistan will be able to attend the conference and see the importance of cultural heritage. Most important will be the fact that the conference will be held in Islamabad and that members of the various ministries of Education, Culture and Tourism can attend to find out what the most important issues are. The conference will result in a significant edited volume that will be printed in Pakistan in order to make it available to the local schools and universities. In this way the results of the conference will be disseminated widely within the country as well as internationally.

Conference Report

Conference Program

For more information, contact Dr. J. Mark Kenoyer, AIPS President by email -

Women, Islam and Peacebuilding

On March 10-11, 2011, the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University held an international conference titled ‘Women, Islam and Peacebuilding.’  We are inviting twelve scholars and practitioners to engage in a conversation on theological and hermeneutics relevant to understanding Islamic approaches to peace and explore the everyday practices of peacebuilding among Muslims around the world.  We are highlighting women’s agency in peacebuilding in a variety of arenas that involve political and every day issues.  Through this engagement we hope to address and question the existing Western popular narratives and juxtapose them with Islamic perspectives and practices toward offering a grounded understanding of peace in Islam. 

Mukhtaran Mai from Pakistan is one of the conference invitees.  We hope to learn from her how she is utilizing the opportunities of education that she initiated in her village to foster dialogue and peace in her violence torn community.  Along with attending and presenting a paper at the conference, Mukhtaran hopes to visit different US universities in order to do some fundraising for her school.  The school that she started is facing serious financial crunch since one of the school buildings was washed away in the recent floods that played havoc in Pakistan.  Mukhtaran will be happy to visit your campus, if you are interested.  Please contact me, Yasmin Saikia if you are interested to host Mukhtaran Mai at your university.

You can listen to some of Mukhtaran’s interviews and read about the work she is doing in Pakistan.  Mukhtaran speaks for the ordinary woman who is no longer ordinary due to her experiences.  She is one of the few women from South Asia who is being memorialized by international women and human rights activists.  Follow the links below for some recent information on Mukhtaran Mai.

6th Annual Humanities and Social Sciences Conference

Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan: March 25 - 27, 2011

The Annual HSS Conference is both a unique and ideal arena to promote intellectual enterprise, endorsing cooperation with experts from across the world. While there is an established tradition of global exchanges at the state and organizational levels within Pakistan, nonetheless we feel that academic exchanges are not as well established. Therefore, we hope to bridge this gap and create new academic links that can be sustained beyond this conference and develop expertise, skills and knowledge that are necessary in planning and dealing with future natural or human led disasters.

Conference organisers: Dr. Parveen Akhtar:; Lamia Irfan:

Call for Papers - Global and Pakistan-specific

Pre-Conference Report

Assessing the Complexities of South Asian Migration

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
May 19th-21st, 2011

The conference posits that examining South Asian migration necessitates interdisciplinary and international collaborative approaches to both conceptualization and field studies. Graduate students and faculty are invited to attend this multidisciplinary conference.

Sindh Poster