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Call for Papers: Special Issue with Critical Pakistan Studies

Ek Dost Kay Naam: Women’s Writings and Popular Literary Cultures in Urdu
Guest Editors: Iqra Shagufta Cheema and Fatima Z. Naveed

We invite scholars and translators of Popular Urdu literature and art—broadly defined as texts intended to be read by mass audiences—to contribute to a special issue, “Ek Dost Kay Naam: Women’s Writings and Popular Literary Cultures in Urdu.”

Women’s Urdu writings, particularly women’s popular literature, remains woefully understudied in Pakistan. Additionally, most of this critical scholarship often tends to focus on feminist themes in women’s writings (Alvi et al.; Sultana; Ahmed; Buksh; Shah; Petievich; Yaqin). This focus, however, often ignores the critical influence of women’s writings on mainstream popular culture as well as in fashioning mass literary sensibilities in Pakistan. Women’s popular Urdu literary voices have played a pivotal role in shaping Pakistani women’s experiences and their ideas around identity, culture, as well as feminism, and their roles in both private and public sphere.

With this special issue, our goal is to invite scholarly reflections on issues and literary sensibilities espoused through popular literature. Hence, this issue is an attempt at broadening scholarly space for the multiplicity of orientations, opinions, and experiences in women’s Urdu writings and their ideological positionalities in Pakistan. We invite contributors to explore a wide range of genres, including but not limited to literary arts,visual arts, and folk art—all crafted by and for women.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Historical evolution of women’s literature in Urdu
• Impact of women’s writings on Urdu literary tradition
• Influence of Women’s Urdu literature on popular culture in Pakistan
• Urdu literary movements and their impact on women’s writings
• Representation of women in popular Urdu literature
• Feminist perspectives in popular Urdu literature
• Intersectionality in women’s literature—exploring themes of class, religion, nationalism,
caste, and ethnicity etc.
• Role of Urdu literature in shaping sexualities and gender identities
• Popular Urdu literature and its influence on societal perceptions of women
• Comparative analyses of women’s literature across different periods
• Challenges faced by women writers in the Urdu literary landscape
• Confluence of Urdu language and visual arts
• Contemporary trends and emerging voices in women’s popular literature

Submission Process and Timeline
May 30: Submit an abstract of 250-300 words to
June 15: Notification of acceptance or rejection.
October 1: Complete papers due. Guidelines will be provided upon abstract acceptance.

For questions about this Call for Papers or the submission process, please contact: