My research is located at the intersections of the study of material environments, temporality, and the everyday. A focus on urban built forms, their symbolization and everyday use served as the springboard for transitioning from my dissertation and postdoctoral research to my first book, which explores how the Islamic tradition and the aspiration to strive together shape collective projects in Pakistan. My most recent research shifts location and focus to examine rural and riverine environments in Bangladesh as they intersect with multiple possible futures, including the temporalities of everyday life, those of material substances such as riverine flows and silt sedimentation, and the crisis-inflected future of climate change. My further interest is in the technological imagination of material environments of the distant future, particularly its utopian and futurist dimensions, to be studied through desert reclamation projects in the Middle East but this is yet to be researched. In all of these projects, I not only draw upon the methodologies of archival research and textual analysis from the humanities, fieldwork practice from anthropology, but also engage concepts and frameworks from the environmental sciences to produce multidisciplinary work that is attentive to the weave of enduring and emergent questions within the social.
Major Articles and Essays
Riverine Life, Engineered Landscapes and Bangladesh
“The Green of Khizr” under review.
“Of Humans and Dogs and What Silt Wants to Be” under review
“The Death of Nature in the Era of Global Warming” in Wording the World: Veena Das and her Interlocutors ed. Roma Chatterji. Forthcoming from Fordham University Press
“Geddes in India: Town Planning, Plant Sentience, Cooperative Evolution” Environment and Planning(D) 29(5), 2011: 840-856
Islam, Everyday Life and Pakistan
Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan. Duke University Press 2012.
“The Acoustics of Muslim Striving: Loudspeaker Use in Ritual Practice in Pakistan” Comparative Studies on Society and History (CSSH) 53(3), 2011: 571-594
“Images that come Unbidden: Some Thoughts on the Danish Cartoon Controversy” special issue ofBorderlands on Religion and Sexuality. 9(3), 2010
“Introduction” Beyond Crisis: Reevaluating Pakistan, Routledge, 2010.
“Mosque Construction, Or the Violence of the Ordinary” Beyond Crisis: Reevaluating Pakistan, Routledge, 2010.
“Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi on the Limits of Legitimate Religious Difference” in Islam in South Asia in Practice ed. Barbara Metcalf, Princeton University Press, 2009, pp. 438-446.
“The Martyrdom of Mosques: Imagery and Iconoclasm in Modern Pakistan” in Enchantments of Modernity ed. Saurabh Dube, Routledge, 2008, pp. 372-401.
“Of Children and Jinns: An Inquiry into an Unexpected Friendship During Uncertain Times” Cultural Anthropology vol 21(6), May 2006, pp. 234-264. Republished in Ali Khan ed. Oxford in Pakistan: Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology, 2011 and in abridged form in Diane Mines and Sarah Lamb eds. Everyday Life in South Asia, 2010.
“Trespasses of the State: Ministering the Copyright to Theological Dilemmas” Bare Acts, Sarai Reader 5, (CSDS, Delhi, 2005), pp. 178-188. http://archive.sarai.net/files/original/0c8afcb52762fa68e7bef6b4c0c8a1d1.pdf
Temporality and Emergent Rationalities
Co-editor with Jane I. Guyer and Juan Obarrio of “Number as Inventive Frontier,” special issue ofAnthropological Theory May 2010.
“The Speech of Generals: Some Meditations on Pakistan” refereed and posted on the SSRC ForumPakistan in Crisis January 2nd 2008
“Flaws in the Flow: Roads and their Modernity in Pakistan” Social Text Winter 2006, pp. 87-113.
"Networks Actual and Potential: Think Tanks, War Games and the Creation of Contemporary American Politics" co-authored with Bhrigupati Singh, Deborah Poole and Richard Baxstrom, Theory and Event,September 2005.