Yasmeen Arif

yasmeen arif

 

DPhil Student

St John's College

Thesis: Gender, space and urban transformations in Pakistan 

Research interests: My doctoral research is based in Lahore, the ‘cultural capital’ of Pakistan, where a number of changes have taken place in recent years. New forms of public transport create new opportunities for mobility in the city, while at the same time, the construction of the new Orange Train line and new, securitised malls have brought about urban demolition and the transformation of neighbourhoods. Movements to plant indigenous trees in order to re-green ‘the City of Gardens’ aim to transform the urban landscape in a totally different way, while cyclists and feminist activists ride and walk Lahore’s roads in order to make varied, embodied claims to public space.

My research tries to understand how these different claims to the city are made, and how these changes to urban landscape and infrastructure affect experiences of mobility and public space in Lahore. Drawing on the work of Shilpa Phadke et al, I seek to learn about the gendered experiences of these transformations to the city, and what opportunities and challenges people of different genders experience as they move around Lahore. Through participant observation, I aim to answer the following questions: when transformations to the city occur, who benefits and who does not? Who is brought into the city, and who is left out? 

Alongside gender, feminist theory and urbanism, my research interests include the anthropology of Islam. I have carried out research into mosque open days taking place in the UK, and a study of the experiences of Muslims in London after the July 2005 bombings. I am also interested in postcolonial theory and issues of decolonisation and curriculum diversification. To this end, I co-convene an academic reading group exploring the work of postcolonial and decolonial writers, with an emphasis on writers of colour and writers from the Global South. To find out more about the reading group, please email altcurricula@gmail.com.

Email: yasmeen.arif@anthro.ox.ac.uk