Dr. Nausheen H Anwar
Dr. Nausheen H Anwar
I am presently the Founder and Director of the Karachi Urban Lab (KUL) and Professor City & Regional Planning in the Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts (SSLA), IBA. I received my PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a Masters in International Affairs also from Columbia University. I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses at various universities and held post-doctoral positions at Harvard University and the National University of Singapore. My research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of critical urban studies, human geography, political anthropology and political-economy. In this broad area, I am interested in questions related to extended urbanization and the politics of land/property making; water, security, and gender; displacement/evictions and logics of planning; and the power-laden forms of climate adaptation, planning and sustainability practices and policies.
I have published widely in international academic journals, for instance Economic & Political Weekly (EPW), Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Antipode, Urban Studies. I have authored a book: Infrastructure Redux: Crisis, Progress in Industrial Pakistan & Beyond (2015, Palgrave Macmillan); and secured grants that center on themes such as gender, infrastructures and violence; megaprojects and land displacement. I am especially committed to public outreach to advance the understanding of global-urban issues to foster the development of humane and politically inclusive cities, and it is in this context, that I am collaborating with colleagues to develop the KUL as a hub for critical urban thinking, sharing knowledge and for deepening our understanding of the challenges of urbanization and the associated urban politics of our times.
Dr. Noman Ahmed
Dr. Noman Ahmed
I studied architecture and planning at Dawood College in Karachi, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, United Nations Centre for Regional Development in Nagoya; at Harvard University, USA and received my doctorate in Civil Engineering from Loughborough University, UK. I am Professor & Dean, Faculty of Architecture and Management Sciences at NED University. My research and teaching interests lie in water supply, urban development and housing rights.
I have published widely in both international and national journals and in media. I have worked with a variety of institutions, ranging from MIT, University College London, the Mimar Sinan University in Turkey, and with the Pakistan Planning Commission, as well as the City District Government Karachi (CDGK), the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB), and various NGOs and CBOs. I have also published extensively on water related issues, especially as this pertains to Karachi. My recent book is Water Supply in Karachi: Issues and Prospects (2008), Oxford University Press.
Dr. Aradhana Sharma
Dr. Aradhana Sharma
Dr. Anu (Aradhana) Sharma is an Associate Professor of Anthropology Department at Wesleyan University. She completed a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a doctoral degree in Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University. Anu has a keen interest in “the political” in its diverse manifestations and at different scales: the everyday politics of survival and life on the margins; the politics of disciplined and activist bodies; the politics of social movements, NGOs, and radical groups; the politics of the state and citizenship; the politics of global governance and aid by international organizations like the World Bank; and finally, the politics of knowledge production. Her geographic focus is South Asia, specifically India. Her first book, Logics of Empowerment: Development, Gender and Governance in Neoliberal India, focused on a rural women’s empowerment program started as a partnership between feminist groups and the Indian government to illuminate the paradoxical dynamics and outcomes of empowerment under neoliberalism. She is currently finishing a project on the politics of “good governance” in India that looks at how the law is being mobilized to reform democratic rule, promote state transparency and anticorruption, and to what effect.
Anu is co-editor of The Anthropology of the State: A Reader. Her work has also appeared in the journals American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Current Anthropology, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Citizenship Studies, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, and Anthropology Now.
Dr. Sobia Kaker
Dr. Sobia Kaker
Dr. Sobia Kaker is a Lecturer in Urban Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London and an interdisciplinary scholar who works on socio-material processes related to urbanization, and how these relate to socio-political life in Global South cities. Her ongoing research focuses on the ‘lived’ aspects of urban insecurity. Sobia is interested in the ways in which urban residents and governors navigate everyday insecurity, and how various processes of securitization impact urban social, spatial, and political relations. She uses an ethnographic, postcolonial, and contextual approach to her work. Sobia completed her PhD degree from Newcastle University in 2015 and her PhD thesis titled ‘Enclaves as Process: Space, Security and Violence in Karachi’ investigates socio-material processes of securitising urban space, and studies how processes of ‘enclavisation’, in turn, exacerbate conflict and violence in the already divided Pakistani megacity.
Aspects of Sobia’s PhD research are published as articles in academic journals such as Public Culture, Harvard Design Magazine, and South Asian History and Culture. Prior to joining Goldsmiths, Sobia was working as a Researcher on Urban Uncertainty at LSE Cities (LSE, UK) and as a Researcher on Cities and War at the Centre for Civil Society and Human Security also at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.
Dr. Amiera Sawas
Dr. Amiera Sawas
Dr. Amiera Sawas is with Action Aid as a Senior Research and Policy Specialist. Amiera is a feminist researcher with subject specialisms in climate change, gender and security. At Action Aid she is focusing on embedding feminist approaches to research, covering development and humanitarian issues. Amiera has a PhD in water governance (Human Geography). She is experienced in developing and promoting multi-disciplinary research - through natural science, social science and participatory research. Amiera completed her post-doc at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London. At Imperial, Amiera co-led a GCRF funded project with IBA Karachi on the linkages between climate change responses, legalisms and gender in Pakistan. Before that, Amiera was based at King’s College London Department of Geography, working on the Safe and Inclusive Cities research project - focused on Gender and Violence in urban Pakistan and led by IBA.
Dr. Sarwat Viqar
Dr. Sarwat Viqar
Dr. Sarwat Viqar is an Urban Anthropologist and her research focuses on the politics of urban space, gender and public space and informal urban governance in cities in the Global South with a special focus on Pakistan. The main concern that animates her research is how city dwellers in highly contested urban environments deal with the political and economic challenges of rapidly transforming urban centres in the Global South. She teaches in the Humanities, Philosophy and Religion Department of John Abbott College in Montreal. Her courses range from contemporary urban issues, postcolonial theory to the social impacts of technology on society. She has published articles on Karachi's urban history, the dynamics of its low-income neighborhoods, gender and mobility and fieldwork methodology. She has worked as a research consultant on projects focused on affordable housing, urban infrastructure and urban violence in various regions of Pakistan. Trained as an architect, with a Master’s degree in Architecture from McGill University she has documented and researched vernacular architectural forms in various regions of Pakistan, in particular in the Gilgit-Baltistan region where she has researched the social impact of transformations in building technologies on local communities. Currently based in Montreal she also works on a voluntary basis with local community organizations that advocate for better access to affordable housing and other basic services for immigrants and refugees.
Yaminay Chaudhri has a degree in Architecture from Cornell University and an MFA in Combined Media Studio Arts from State University of New York at Albany. Invested in the urban transformations of a rapidly transforming city, Yaminay established the Tentative Collective in Karachi in 2011. Yaminay makes work grounded in the urban, both collaboratively and independently, focusing on digital media and socially engaged practice. These works have been shown in various museums, galleries and festivals internationally including the Maraya Art Centre (Sharjah), Alserkal Avenue (Dubai), MoCA (Los Angeles), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kunstraum Bethanien (Berlin), Gandhara Artspace (Karachi), Twelve Gates Arts (Philadelphia), University Art Museum (Albany), Syracuse International Film Festival, Digital Marrakech Festival, City Possible Film Festival NUS (Singapore), IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival (New Delhi), and more. She has presented projects at the Sarai Programme (CSDS, New Delhi), International Institute for Asian Studies and Hong Kong Baptist University (HK), Dhaka Art Summit, and the Karachi Conference.
Her writing has been published in the Herald, Creative Time Reports, ArtNow, Art Asia Pacific and various artist publications. She has enjoyed teaching in several universities including, SUNY Albany, Karachi University, Habib University, Aga Khan University and the Indus Valley School of Art. She has been awarded grants by the Forum Fellowship Art Dubai, Prince Claus foundation, National University of Singapore (NUS), and USIP.
Dr. Gulnaz Anjum
Dr. Gulnaz Anjum Assistant Professor Psychology
I received my MS in Psychology as a Fulbright scholar from the New School, USA in 2010, and my Ph.D. in 2015 in Social Psychology from International Max Planck Research School & Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany. My research areas include social, positive, developmental, and environmental psychology, and focus on the role of social and institutional processes and policies in social developments and inequalities cross-culturally (Pakistan, South Korea, UK, Germany, and the USA). I have received several prestigious fellowships and research grants including Max Planck Fellowship, Fulbright scholarship, International Institute of Education research grant, and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan's Start-up Research grant. Currently, I am Co-Principal Investigator at the KUL for the project Governance, Land, Infrastructure: The Politics of Displacement & Compensation in Urban Pakistan. I am exploring various social and psychological themes related to Pakistan's urban environment, wellbeing, stress, and marginalities caused by rapid urbanization and related processes of displacement and evictions.
Aqdas FatimaResearch Assistant
I recently graduated from the University of Kent with a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Biological Anthropology. I have a keen interest in understanding the social and structural dimensions of urban spaces, particularly through visual research. At KUL, I am researching the relationship between heat, cooling, and urban spaces.
Atoofa SamoResearch Associate
I have an M.Phil in Anthropology from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. At KUL, I look at how lower-income groups take measures in informal ways to accommodate and react to extreme heat; what are the available resources, practices and indigenous knowledge through which people satisfy their necessities for cooling.
Nirmal RiazResearch Assistant
I am currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Anthropology at the University of Heidelberg. I am also a Working Student in the Asia Team at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and Rule of Law. At KUL, I have been involved in researching the gendered and environmental dynamics of development and mega-projects in Tharparker, Sindh. I am currently writing my thesis on Female Dump-Truck drivers in IslamKot and the reinforcement of cultural asymmetries.
Sajjad Ahmad Network Manager (GCRF - CCUVN)
I am the Network Manager for the GCRF funded Climate Change and Urban Violence Global Engagement Network (CCUVN), that the KUL is leading from Pakistan, in collaboration with Nottingham University, UK. The CCUVN comprises a diverse set of stakeholders -- researchers and practitioners - who aim to generate knowledge concerning the interface between urban violence and climate change. I am also visiting faculty at the Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Department, IBA. Previously, I was a Senior Research Fellow at the Area Study Centre for Europe; and a fellowship holder of IFA (Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen), Germany and worked at the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC). I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Comparative Religion, Comenius University, Slovakia; my research focuses on the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.
Adam Abdullah Senior Research Associate
I am currently pursuing a PhD in City and Regional Planning at the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. At KUL, I am investigating urbanization trends through land deals and land use changes, including the socio-economic trajectories of residents and communities, focusing on Karachi’s periphery.
Vikram Das Senior Research Associate
I am currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at the Department of South Asian studies, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. At KUL, I have been investigating the impact of mega-infrastructure projects on land acquisition and the related impacts of migration and urbanization on ‘frontier’ towns such as Mithi and Islamkot, in Tharparkar, Sindh.
Soha Macktoom Research Associate
I am an architect and graduated from NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. At KUL, I am looking at state policies and practices to evict low-income communities in specific neighborhoods of Karachi, and the loss of identity of seemingly similar dwellings that are perceived as mere shelters instead of homes.
Fizza Qureshi Research Associate
I received my BSc in Political Science from IBA. At KUL, I am investigating how women are affected in the politics of displacement and resistance, specifically how communities use the figure of the woman (mother/daughter/sister/wife) to deter state institutions from evicting them from their homes.
Abdul Rehman Research Associate
I received my M.Phil from the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad. My recent engagement with KUL was via a project on mega-infrastructure projects and the impact on land acquisition processes in Sindh and Punjab. I was looking at how ecological authority is configured in Pakistan and how new ways of imagining ecology challenge the development regime.
Kanza Rizvi Legal Associate
I graduated from IBA from the BBA program and received my Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of London. At KUL, I assist with the scope and interpretation of the applicable land and related laws to the issues of displacement and compensation.
Arsam Saleem Research Associate
I graduated from IBA with a BSc. At KUL, I am exploring the gendered landscape of displacement, vulnerability and structural violence that is created by access and denial to certain forms of infrastructure, and how the precarious housing dynamics engendered by the 21st century neoliberal, world class city might exacerbate said qualities
Muhammed ToheedSenior Research Associate & GIS Analyst
I received my M.Phil. in Urban & Regional Planning from NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi. At KUL, I provide support in the interpretation of data concerning densification, changes in land tenure, land use, and on related issues of displacement and compensation in urban and rural Sindh.
Ms. Qurat ul Ain
Ms. Qurat ul Ain Admin Assistant / Accounts Manager
Ms. Qurat ul Ain or ‘Annie’ works in the IBA Finance department and assists KUL with administrative and account management.
Abeera Kamran Graphic and Web Designer
Abeera Kamran is a visual designer and a front-end web developer based in Birmingham (U.K) and Karachi (Pakistan).
Her creative practice is research-based and lies at the intersections of design, archiving practices and the constituting of urban life. She designs and co-edits 'Exhausted Geographies', a collaborative publishing project which critically engages with the politics of representation and map-making in Karachi. She is the designer and web developer for the Karachi Urban Lab Website. She built this website to reflect the interdiscplinary work happening at KUL, and to enable richer connections to be developed between and around the research undertaken here. She is also a contributor to 'A Selective Guide to the V&A's South Asia Collection', published by Delfina Foundation.