Through a five-year BA/MA program, I completed a BA in International Studies and Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 2015 and an MA in Middle East Studies and International Economics from the JHU School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2016.
Catalyzed by my background as an American of Pakistani descent, my education focused primarily on politics and society in the Middle East and South Asia—with special attention to gender and political economy. I couldn’t turn away from the issues that hit closest to home, however, and therefore I’ve also put a great deal of effort into understanding the aforementioned structures—with the addition of race—in the United States as well.
As a student I researched a variety of topics, but most recently I have analyzed gender in myriad contexts, including: the inextricability of race and class from the experience of gender in America; the importance of political economy to gender analysis in the Middle East; the treatment of gender in Kemalist modernization reforms in early Turkey; the social work and discursive worlds of pious Muslim women in Egypt; the theoretical and experiential bases for Islamic feminism in the Middle East and Africa; and the multidimensional impact of the past 15 years of war on Afghan women’s lives. One particularly substantial project I undertook was research on the history of the “third” gender and homosexuality in South Asia—as a means to explain two divergent Indian Supreme Court rulings in 2013-2014, which recognized and affirmed the rights of a third gender category while upholding a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality. You can read more about my conclusions here; I also wrote a short blog post on the issue a few months earlier, here, exploring the initial thoughts and questions that would drive my future research.
In addition to being a voracious reader when it comes to social and political issues, I have long maintained a passion for art, fashion and beauty. My interest in research and publishing spans these multifaceted arenas, and I’m particularly fascinated by their many points of intersection.
My previous work experience has centered on line editing, copy editing, proofreading, writing, and research: I have been a tutor (undergraduate) and teaching assistant (graduate) at both of my university writing centers, an editor for multiple university publications, and a sociology research assistant, along with interning at a think-tank and a non-profit organization. See my LinkedIn profile for more details.
Meanwhile, I have also built up social media expertise through years of practical experience, maintaining not only professional pages but my own Twitter following of over 3,000. I’ve also developed other technological aptitudes informally: around age 9 I started experimenting with photo editing and graphic design, as well as video editing, paving the way for my self-taught skills in Adobe Photoshop and iMovie (and the ability to learn new software with exceptional speed); I also taught myself HTML/CSS as a child, creating websites as early as age 10, designing and publicly offering free layouts for Xanga blogs at age 12, and stretching the bounds of HTML formatting with MySpace layouts at age 13 (RIP to my generation’s social media predecessors). I was a child who wanted to be an artist when she grew up—although I eventually turned to the study of politics and history, the art kid in me lives on. My photography is a testament to that.