Pakistan: Islamic Frontier (B. Randall)



Fall 1995

Mr. Barnett        
Randall 217     
4-6416      (h)977-0963           
Hrs: T 2-3:30; F 1:30-2:45

Purpose and focus

This course is an excursion into the study of history as a way of thinking. It is also an introduction to a modern nation under enormous stress, facing important social, political, economic and ideological challenges. The course will examine aspects of society and politics in Pakistan, while allowing us to sharpen our historical awareness and polish our writing and debating skills. No previous acquaintance with South Asia, or indeed with history, is assumed or required.

Texts and assignments


The following are available at The U.Va. Bookstore, on the end of an aisle near the stairs:

Sara Suleri,  Meatless Days
Anita Weiss, ed., Islamic Reassertion in Pakistan
Tehmina Durrani, My Feudal Lord
Raunaq Jahan, ed., Sultana's Dream, and Selections from "The Secluded Ones"

Available from Brillig Books, 7 Elliewood Avenue, is a packet of photocopied articles, readings in which are indicated below as "PH.COPY." These and other collective readings are also available on reserve in Clemons. Readings must be completed before class to maintain an intelligent, active level of discussion and participation.


You will wish to consult, and perhaps to purchase, these reference works:


N. F. Cantor and R. I. Schneider, How to Study History
Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers
Jules R. Benjamin, A Student's Guide to History
B. Crow and A. Thomas, eds., Third World Atlas.
There will be no exams.  Evaluation will rest on class participation (50%), plus four closely-edited and polished essays of two, two, four and eight typed pages, at intervals (50%). At least one of these papers will be critiqued in class, and graded by class members. No late or handwritten papers will be accepted without either advance notice or a truly superb excuse. Successful work in this course satisfies the College's second writing requirement. 

The University of Virginia has one of nine federally-funded Centers for South Asian Studies, sponsoring academic, cultural, and social activities. One is the South Asia Seminar, which meets almost every Friday at 3:00. Dinners, films, and festivals in the Charlottesville community, such as those of the Muslim Association, the Pakistani Students League, and the Indian Students Association (all of which include students from Pakistan and Bangladesh) will also be announced.


31 August - Introduction to course, classmates, and instructor Writing assignment (ungraded): write one typed page on "My Image of Pakistan." Be as thoughtful--and as candid--as possible. Write essays before starting the readings. Due in my mailbox, in 103 Randall Hall, by noon on 6 September.


7 Sept. - Lands, peoples, and histories of Pakistan

Francis Robinson, "Origins," in  James and Roy, 33-57 (PH.COPY)
Sikandar Hayat, "Origins and Development of the Pakistan Movement," in his Aspects of the Pakistan Movement,  1-30  (PH.COPY)
Anita Weiss, "The Historical Debate on Islam and the State in South Asia," and Hamza
Alavi, "Ethnicity, Muslim Society, and the Pakistan Ideology," being chapters 1 and 2 in
Weiss, ed., Islamic Reassertion in Pakistan, pp. 1-47
 14 Sept. - Independent Pakistan and the Quest for Identity
Philip Oldenburg, "A Place Insufficiently Imagined: Language, Belief, and the Pakistan Crisis of 1971," Journal of Asian Studies 44:4 (Aug. 1985): 711-733 (PH.COPY)
Writing assignment
Two-page essay #1.   What, in your view, was-and still might be-the basis of Pakistani identity, or what used to be called "national character"? This essay is due in my mailbox by noon on Wednesday, 20 September.

21 Sept. - Islamization, and Islamic identity, in Pakistan

Richard Kurin, "Islamization: A View from the Countryside," in Weiss, 115-128
David Taylor, "The Politics of Islam and Islamization in Pakistan," in James P. Piscatori, ed., Islam in the Political Process, 181-198 (PH.COPY)

28 Sept. - Economic Development in an Islamic Setting

S. J. Burki, "Economic Management Within an Islamic Context," in Weiss, 49-58
A.E. Mayer, "Islamization and Taxation in Pakistan," in Weiss, ed., 59-78
G. Clarke, "Pakistan's Zakat and 'Ushr as a Welfare System," in Weiss, 79-96

5 October - A Woman's View: Powerlessness amidst Privilege

Tehmina Durrani, My Feudal Lord, i-162.  Note: this book is not arranged chronologically, but is a nested series of flashbacks, ordered for dramatic effect. But it has a thematic linearity which you can follow as you read this first half of the book, and it goes fast and furious. Keep the following close by: soothing music, a pillow to pound, pain killers, or an exercise machine to work off your irritation and anger.
Writing Assignment
Two-page essay #2.   What is right or wrong, in your opinion, with Durrani's views? Essays are due in my box on 11 October.

12 October - Purdah

Raunaq Jahan, ed., Sultana's Dream, and Selections from "The Secluded Ones," entire

19 October - No class; instructor attends the Annual South Asia Conference in Madison, WI


26 October - Popular Islam, Society, and Politics in Pakistan

David Gilmartin, "Shrines, Succession, and Sources of Moral Authority," in Barbara D. Metcalf, ed., Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984) (PH.COPY)

Katherine Ewing, "Malangs of the Punjab: Intoxication or Adab as the Path to God?" in Metcalf, ed., Moral Conduct (PH.COPY)


2 November - The Debate on Popular Islam

M. Gaborieau, "A Nineteenth-Century Indian 'Wahhabi" Tract Against the Cult of Muslim Saints: Al-Balagh al-Mubin," in C. W. Troll, ed., Muslim Shrines in India: Their Character, History, and Significance (Delhi: OUP, 1989), 198-239 (PH.COPY)

Writing assignment: Write a four-page essay assessing the place of popular Islam--which you should clearly define--in contemporary Pakistan. You may deal with the issue in terms of how it does or does not contradict "Islamization," or how several attempts at reform of religious belief and practice might have succeeded or failed, or how the ideal balance between formal "orthodoxy" and popular Islam might be maintained. Our last two weeks of readings are directly relevant. This essay is due in my box at noon on 9 November. It is a pledged essay, and must be cleanly proofread and typed.


9 November - Islamic Fundamentalism

Z. Husain, "Maulana Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi:  An Appraisal of His Thought and Political Influence," South Asia N.S. 9:1 (June 1986): 61-82 (PH.COPY).

S. V. R. Nasr, "Limits to Islamic Revivalism: the Evidence from Pakistan," paper prepared for the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Los Angeles, 1993, 43 pp.


16 November - Women and Women's Rights

Sara Suleri, chapters entitled "Excellent Things in Women,"  "The Immoderation of Ifat," and "What Mamma Knew," in her collection of autobiographical essays, Meatless Days


23 November - Thanksgiving


30 November - Crossroads for families, for politics, for nationhood

William L. Richter, "The Political Meaning of Islamization in Pakistan: Prognosis, Implications, and Questions," in Weiss, ed., pp. 129-139
Tehmina Durrani, My Feudal Lord, 163-365
Optional reading:  an excellent review in a very compressed format is available in John Esposito, "Pakistan: Quest for Islamic Identity," in John Esposito, ed., Islam and Development: Religion and Sociopolitical Change (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1980)

8 December - Specialized topics on Pakistan in the 1990s

Readings involve, in addition to one article everyone reads, individualized assignments, designed to accommodate each class member's personal interests as expressed during the semester. (The available materials on two favored topics-nuclear weapons and Kashmir -are either too partisan, tentative, or dense to be of much use to us.) These readings are open to adjustment; they may even be swapped with another class member.


Each class member will present an eight- to twelve-minute summation and commentary in class, in order to provide an exposure to a broader selection of readings for all, and to contextualize new information within the framework of readings we have already completed. Do please rehearse your class presentations in order to meet this important time constraint. This individualized reading assignment might well serve as a launching pad for your eight-page papers.


Class members might wish to choose from among the following:

Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, "Students, Islam, and Politics: Islami Jami'at-i Tulaba in Pakistan," The Middle East Journal 46:1 (Winter 1992): 59-76. With instructor.

Abidullah Ghazi, "Muslim Bengal: a Crisis of Identity," in West Bengal and Bangla Desh Perspectives (Lansing: Michigan State University South asian Series, Nol 21, 1972?), with instructor.

Zafaryab Ahmed, "Maudoodi's Islamic State," and Ziaul Haque, "Islamization of Society in Pakistan," in Asghar Khan, ed., Islam, Politics and the State: the Pakistan Experience (London: Zed, 1985), 95-126. With instructor.

Anita M. Weiss, "Implications of the Islamization Program for Women," in Weiss, ed., Islamic Reassertion in Pakistan (our text), 97-115; Anita M. Weiss, "Women, Tradition, and Empowerment in Pakistan: Accommodating Conflicting Roles," unpublished paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Boston, 1994 (with instructor); and Anita M. Weiss, "Shifts in Pakistani State Policy towards Women under the New Pakistan People's Party Government," unpublished paper presented to the conference at Columbia University entitled "Pakistan in Transition: the Societal Dimensions," March 1994. With instructor.

Richard M. Eaton, "The Profile of Popular Islam in the Pakistani Punjab," Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 2:1 (Fall 1978), 74-91. With instructor.

Katherine Ewing, "Wandering Faqirs and the Colonial Gaze," unpublished paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Los Angeles, March 1993, 14 pp. With instructor. [Note that, although this discusses how the nineteenth-century British regarded Muslim (and Hindu) wandering holy men, it is relevant to how modern Pakistanis also regard them, and we have read the author on qalandars and malangs before.]

Sheila McDonough, Muslim Ethics and Modernity: a comparative Study of the Ethical Thought of Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Mawlana Mawdudi (Waterloo, Ontario: Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion, 1984), with instructor. This is a book, but a small one that reads fast.

=46ahmida Riaz, Pakistan, Literature and Society (New Delhi: Patriot Publishers, 1986), 7-58, 122-124. With instructor.

C.M. Naim, ed., Iqbal, Jinnah and Pakistan: The Vision and the Reality; Hafeez Malik, ed., Iqbal: Poet-Philosopher of Pakistan.

Steven Cohen, The Pakistan Army; Bilal Hashmi, "Dragon Seed: Military in the State," In H. Gardezi and J. Rashid, eds., Pakistan: The Roots of Dictatorship, pp. 148-171; Siddiq Salik, The Wounded Pride: Reminiscences of a Pakistani Prisoner of War in India, 1971-73.

Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan:The Gathering Storm (1985) and Daughter of Destiny (her autobiography, 1989).


Note: this is our final class. Your paper topic is obviously your own choice, but the idea is to build a theme on the basis of what you have already read. There will be time in class to sort much of this out collectively, if people are clear and candid. Suggested topic areas, with sources to look through to sharpen your focus:


PENULTIMATE DRAFTS DUE 12:00, 13 Dec.; FINAL DRAFTS, at noon on 18 Dec.