Call for Papers: 'Gender, mobility and urban space in Pakistan'

Yasmeen Arif's picture
Call for Papers
December 31, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Geography, Sociology, South Asian History / Studies, Urban History / Studies

In recent years, gendered mobility in Pakistani cities has become a topic of both academic and popular interest. Governmental initiatives, such as the ‘Women on Wheels’ project (2015-2018) in Punjab, have sought to improve women’s ability to travel autonomously, at the same time as feminist activists have organised around gendered access to public space. Private-sector transport companies have capitalised on the gendered need for transport in urban locations, while CPEC-funded infrastructural projects in some cities in Pakistan have changed possibilities for mobility for (some) urban residents. These developments have all taken place in the context of rapid urbanisation in Pakistan, wherein urban Pakistanis travel constantly-expanding cityscapes and their peri-urban hinterlands, via roads and transportation infrastructures that become increasingly strained. 


The changing landscape of gendered urban mobility in Pakistan requires us to think critically about how cities are experienced by different gendered and classed subjects. Figures presented in academic discussions of other urban contexts, such as Walter Benjamin’s flaneur, cannot adequately describe the experience of subjects whose access to the city has never been unequivocal. At the same time, following Law’s  (1999) discussion of gender and mobility, considering gendered mobility solely in terms of women’s access to transport not only overlooks non-instrumental forms of mobility, but elides the complexity of gender as a socially-constructed category that interacts with class, caste and religion to produce particular, embodied ways of being. Within the changing urban environment, classed, gendered and raced forms of mobility invite greater analysis. 


This call for papers requests original contributions to an edited volume on ‘Gender, mobility and urban space in Pakistan.’ We ask contributors to consider how gender, class and other aspects of identity affect the experience of the urban environment, with a particular focus on forms of transport and mobility in the city. While we encourage submissions drawing on either quantitative and/or qualitative data, our ultimate intention is to submit the volume for publication within a series focused on lived experiences of the city. This means that we highly encourage papers that include discussions of the lived urban experiences of interlocutors. 


Please submit abstracts of not more than 750 words to by 31stDecember 2019. The abstract should include details of where the research was carried out, the research population, methodology used, and findings. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a workshop in Lahore in March 2020, where full papers will be presented for feedback and discussion. Following the workshop, we hope to publish the papers in an edited volume. 

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