Pulp Fictions: Reading Pakistani Domesticity
28 October 2005
University of Amsterdam
Spinhuis, Room 105 ("Commissariskamer")
O.Z. Achterburgwal 185, Amsterdam
Lecture by: Kamran Asdar Ali
Prof. Ali uses in his lecture examples from Urdu fiction in popular women's magazines in order to comprehend of how middle and lower middle class literate women articulate notions of family, individuality and sexual mores in a rapidly changing social and economic milieu of present-day urban Pakistan. To investigate the domestic sphere in contemporary Pakistan, Prof. Ali discusses two short stories from a popular Urdu digest published in the 1990s. These texts, he argues, help us understand how desires and fantasies are created in specific cultures and histories. These fantasies are embedded in social practices in an historical moment of economic insecurity and restrictive public space for urban women along with a proliferation of urban life style, global media, new art forms, cinema, and international migration. Therefore, popular narratives, the kind that are discussed in this lecture, remain local yet borrow from a variety of influences. They represent local histories in a global moment; as these stories become afflicted by cosmopolitan scripts that influence domestic life along with other social processes in Pakistan.