Department of Anthropology

Pilgrimages of the Dream: On Wings of State in Sehwan Sharif, Pakistan

Tue, April 25, 2017 | SAC 4.118

12:00 PM - 1:30 AM

Pilgrimages of the Dream: On Wings of State in Sehwan Sharif, Pakistan, with Omar Kasmani

In this text, I present a life history of a transgender fakir who relocates to Sehwan on the basis of his_her childhood dreams. The fakir life is made to converse with the modern story of Sehwan's shrine since its public takeover in 1960. I make the argument that the state's interest in governing saints' places exceeds its material and financial stakes and takes affective forms influencing the ways in which its subjects interact with saints of the state (also in dreams). 

Omar Kasmani is a post-doctoral Research Associate in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Collaborative Research Center “Affective Societies" at Freie Universität, Berlin. His work, both creative and academic, lies at the intersections of gender, queer futurities and politics of Muslim religious devotion. His current work explores the affective spatialities of religious belonging in a Sufi circle in Berlin. He has conducted long term fieldwork in Sehwan sharif, Pakistan with a focus on processes of social and spiritual becoming among women, men, and trans*gender fakirs. Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Omar has been living in Berlin since 2010. He has co-edited the volume Muslim Matter (2016), curated the project ‘framing muslims’, and has collaborated with cultural collectives like the Vierte Welt and the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) in Berlin. 


Sponsored by: South Asia Institute and The Department of Anthropology

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