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Shandana Waheed

historical anthropology, archival ethnography, anthropology of religions, materiality, imperial interactions, nation-state, space, place making, mobility, memory and nostalgia, politics of heritage, ruins, ruination, South Asia, Pakistan, Punjab

My research explores the political configuration of national heritage and how architectural heritage is mediated in national space. The cartographic line that re-territorialized South-Asia at the time of decolonization fundamentally altered the religious make-up of the cities that underwent re-identification on both sides of the nascent border- making them the active sites of post-imperial contestation in the post-colonies.  I am focusing on Rawalpindi, a city selected by UNESCO for the Historical Urban landscape project due to its rich and pluralistic architectural heritage which problematizes the city’s diverse past in the present national space. I am interested in selection, preservation and ruination of heritage as it comes in conversation with politics, history, economy and the questions of identity which make these material remains visible or invisible in different fields of space. I am also interested in the social life of the city and the people inhabiting these spaces, relationship of the locals with these spaces that they come in contact with and how they contribute to this historical palimpsest which they constitute.

I received my B.A in Political Science and History from Forman Christian University in 2016. I completed an M.A in Near Eastern Studies from New York University in 2018, where I was a Falak Sufi Scholar. My Master’s research was an anthropological study of pre-partition religious buildings and Hindu and Sikh evacuee properties in the city of Rawalpindi. Prior to coming to Stanford, I taught ‘Critical Thinking’ as a lecturer at University of Management and Technology and ‘History of Modern South Asia’ at Punjab University.