News about Urdu and Pakistan-related ISAS events - August 2014
Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley
August 2014
Dear Friends,

The Institute for South Asia Studies is delighted to announce the launch of a new, multi-year Pakistan@Berkeley project titled, Pakistan: Beyond the Security State. This project – funded by a $140,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation – seeks to foster new ways of thinking about security and Pakistan. Conceived in military terms, the “security” lens views people and places primarily as threats, or potential threats, sweeping aside the possibility for any more complex or alternate understandings of Pakistan and its social problems and vulnerabilities. Where current conversations mostly focus on the Pakistan army, Af-Pak, relations with India, Islamist movements, or nuclear weapons and proliferation, this project seeks fresh approaches and broader frameworks that address insecurities such as those posed by anemic economic development, explosive population growth, faltering public institutions, environmental degradation, resource mismanagement, and rising class and ethnic tensions. In exploring these issues, this project is especially interested in foregrounding Pakistani voices toward highlighting the often complex, surprising and capacious ways in which different groups of Pakistanis think about their individual and national “security.” By drawing new perspectives and topics into conversations about Pakistan’s “security”, this project offers alternative ways of thinking about policy and international relations in this part of the world.

The Institute is also very proud to announce the inaugural Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada Dissertation 
 for 2014-15. Endowed by Rafat Pirzada and his wife, Amna Jaffer, and named after Rafat Pirzada’s father, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada on the occasion of his 90th birthday, this prize will fund an annual dissertation prize for the best Pakistan-related work in the humanities, social sciences, law, or public health in the United States or Europe. This prize seeks to reward outstanding work by a scholar in the early part of their professional career. The amount of the award is $2,500; it will be conferred at the inaugural Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada Annual Lecture to be held at UC Berkeley in Spring 2015.

In other news, the newly re-launched  Berkeley Urdu Language Program in Pakistan  (BULPIP), working in conjunction with the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, will send its first batch of students to Lahore for fifteen-weeks of intense Urdu language study through an immersion program based at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Selecting students was our greatest challenge this past semester. The program attracted many exceptional applicants, which led to an especially competitive pool of candidates. Please click 2014 Cohort to read about the students who made the cut. We are so proud of them and we wish them all the best for a wonderful stay in Pakistan. 

We are always striving to bring top Pakistan and Urdu scholars and public intellectuals to Berkeley. Events organized in Spring 2014 under or with the assistance of the  Pakistan Studies Initiative and Urdu Studies Initiative included: 
  1. Thursday, January 30, 2014
    Mangoes, Alice, and the Missing Baloch: In conversation with Pakistani writer and journalist, Mohammed Hanif
  2. Wednesday, February 12, 2014
    A Persianate Empire?: Sanskrit Literature and Literati at the Mughal court, 1560-1660
  3. Tuesday, March 4, 2014
    Kala Pul (The Black Bridge): A film by Saqib Mausoof
  4. Monday, March 10, 2014
    Fiction and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A conversation with Pakistani writer, Mohsin Hamid
  5. Saturday, March 15, 2014
    Zamanay Ke Andaz: The 9th Annual Urdu Culture Show
  6. Tuesday, April 8, 2014
    The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World
  7. Wednesday, April 30, 2014
    Talking with the Pakistani Taliban
In case you missed our media coverage: in response to Mohammed Hanif's visit, Mumbai-based journalist Kalpana Sharma wrote  Pakistanis, Indians and Thin Skins, an insightful article comparing Pakistani writers with their Indian counterparts.

In 2013-14, the Institute of South Asia Studies hosted two visiting research scholars working on Pakistan: Dr. Niaz Murtaza (Development Economics) and Dr. Mona K. Sheikh (Peace and Conflict Studies).

Thanks to the generosity of UC Berkeley and donors in the United States and Pakistan, the Urdu Studies Initiative has maintained its pledge to teach separate sections of Beginning, Intermediate and A
dvanced Urdu every semester. For Fall 2014 Urdu offerings, please visit: Fall 2014 Courses

As you may know, the latest issue of Khabar - the annual newsletter of the Institute of South Asia Studies - came out in Spring 2014. Please read it online here or click the box on the right. Among the many interesting articles on ISAS's accomplishments and activities over the past year, this issue also contains more information about the many events organized by the Pakistan Studies Initiative and Urdu Studies Initiative in the Spring and Fall semesters of 2013. We are happy to mail you a hard copy in case you'd rather read the ink and paper version. Just send your mailing address to

We look forward to seeing you in Fall 2014!

With best regards

Munis Faruqui
Saba Mahmood

Bilal Tanweer reads from his debut novel, "The Scatter here is Too Great"

Wednesday, October 15
5-7 pm
Townsend Center for the Humanities
220 Stephens Hall


Sept 4   ISAS Annual Reception  
4 pm, Stephens Hall, Terrace

Sept 8  Anjum Altaf, Dean at LUMS, on the crisis of education in Pakistan 
5 pm, 10 Stephens Hall

Oct 15   Bilal Tanweer reads from his newest book, "The Scatter here is Too Great"   
5 pm, Townsend Center (220 Stephens Hall)

Oct 26   Ayesha Siddiqa delivers the Second Mahomedali Habib Distinguished Lecture  
Time TBD, 315 Wheeler Hall

Nov 24   Iftikhar Dadi, Art Historian at Cornell University on the trends in South Asia
5 pm, 10 Stephens Hall

Pakistan@Berkeley awarded a $140,000 MacArthur Foundation grant for Pakistan: Beyond the Security State, a multi-year project that seeks to foster new ways of thinking about security and Pakistan. Read more here >>

Berkeley's Urdu & Pakistan Initiatives are both housed in one of the world's leading institutes for research and programs on South Asia, the prestigious Institute for South Asia Studies. Click the links below to read more about:

Iftikhar Dadi, Artist and Scholar of Art at Cornell University, on Art of Muslim South Asia 

Monday, November 24
5-7 pm
ISAS Conference Room
10 Stephens Hall
Copyright © 2014  Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California at Berkeley
Our mailing address is:
10 Stephens Hall, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720-2310