“A welcome intervention to the incipient debate on women and ecological degradation in Pakistan that will enrich understandings of self, place, and belonging beyond the narrow confines of the postcolonial state’s official nationalism.”
Ayesha Jalal, director of the Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies at Tufts University
“An urgent and consequential book on the deep entanglements between gender politics and environmental justice. . . . Impressive, vital work.”
Rob Nixon, author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor
“This book will be required reading not only among ecocritics but also among feminist, postcolonial, ethnic, Pakistani, and American studies scholars.”
Joni Adamson, director of the Environmental Humanities Initiative at Arizona State University
“Shazia Rahman’s ethically charged book offers a fresh and novel engagement with cultural production from Pakistan, an enormously important part of South Asia that is nevertheless often neglected in postcolonial studies.”
Ananya Jahanara Kabir, author of Partition’s Post-Amnesias: 1947, 1971, and Modern South Asia
While news reports about Pakistan tend to cover Taliban attacks and bombings, and academics focus on security issues, the environment often takes a backseat in media reportage and scholarship. In particular, Pakistani women’s attachment to their environment and their environmental concerns are almost always ignored. Shazia Rahman traces the ways in which Pakistani women explore alternative, environmental modes of belonging, examines the vitality of place-based identities within Pakistani culture, and thereby contributes to evolving understandings of Pakistani women—in relation to both their environment and to various discourses of nation and patriarchy.
Through an astute analysis of such works as Sabiha Sumar’s Khamosh Pani (2003), Mehreen Jabbar’s Ramchand Pakistani (2008), Sorayya Khan’s Noor (2006), Uzma Aslam Khan’s Trespassing (2003), and Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows (2009), Rahman illuminates how
Pakistani women’s creative works portray how people live with one another, deal with their environment, and intuit their relationship with the spiritual. She considers how literary and cinematic documentation of place-based identities simultaneously critiques and counters stereotypes of Pakistan as a country of religious nationalism and oppressive patriarchy. Rahman’s analysis discloses fresh perspectives for thinking about the relationship between social and environmental justice.
Shazia Rahman is an associate professor of English at the University of Dayton.
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing date: 2021
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