media. religion. data cultures.

My work explores the overlaps, intersections, and disjunctures between these concepts through a close ethnographic examination of representations and dialogic exchanges about religion in the Pakistani television drama industry that dominates popular culture and continues to experiment with and build its digital capacities. While Islamization anchors notions of retrenchment and conservatism digitalization envisions innovativeness, progressivism, and, for the Global South, it is especially important as a promise of access in the global economy. Together, the effects of these two forces in Pakistan are uneven and unpredictable. Drama-making is an industry deeply enmeshed in politics, the economy, and sociality. As a result of this, the circulation of dramas is deeply sensitive to how processes of digitalisation and Islamization unfurl locally as they are shaped by forces within and outside industry. The stakes of this embeddedness make it an important space for theorizing how media and religion intersect in our digital age. Issues like data surveillance, attention economies, digital labour, and algorithmic tastes are all in play. 

List of Publications

“Show, Don’t Tell”: pious visual culture in Pakistani dramas.” Critical Pakistan Studies. (2023, In review)

Mirāt ul-‘Urūs on the small screen: family TV dramas and the making of pious publics in Pakistan.” Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies 10, no. 2 (March 2020): 145-163.

“Multiple Scripts: regularizing social media discourse in Urdu and§ its (many) transliterations,” co-written with Max Dugan, IDEAHInterdisciplinary Digital Engagement in Arts & Humanities (2021, In review)

“Translating Tech: Urdu Social Media Discourse and the Question of Secularism for Postcolonial Digital Humanities,” co-written with Max Dugan, 2022 Global Digital Humanities Annual Symposium Proceedings.

Online Publication: “Interview with Shannon Mattern on her book A City is Not a Computer, Princeton University Press” CaMP (Communication, Media, Performance) Anthropology Website (May 2023)

Book review: The Shi’a in Modern South Asia, Religion, History and Politics, edited by Justin Jones and Ali Usman Qasmi. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 27 (2017): 686-688.

Online publication: “Pakistani Vernacular Languages,” Diversity in the Stacks series, Penn Libraries (October 2020)