Islam, State and the Everyday, Pakistan
My research in urban Pakistan was conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s within the context of debates on the durability of the nation state, the reach of secularism and the (im)possibility of Islam. With a focus on Pakistan as a self consciously modern nation state that espoused a commitment to what it called Islamic ideology, I examined how the sense of crisis that dogged Pakistan, particularly with respect to the state's claim to being Islamic, was discursively and materially constructed and experienced. I brought the everyday, as a dimension of experience and inter-subjective relations shot through with skepticism, to this examination of crisis, to show how multiple scales and possibilities inhered in gestures towards Islam within the everyday. This archaeological approach allowed me to open up the frozen quality of historical narratives on Pakistan to suggest how Pakistani Muslims continue to engage their tradition, past and state to produce the possibility of spiritual striving as an end in itself. I studied mosques, philosophical, constitutional, theological and literary texts, and the figures of the jinn, the Ahmadi and the mulla as materializations of this aspect of striving as both threat and promise. See Beyond Crisis and Muslim Becoming.