SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Framing Pakistan

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2019/2020
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 1

This module introduces critical approaches to the study of Pakistan through theoretical contexts of framing and cultural representation asking students to review historical approaches and possible lines of enquiry for a renewed cultural history of Pakistan from 1947 to the present.

Framing Pakistan is a core 0.5 module of the MA Pakistan and the compulsory 0.5 module for the BA South Asian Studies.



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will have:

  • Critically engaged with interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Pakistan.
  • Gained familiarity with critical and theoretical concepts on culture and framing.
  • Gained an understanding historical debates on Pakistan, especially postcolonial and subaltern perspectives.
  • Developed necessary oral and written skills for sophisticated communication of relevant ideas, concepts and arguments.


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour seminar per week. 

Scope and syllabus

Students will be introduced to critical contexts of culture through theoretical approaches. Primary texts will vary from year to year, but a typical syllabus will consist of interdisciplinary texts including theories on cultures and framing as well as discipline based studies from history, anthropology, literature and politics. In addition module readings and discussions will be guided by the following major themes:

  • Critical reflections on framing, culture, nation, community, gender;
  • Muhammad Iqbal: bridge building or separatism;
  • 1947 and the cultural memory of Partition;
  • Illiberal, jihadi, non-violent: contrasting KPK frames;
  • Frames of war in Kashmir;
  • The cold war, the demise of the left and the military state;
  • The problem of the archive: 1971 and after  

Method of assessment

  • X 4 reaction papers (400 words) each (40%)
  • One essay (2,500 words) to be submitted on day 5, week 11, term 2 (40%)
  • One oral presentation (10-15 minutes) (10%)
  • Participation in 10 seminars (10%).

Suggested reading

  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso, 1991.
  • Seyla Benhabib. 2002. The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era, Princeton University Press.
  • Homi K Bhabha (ed.) Nation and Narration, London and New York: Routledge, 1990.
  • Jean-Francois Bayart. The Illusion of Cultural Identity. trans. Steven Rendall, Janet Roitman and Jonathan Derrick. Hurst, 1996.
  • Partha Chatterjee,The Nation and its Fragments: colonial and Postcolonial Histories, Princeton University Press, 1994.
  • Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin, Framing Muslims: stereotyping and representation after 9//11, Harvard University Press, 2011.
  • Mushirul Hasan (ed) India’s Partition: process, strategy and mobilization. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Ian Talbot. Pakistan: A New History. London: Hurst. 2012.
  • Farzana Shaikh, Making Sense of Pakistan, London and New York: Hurst. 2009.
  • Saadia Toor. The State of Islam: culture and cold war politics in Pakistan. Pluto. 2011.
  • Ayesha Siddiqa. The Pakistan Military: the development of praetorianism, 1947-77' in her Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy. Karachi: OUP, 2007.
  • Ayesha Jalal, Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia, Harvard University Press, 2008.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules