Purewal’s interests fall within two areas, both with a distinctive Punjab (India and Pakistan) focus. The first is on feminist scholarship and gender in South Asia, including female feticide and routes and barriers to girls’ education. The second area is the sociology of religion. Purewal was the principal investigator on a large project under the Religion and Society programme (AHRC and ESRC) on popular religious practices and contemporary transgressions of religious boundaries in South Asia focusing specifically on the region of Punjab across India and Pakistan.
Indo-Iranian History, Historical Geography and Philology (Avestan, Old Persian, Parthian, Pahlavi, Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Urdu, Pashto, Balochi and Kashmiri); Languages and Religions of Late Antiquity and the Silk Road (Bactrian, Khotanese, Sogdian, contacts among Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and early Islam); Pakistan studies (Ancient and early Medieval History, Dardic and Nuristani dialectology, ethnography and topography of NWFP, FATA, Northern Areas and Trans-Karakoram Tract); Pakistani minorities; HUMINT counterterrorism and linguistic analysis; South Asian Muslim psycho-sociology; Muslim non-Muslim relations (Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh).
Hussein will be researching the development of narrative traditions in modern Urdu, with a particular focus on mid-20th century Pakistani fiction,and women's writings from South Asia. He will make use of rare and forgotten volumes in the library, some of which he has, in the past, rediscovered. He will also be completing a volume of fiction in Urdu, which reflects his readings in Urdu literature.