SOAS University of London

Centre for the Study of Pakistan

Announcing a new MA in the Study of Contemporary Pakistan at SOAS

Pakistan contains one of the world’s oldest city civilisations, Mohenjodaro, and the banks of the Indus have been a world centre of culture, warfare and religion ever since. The nation came into being with the partition of the British Raj between India and Pakistan in 1947, and since then it has combined its agricultural base with a middle-income industrial economy. A nation of shocking failures in education and health, it is still a flourishing centre of South Asian music, cuisine and poetry.  Since the 1990s it has also developed a lively media landscape—overwhelmingly in Urdu—and writing in English by Pakistani writers has recently captured the attention of international publishers and readers.  Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world—bigger than Russia or Japan. Its largest province, Punjab, contains more people than Egypt, Iran, and France.

Described as one of the most dangerous places in the world, it has been in the news continuously for more than a decade, what with its nuclear testing, its involvement in Afghanistan (and active Taliban presence internally), its pattern of military rule and “restricted” elections under General Musharraf, its record of political assassinations, and its vigorous power struggle involving the military, political parties, violent extremists, and the members of a tenacious civil society. Public interest in Pakistan is perhaps at an all-time high, but this interest is too often limited to a narrow account of politics and religious terrorism.

This pioneering MA aims to understand Contemporary Pakistan in its complexities of culture, nation, politics, religion, law and economics. Students who enrol for this MA will be able to engage in a deep interdisciplinary analysis of the diversity and richness of Pakistan. Students will also be members of the vibrant Centre for the Study of Pakistan that runs a fortnightly seminar series including occasional roundtables and panel discussions with leading academics, policy makers and NGO representatives. The Centre also offers internship opportunities to students registered on the MA Programme.

Graduates of the MA will possess a nuanced and specialised understanding of one of the most important countries in the world. They will use this understanding in business, politics, development, media, foreign affairs, academia, and the arts.

Further information regarding admissions and degree structure.