Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Anthropology

First Advisor

Asif Agha

Second Advisor

Stanton E. Wortham

Abstract

My dissertation is a multi-sited ethnography that investigates the gendered lifeworlds of transnational Pakistani-origin, Muslim college students in New York City and in Lahore, Pakistan. My ethnographic approach follows the multiple and overlapping mobility trajectories of transnational youth as marked by particular, semiotic practices and narratives. During the 16 months of fieldwork, my focal fieldsites—the hallways, dorms, student club- rooms, cafeterias, and libraries at two comparable college campuses—provided the interactional spaces where I could observe students developing their social and cultural selves. In my research, I found that the rural to urban migration pattern and concomitant imaginaries remained significant for both intra- and inter-national movements. My research examined students’ narratives about these multiscalar mobilities, analyzing emergent and locale-specific discursive and embodied practices in relation to transnational and piety-based markers of belonging. In this, I found that these practices both reified and critiqued traditional and modern notions of patriarchy. My study shows that mobility offers an ideal construct to ethnographically observe Pakistani-origin Muslim youth subject-making and to understand how transnational youth re-fashion their social identities and professional aspirations given contemporary post-9/11 political and social climate.

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