Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Second Advisor

Amira Jarmakani

Third Advisor

Griff Tester

Abstract

The central concerns of this project are the visual constructions of feminine and feminist subjectivities, significations and semiotics of the (brown) female body, and the pleasures and power of global visual culture. I consider the primary visual fields that seek to tell the story of Pakistani women, and Muslim woman more broadly, after September 11th, 2001. Specifically, I offer detailed case studies of three visual stories: international human rights sensation Mukhtar Mai; twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and first woman to lead a Muslim country Benazir Bhutto; and female terrorists/religious martyrs of the Red Mosque events in Islamabad, Pakistan. I locate the relevance of these visual stories on three axes − human rights, democratization and the war on terror − where each operates as an arm of, what Jasbir Paur (2007) calls, the U.S. hetero-normative nation. I also examine the structures of affect, pleasure and eroticism that are embedded in these popularized representations and narrations in the U.S. cultural context. Finally, I offer ways to reread the potential radical subjectivities or possibilities that these visual subjects and their political labor open up.

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