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CSOC 1055A - Sociology of Pakistan

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Pakistan is often sensationalistically depicted as ‘the most dangerous country in the world', home to both a failed nuclear state and an overtly rigid, if not entirely fundamentalist, society. Over-mediatized yet understudied, the sixth largest population in the world, and the second largest Muslim one, surely deserved to be understood beyond such stereotypes and in all of its complexity. This is what this course aims at doing, with the help of a selection of the most incisive scholarly works in social sciences on (and from) Pakistan, covering political science, anthropology, sociology and history. It also includes materials such as Pakistani novels, movies, and even poetry (in the section ‘Another Angle'). Indeed, only an interdisciplinary and eclectic scientific approach can do justice to the diversity, specificities, and paradoxes of the Pakistani society. Broad in scope, but specific in its methodology, this elective course focuses on the interlinkages between social and political issues. It thus explores key political matters, - military regime, local democracy, political violence, etc. -, but from the perspective of its social dimensions. For instance, we will be looking at the social roots of the military' political domination, rather than at the better known international insecurity factor. Conversely, the course will address some important social changes through the prism of their political impact, with topics such as the link between Taliban militancy and the evolving pattern of tribal structure, to mention just one more example.


BLOM, Amélie L. (Lecturer)

Pedagogical format

This is a reading, discussion and collective research-based course. The semester is divided in two parts. The first 9 sessions are devoted to lectures, during which students will nurture the debate with their critical text review. During the last 3 sessions, students will present the work in progress on their research papers.

Course validation

To validate the course, the student is expected to pass: 1. One critical reading review (individual work): 25% 2. One research paper (team work): 40% 3. One oral presentation (team work): 20% 4. One discussant's commentary on oral presentation (individual work): 15%

Required reading

Sarah ANSARI, ‘The Pakistan Movement: 1940-1947' (in R. D. LONG dir., A History of Pakistan, 2015), pp. 384-414

Additional required reading

  • Ian TALBOT, ‘Understanding the Failure of Pakistan's First Experiment with Democracy 1947-58' (Pakistan. A New History, 2012), pp. 15-45
  • Ian TALBOT, ‘Land, people, society' (Pakistan. A New History, 2012), pp. 15-45
  • Ayesha JALAL, ‘The State of Martial Rule, 1958 to the Present: Towards a Conceptual Framework' (The State of Martial Rule, 1999), pp. 295-328
  • Alyssa AYRES, Speaking Like a State. Language and Nationalism in Pakistan (Cambridge University Press, 2009), ‘Chapter 2 – Urdu and the Nation'