Research Fellow









Dr Ali Nobil Ahmad

Teaching and Research | Current Employment| Previous Employment | Doctoral thesis | Funding Awards | Editorial | Additional Educational Qualifications | Languages | Referees | Publications


Teaching and Research nach oben

  • Comparative and World history; Pakistan and South Asian History
  • Migration and Transnationalism; Human Smuggling
  • Film, Television and Media; Art and Visual culture
  • Political Ecology and Environmental history


Current Employment nach oben

Since June 2014

Postdoctoral Researcher, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
Research project: “Ideology and the Politics of Resources in Pakistan’s Peripheries”

Since August 2009

Assistant Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Responsibilities include teaching and designing courses in Modern History, Historiography and Social Theory, Cinema studies.     


Previous Employment nach oben

(Spring semester)

Madelaine Haas Visiting Professor in South Asian Studies, Brandeis University, Waltham MA (designed and taught courses on Pakistani State, Society and Cinema/Media).


Research Officer on the Leverhulme Project on Migration and Citizenship, UCL, Department of Geography. I worked full-time for one year at the London end of a global study on human smuggling and trafficking supervised by Professor John Salt and Dr Khalid Koser


Doctoral thesis nach oben

“Gender, illegality and ‘transnationalism’: a comparative oral history of Pakistanis in Europe”. [Supervised by Professors Laurence Fontaine (EHESS) and Pnina Werbner (Keele). Examined by Professors Annie Phizacklea (Warwick) and Philippe Fargues (EUI)].


Funding Awards nach oben


Recipient of the Scott Trust (Guardian) bursary. This bursary funded me to do a Masters in Journalism at Goldsmiths College and train at the Guardian offices in King’s Place, London. I wrote news, features, interviews and blogs for the Guardian and Manchester Evening News where I completed internships.  


Editorial nach oben

I have served on the editorial board of an art and cultural studies journal, Third Text, to which I contribute regularly. I write on media, art and contemporary culture. I edited a special issue of the journal on Cinema and the Muslim world (publication date: January 2010) and co-curated a film season at the ICA following on from this. 

I am a member of the International Advisory Board of Darkmatter (a journal on race and post-colonial studies); contributing editor of Untold London. I have also written for Wasafiri (Caribbean, African, Asian and Associated Literatures in English) and Metamute: Culture and Politics After the Net.


Additional Educational Qualifications nach oben


MA in Modern History at UCL, Department of History.


MA in Journalism, Goldsmiths College.


BA in Modern History at UCL Department of History.


Languages nach oben

Urdu, Mother tongue: Good working knowledge/comprehension.
Punjabi: Working knowledge, especially comprehension.
French: Working knowledge.
Italian: Good working knowledge/academic reading.


Referees (Additional) nach oben

Angela Phillips, Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, London:
Professor Annie Phizacklea, Warwick University:
Professor Arfon Rees, E.U.I:


Publications nach oben


Single authored monograph


‘Masculinity, Sexuality and ‘Illegal’ Migration: Human Smuggling from Pakistan to Europe’ 2011 Ashgate (Hardback); Oxford University Press Karachi (paperback forthcoming).


Edited special issues of Journals


'Cinema in Muslim Societies' Third Text February104, Special Issue



Co-edited Books


Cinema and Society: a History of the Pakistani film industry (with Ali Khan) OUP Karachi



Co-edited Journal Special Issues

forthcoming [In Production] 2014

‘Pakistani Cinema’ Bioscope co-edited with Ali Khan.



Articles and chapters in peer reviewed journals and books

2014 forthcoming

“Film and Cinephilia in Pakistan: Beyond Life and Death”Bioscope


“Cinema and Society: Introduction”OUP Karachi.


“The production of illegality in migration and diaspora: state policies and human smuggling from Pakistan” in Handbook of South Asian Diaspora eds. Joya Chatterji and David Washbrook Routledge


“Qalam Ki Badmashi: Journalism, Corruption And The Informal Economy In Pakistani Media” Urban Anthropology February 40: 3-4, special double issue on the Informal Economy (pp: 445-493)


‘Pakistanies en Italia: Los escencantos del “Vivir Transactional”’ in Revista CIDOB d’Afers. Barcelona: CIDOB (October 2010). 


‘Is Twitter a Useful Tool for Journalists?’ in Journal of Media Practice, Volume 11 (2) Spring Issue


‘Introduction: Is there a Muslim World?’ and 'From Zinda Laash to Zibahkhana: horror and violence in Pakistani cinema' [co-authored with Ali Khan] in Third Text (Issue 104): special issue: 'Cinema in Muslim Societies'


‘Bodies that (don’t) matter: desire, eroticism and melancholia in Pakistani labour migration’ in Mobilities 4:3, 309-327.


‘Dead Men Working: Time and Space in London’s ‘Illegal’ Migrant Economy’ in Work, Employment and Society 22:2, 301-318. 


‘Human Smuggling and Illegal labour: Pakistani migrants in London’s informal economy’ in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 34: 6, 853-874. 


‘The romantic appeal of illegal migration: gender masculinity and human smuggling from Pakistan’ in (eds) M.Schrover, J.Leun, L.Lucassen, C.Quispel, Illegal Migration and Gender in Global and Historical Perspective, Amsterdam University Press.


‘Critical approaches to the study of masculinity: Gender and generation in Pakistani migration’ in Ryan, L and Webster, W (eds) Gendering Migration: Masculinity, Femininity and Ethnicity in Postwar Britain, London: Ashgate.


‘The Myth of Arrival: Pakistanis in Italy’, in Pakistani Diasporas: Culture, Conflict, and Change (ed) Kalra, V. Oxford in Pakistan Readings in Sociology and Social Anthropology. OUP Karachi.


‘Le malaise sexuel des migrations de travail: réflexions socio-anthropologiques sur les pakistanais en Europe’ in Migrance, 27, 2007.


‘The British Pakistanis: Middle class narratives of migration’ in Men of the Global South: A Reader (ed) Adam Jones Zed Books.


‘Whose Underground? Asian Cool and the Poverty of "Hybridity"' in Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture (54) pp 71-84





forthcoming 2015

“Conspiracy and Statecraft in Post-Colonial States: Theories and Realities of the Hidden Hand in Pakistan’s War on Terror” [with Aasim Sajjad Akhtar] Third World Quarterly 36 (1).




Other writings (Reviews, criticism, translations, encyclopedia entries, interviews)

forthcoming 2014

Manto ‘Pakistan ke Film’; Hasan Askari ‘Film Saazi’ and ‘Film me Rang’ (introduced, annotated and translated from Urdu) in Bioscope. 

forthcoming 2014

Interview with Sabiha Sumar in Bioscope.

forthcoming 2015

Encyclopedia of US Imperialism (ABC CLIO) Entries on IMF/World Bank, Sustainable Development, Military Industrial Complex, Private Security Contractors, US Military Bases.    


‘Women’s Cinema, from Tangiers to Tehran’ in Third Text 22:4 pp501-14
'Monica Ali’s Brick Lane: A Note on the Politics of ‘Good’ Literary Production in Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture (67) volume 18 (issue 2) March 2004 199-201. 


‘Women’s Cinema, from Tangiers to Tehran’ in Third Text 22:4 pp501-14


'Monica Ali’s Brick Lane: A Note on the Politics of ‘Good’ Literary Production in Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture (67) volume 18 (issue 2) 199-201. 


Abdullah Hussein’s Émigré Journeys in Wasifiri International Magazine of Contemporary Writing (33)




On-line Reports


Researching migrant populations: training workshops for postgraduates ICAR and COMPAS, ESRC (Anna Lindley, Emma Newcombe and Esme Peach, on-line report available here.


Report on Refugees and the Media Conference for Mediawise in Bulletin : Summary available as PDF here.




Conference Papers/Lectures

October 15th-18th 2014

Conference Paper: “Urban Marginality in Pakistan’s Smaller Cities: Rethinking Disaster Through the 2010 Floods”, National University of Singapore (Conference: ‘The Quotidien Anthropocene, Asia Research Institute’). 

April 7, 2014

Public Lecture: “Tamasha Politics: Journalism, Democracy and Illusory Dissent in Pakistani Media” International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University.

March 7, 2014

Workshop Paper: “The dystopian dialectics of Illegal Migration”: at Brandeis University ‘Futures Imperfect: Utopias and Dystopias in South Asia’.

March 2014

LUMS HSS Global War Centenary: co-authored paper and chapter submitted to conference proceedings of LUMS 2014 annual social sciences conference (Global War Centenary) entitled: “Conspiracy and Statecraft in Post-Colonial States: Theories and Realities of the Hidden Hand in Pakistan’s War on Terror”

December 2012

University of Leiden: “The State in Asia”.  I presented a paper, ‘War making and statebuilding in post-colonial states: Pakistan from the standpoint of its people” in a panel session on state-building.  

September 2011

Rotterdam: Paper presented on piracy and Pushto teledrama/cinema based on premilinary findings of my research in Peshawar this summer. Conference organised by Lotte Hoek (Edinburgh University).

May 2008

UCL: Leverhulme Conference on Migration and Citizenship. Organised by Professor John Salt. Findings of my research on smuggling and trafficking presented at this, the first of a two part concluding conference, which will bring to a close the Research Project I worked on at UCL from 2003 (see employment). 

April 2008

Barcelona: Paper presented on Pakistanis in Italy and London at an international seminar at the University of Barcelona held by the CIDOB foundation: ‘Asians in the Mediterranean: Diaspora, transnationalism and ethnic entrepreneurship’ (

March 2008

University of Sussex: Paper presented at conference on Love, Sexuality and Migration (LSM), held under the IMISCOE European Research Network.  Coordinated by Russell King under the IMISCOE umbrella as part of the research cluster on ‘Gender, age and generations’.

December 2007

Nice, France : Paper presented on comparing ‘old’ and ‘new’ migration at the Migractivities conference on new migration dynamics, organised by, to be held at the University of Nice. The paper itself, which will be published in Work, Employment as Society, can be downloaded here.

May 2007

The Lake District, The Pakistan Workshop: I presented the findings of my doctoral research at the annual meeting for anthropologists working on Pakistan and Muslim South Asia in a paper entitled: Pakistanis in Europe; Cross-temporal and cross-national comparative perspectives.

January 2007

Leiden, Holland: Smuggling, Trafficking and Illegality: A Gendered History of the Pakistani Migration System. Paper was published in volume on illegal migration.

March 2006

Paris: Gender, History and Migration: I presented my research findings at a conference organised by the ENS/Sorbonne. My conference paper was translated and published the French journal, Migrance (see publications).

September 2006

London: Presented findings of my research on the Leverhulme Project on day two of the 2006 Royal Geographical Society Conference on Global Social justice and Environmental Sustainability.






Reports and blogs for The Guardian


Occasional reports for The Sunday Times, The News (English Section of the Daily Jang, biggest selling Pakistani daily newspaper in Britain), the NUJ (National union of Journalists’ official magazine) the Express Tribune (in Pakistan).

December 2004

Politics for Metamute: Home Front (An analysis of the representation of Islam within the British media after 9/11): Culture and Politics After the Net (27).


Arts and entertainment for Untold London: ‘The Lure of the East’ exhibition at Tate Britain, reviewed: ; also published in Dark Matter.


‘What’s the point of LGBT History Month?’ A longer version of this article entitled: ‘On the Need for LGBT History Month’ was also published in the journal, Dark Matter: Postcolonial Futures.


Jack the Ripper and London’s East End (Exhibition review).


‘Unstated’ (Theatre review)


‘South Africans in London: Colonials, Freedom-Fighters and Economic Migrants’ in Untold London