Research Fellow









Dr Ali Nobil Ahmad

Current Employment | International Awards and Prizes | Curatorial Projects | Consultancy | Films | Journalism and Press | Previous Employment | Selected Publications | Selected Conference Papers, Lectures, Screenings | Teaching Portfolio | Other relevant Links | Education| Languages | Referees


Current Employment nach oben


Research Fellow, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin

International Awards and Prizes nach oben


German Peace Prize for non-fiction at the Karachi Literature Festival for ‘Masculinity, Sexuality and Illegal Migration’ (Oxford University Press)


Guardian’s Scott Trust bursary awarded to UK journalists

Curatorial Projects nach oben


British Film Institute, London, August 10th-12th: Co-Curator of ‘Jamil Dehlavi: Between the Sacred and the Profane’


Kino Moviemento, Berlin, September 22nd, Curator of anthropoSCENE: Film and Climate Justice in Asia and Africa, a prgramme of screenings and talks, sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation


ICA London, 21st September: Co-curator of Winds of Change: Cinema in Muslim Societies

Consultancy nach oben


Contributed to the policy report for the Heinrich Böll Foundation: „Die Orangen in Europa schmecken besser“: Über Fluchtursachen, ihre Bekämpfung und was daran nicht stimmt

Films nach oben

Lok Sath [People’s Tribunal], forthcoming in 2018, Saraiki with English subtitles, 22 minutes: Animated video essay about peasant resistance to coal power plants in Pakistan’s Southern Punjab. (Currently in post-production).  

Waseb [Nation], Saraiki and Urdu with English subtitles, 24 minutes: Short documentary about resistance poetry and the aftermath of the 2010 flood disaster in Pakistan. Screened at numerous international festivals and conferences in the US, Europe and Asia (see screenings/conferences).  

Journalism and Press nach oben

Curator’s preview of Jamil Dehlavi at the BFI (September 2018)

Curator’s preview of anthropoSCENE, the National (September, 2017):  

Arts Feature: ‘Day shall Dawn’ (The Guardian, 13th June 2016), Feature on Avant-Garde Pakistani film:

Interviewed by the Guardian as curator of ICA programme (September 19, 2011):

Interviewed by The News, (March 6th 2016):   

Feature for The Guardian, ‘The mysterious murder of an NGO worker in Pakistan’ (The Guardian; 3rd March 2017)

Previous Employment nach oben


Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor of South Asian Studies, Brandeis University, Boston. Taught courses on Pakistan Cinema; State and society


Assistant Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences. Designed at taught courses in Cinema and Media; Modern History; Historiography and Social Theory; Political Ecology


Research Officer, Leverhulme Project on Migration & Citizenship, UCL, Department of Geography

Selected Publications nach oben

Single authored monograph

Masculinity, sexuality and ‘illegal’ migration: human smuggling from Pakistan to Europe (published by Ashgate in 2011; South Asian revised paperback edition by Oxford University Press, Karachi in 2015; Euro-American paperback by Routledge, 2016). One of three book awarded a 2017 German peace Prize at the Oxford University Press Karachi Literature Festival (see awards).

Edited and co-edited Books

Film and Cinephilia in Pakistan (2018, forthcoming) Oxford University Press, Karachi.    

Cinema and Society: Film and social change in Pakistan (with Ali Khan) 2016 Oxford University Press, Karachi.

Cinema in Muslim Societies (2015) Routledge, London and New York.

Edited Special Issues of Journals

‘Explorations into Pakistani Cinema’ dossier section in Screen (2016) 57 (4).

‘Pakistani Cinema’ Bioscope 5(2) (2014) co-edited with Ali Khan.

‘Cinema in Muslim Societies’ (2010) Third Text February104, Special Issue.

‘Perspectives on Ecology from India and Pakistan’ [with Hasan Karrar] Capitalism,
Nature, Socialism (2015) 26 (3).

Articles and chapters in peer reviewed journals and books

Introduction, ‘Explorations into Pakistani Cinema’ dossier section in Screen (2016) 57 (4): 468-79.

Introduction, “Cinema and Society: Film and Social Change in Pakistan” in ‘Cinema and Society: a History of the Pakistani film industry’ (co-edited with Ali Khan) OUP Karachi. pp3-25.

“New Cinema from Pakistan: Film, Technology and Media in Transition” in ‘Cinema and Society: a History of the Pakistani film industry’ (co-edited with Ali Khan) OUP Karachi. pp 343-372.

“Fascism and Real Estate: An Inquiry into the Strange Death of Traditional Cinema Halls” in ‘Cinema and Society: a History of the Pakistani film industry’ (co-edited with Ali Khan) OUP Karachi. pp 307-328.

Introduction to Special Issue on Capitalism, Nature, Socialism in South Asia [with Hasan Karrar] (2015) Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 26 (3) (44-7).

Capitalism, Nature, Socialism in South Asia: Perspectives on Ecology from India and Pakistan [with Hasan Karrar] Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 26 (3) (48-63).

‘Conspiracy and Statecraft in Post-colonial States’ (2015) Third World Quarterly 36(1) pp94-110.[co-authored with Aasim Sajjad Akhtar].

“Film and Cinephilia in Pakistan: Beyond Life and Death” (2014) Bioscope 5(2): 81-98.

‘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 (2013) 198-211.

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

‘Bodies that (don’t) matter: desire, eroticism and melancholia in Pakistani labour migration’ in Mobilities 4:3 2009, 309-327.

‘Dead Men Working: Time and Space in London’s ‘Illegal’ Migrant Economy’ in Work, Employment and Society 22:2, 2008, 301-318. 

‘Human Smuggling and Illegal labour: Pakistani migrants in London’s informal economy’ in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 34: 6, 2008, 853-874. 

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

‘The romantic appeal of illegal migration: gender masculinity and human smuggling from Pakistan’  (2008) 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’ (2008) 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, 2008.

‘The British Pakistanis: Middle class narratives of migration’ in Men of the Global South: A Reader (ed) Adam Jones Zed Books (October, 2006).

‘Whose Underground? Asian Cool and the Poverty of "Hybridity"' in Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture (54) Spring 2001 pp 71-84.

'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.

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

“Zu den Begriffen Migration, Flucht, Asyl und einigen anderen” and “Topographie der Komplexität – Über Migration nach, in und aus Pakistan” (2018) in „Die Orangen in Europa schmecken besser": Über Fluchtursachen, ihre Bekämpfung und was daran nicht stimmt.

‘Born of Fire: An Essay’ (2018) (accompanying limited edition DVD).

Encyclopedia of US Imperialism (2015, ABC CLIO,] Entries on IMF/World Bank, Sustainable Development, Military Industrial Complex, Private Security Contractors, US Military Bases.   

‘Pakistani Film’ by Sadaat Manto (Introduced, annotated and translated) (2014) in Bioscope 5(2) 163-66.

‘Filmmaking and Building Pakistan’ by Hasan Askari (Introduced, annotated, translated) (2014) in Bioscope 5 (2): 175-81.

‘Colour in Film: Why, To What End?’ by Hasan Askari (Introduced, annotated, translated) (2014) Bioscope 5(2) 167-173.

Interview with Sabiha Sumar (2014) in Bioscope 5 (2) 153-62.

‘Women’s Cinema, from Tangiers to Tehran’ (2008) in Third Text 22:4 pp. 501-14.

Abdullah Hussein’s Émigré Journeys (2001) in Wasifiri International Magazine of Contemporary Writing (33) Spring.


Selected Conference Papers/Lectures/Screenings nach oben

2018: ZMO Winter Colloqium: ‘Performing Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia’ (co-organizer).

2018: Prague, 2nd and 3rd September, Congress of Young Europeans: Workshop on Migration: Europe’s Encounter with Globalization’ and launch of „Die Orangen in Europa schmecken besser: Über Fluchtursachen, ihre Bekämpfung und was daran nicht stimmt.

2018: London, British Film Institute, August 10.. “Between the Sacred and the Profane”: Illustrated talk exploring the cultural, artistic and political background of Jamil Dehlavi.

2018: Minneapolis, April 16th: Paper at ‘Prince from Minneapolis’ conference, University of Minneapolis.

2018: Michigan, April 14th Paper on the filmmaking of Jamil Dehlavi at ‘Process in Modern and Contemporary Islamic Art,’ at the Helmet Stern Museum of Art, University of Michigan.

2018: Michigan, April 6th. Paper presented on migration and human smuggling at the annual conference on Pakistan, University of Michigan.

2017: Berlin September 22nd, Film Screening, Waseb [Nation], Moviemento cinema: anthropo_scene film festival. 

2017: Berlin May 27th, “The Islamic Ethic and the Spirit of Neo-liberalism” Paper presented at ZMO Moralities Workshop.

2017: University of Salford, March 21st: Paper presented at Purple Reign: a conference on the life and legacy of Prince.

2017: Leiden, March 14th, Film Screening, Waseb [Nation], ‘Framing Asia’ University of Leiden, Asian Studies

2017: Oxford, March 6th, Film Screening, Waseb [Nation], Wolfson College Oxford. 

2017: Paris, March 1st: ‘The Politics of Resources: Conflict and Resistance in Pakistan’s Southern Punjab’ Paper at ‘Crisis and Conflict in the Agrarian World’, conference by Science-Po, Paris, France. (and Film Screening, Waseb [Nation]).     

2016: Singapore, November 22nd, Film Screening, Waseb [Nation]: Disastrous Pasts: New Directions in Asian Disaster history at the National University of Singapore.

2016: Seattle, October, Film Screening, Waseb [Nation], Social Justice Film Festival: 

2016: Paris, Film Screening, Waseb [Nation] at Ethnografilm Festival March, Paris: Program-13-Feb.pdf. 

2015: Bucharest, June: New Europe College, Bucharest, Romania Flood-Causality and Post-Colonial States: The 2010 Disaster in Pakistan’s Southern Punjab” at conference on ‘Floods, State, Dams and Dykes in Modern Times: Ecological and Socio-economic Transformations of the Rural World’.  

2014: Heidelberg, December 3rd: Film Screening, Waseb [Nation]: Heidelberg University: “Pakistan Parallel Narratives of the Nation-State”.  

2014: Singapore, October 15th-18th: “Urban Marginality in Pakistan’s Smaller Cities: Rethinking Disaster Through the 2010 Floods”, National University of Singapore (Paper at conference: ‘The Quotidian Anthropocene, Asia Research Institute’). 

2014: Boston, April 7: “Tamasha Politics: Journalism, Democracy and Illusory Dissent in Pakistani Media” Public Lecture at International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University.

2014: Boston, March 7, “The dystopian dialectics of Illegal Migration”: at Brandeis University ‘Futures Imperfect: Utopias and Dystopias in South Asia’ (Workshop Paper)

2014: Lahore, March: LUMS HSS Global War Centenary: paper at 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”

2012: Leiden, December: “The State in Asia”. I presented a paper, ‘War making and statebuilding in post-colonial states: Pakistan from the standpoint of its people” at the University of Leiden.  

2011: Rotterdam, September, Paper presented on piracy and Pushto teledrama/cinema based on preliminary findings of my research in Peshawar this workshop organised by Lotte Hoek (Edinburgh University).

2008: London, May: UCL, Leverhulme Conference on Migration and Citizenship. Organised by Professor John Salt. Presented findings of my research on smuggling and trafficking.

2008: Barcelona, April: 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’ (  

2008: University of Sussex, March. 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’.

2007: Nice, December: Paper presented on comparing ‘old’ and ‘new’ migration at the Migractivities conference on new migration dynamics, University of Nice.

2007: Leiden, Holland, January: Smuggling, Trafficking and Illegality: A Gendered History of the Pakistani Migration System. (

2006: Paris, March: Gender, History and Migration: I presented my research findings at a conference organised by the ENS/Sorbonne.

2006: London, September: 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.

Teaching Portfolio nach oben

Cinema and Society (200-level)
The Politics of Resources (200-level)
Nature, Power, Modernity (200-level)
Pakistan: State and Society (200-level)
Debating Revolutions (200-level)
War, Memory, Society (400-level)
The World Since 1453 (100-level)
History, Theory, Historiography (200-level)
Introduction to History  (100-level)

Other Relevant Links nach oben
Google Scholar citations index:

Education nach oben

2008 Doctoral thesis (fully funded and awarded by the Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute in Florence): “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)]. 

2001: MA in Modern History at UCL, Department of History: Pass with distinction.

2009 MA in Journalism, Goldsmiths College: Upper Second class honours.

1998: BA in Modern History at UCL Department of History: Upper Second class honours.

Languages nach oben

English and Urdu (mother tongues); working knowledge of Punjabi, French, Italian; basic German.

Referees nach oben

Professor/Dean Sarah Lamb, Brandeis University:
Associate Professor Iftikhar Dadi:
Senior Lecturer Lotte Hoek: