UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Humaira Saeed


This project centres on the continuing relevance of the 1947 Partition of India in texts that engage with the national landscape of Pakistan. This approach proposes that Partition cannot be understood outside of a discussion of Pakistan, as Partition emerged through demands for liberty and enfranchisement for India's Muslims that became articulated through the discourse of the nation-state; my analysis of cultural texts asks what the implications are of this proposal. This study moves beyond looking at Partition as an isolated series of events in 1947 and contextualises its processes, interrogating why Partition and Pakistan became such a persuasive demand, and what the ongoing ramifications are of its happening. This thesis also considers what the 1971 secession of Bangladesh suggests regarding the attempts of the original cartographic articulation of Pakistan to maintain a unified nation. This project seeks to understand Partition in new ways by utilising a framework that takes into account the broader context of Partition both temporally and spatially. It moves beyond work that solely focusses on texts that discuss the moment of Partition directly, by examining texts that approach the time that preceded Partition, and that which succeeded it. In so doing this thesis charts how texts articulate the arguments for Pakistan's creation against the events and commemoration of its becoming. I aim to be broad temporally, geographically, and in how I engage with the notion of violence, extending this to include the bureaucratic violence of drawing borders and colonial withdrawal. This study maintains a focus on women's narratives, arguing that due to the gendered experience of violence at the time of Partition, such as rape, abduction, and honour killing, women's stories have a particular intervention to make. As such this thesis proposes that there is a pattern of specifically gendered trauma that emerges which disrupts dominant nationalist remembering of Partition. This work takes an interdisciplinary focus by analysing fiction, feature film and documentary. Central to the study is the deployment of a number of theoretical methodologies, such as affect, cultural memory and trauma. Engagement with this critical material enables a discussion of the cultural texts that considers the role of affects in generating and maintaining national belonging, the impact of trauma on individuals who lived through Partition and on the nation writ large, and the implications of how trauma and affect are negotiated when texts imagine reparative futures.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2012