JHI Circle of Fellows Spotlight—Hadia Akhtar Khan

February 21, 2023 by Sonja Johnston

Hadia is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology, interested in the interdisciplinary study of labor, economy, kinship and gender. Her previous degrees are in Gender, Political Science, Economics and French. Her research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Social Science and Humanities Research Council and the Center for Ethnography (UTSC). She is also an experienced student and housing activist and community educator in Toronto. She joins the JHI in 2022-23 as one of our Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows.

JHI: What are your main research interests?

HAK: I’m interested in how the institution and ideas of the patriarchal family constitute the processes of capitalist development.

JHI: What project(s) are you working on at the JHI and why did you choose it (them)?
HAK: I am writing my dissertation which is based on 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork in rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. I look at how migrant joint families mobilize various forms of family labor to achieve upward mobility through male migration to Malaysia whilst upholding honor-based patriarchal and patrilineal values in the village. During my time at JHI, I have been thinking about how the practices and meanings of labor, honor and masculinity are changing because of migration.  
JHI: What are you hoping to experience as a JHI Fellow? What are you most looking forward to (or what have you enjoyed the most so far)?
HAK: I know this sounds cliché but as academics, we really do live in disciplinary siloes sometimes. The weekly seminars at JHI really challenge those boundaries because we are all compelled to think beyond our disciplinary concerns to make our work intelligible and exciting for others. The thing I have enjoyed the most is having the money, time and space to write without other work responsibilities. It is truly a luxury that I wish was available to all graduate students.

JHI: Share something you read/watched/listened to recently that you enjoyed/were inspired by.

HAK: Being in an inter-disciplinary space has had me wishing I were a historian instead. Gerda Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy is a fantastic and inspiring read. Mostly, I just watch The Office on repeat after a day of writing.

JHI: What is a fun fact about you?

HAK: This is not a fun fact but I’ll still use the opportunity to make a shameless pitch for Jamhoor, which is a fantastic leftist South Asian magazine I help edit. Our last issue looked at how imperialism is taking on new forms in South Asia today. Please check it out!