Since its establishment in Fall 2015, the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative leverages research, teaching, and praxis related to gender at LUMS. The Initiative promotes interdisciplinary inquiry that is attentive to the construction and operation of gender across different spatial and temporal contexts. By engaging LUMS and educational spaces beyond it, in ongoing local and transnational conversations, the Initiative seeks to critically contribute to research and praxis that deepens understanding of gender as a set of relations and processes within and beyond Pakistan. With this goal in mind the Initiative holds an Annual Student Colloquium each year.
This year, with the fourth Annual Student Colloquium titled ‘Challenging Binaries: New Directions in Gender Studies in Pakistan’, the Initiative invited applications from students (undergraduate and postgraduate) across disciplines—including history, economics, literature, public health and medicine, management studies, sociology, anthropology, public policy, women’s/gender studies—to present at the colloquium, which took place at LUMS on April 26-27, 2019.
The Initiative encouraged research work that attended to the complex construction and operation of gender across different spatial and temporal contexts. This included research on topics such as: representations of gender in literature/film/television; the politics and economics of gender and inequality; histories of activism and organising; debates within feminist theory; the causes and consequences of gender-based violence; the construction of gender within religious discourses, etc. Students from across public and private universities in Pakistan participated in the colloquium bringing together their research and diverse experiences to create an enriching learning environment. The faculty at LUMS moderated the various panels and gave students feedback on their work.
The keynote address this year was given by Bushra Gohar, a former member of the National Assembly and a human rights activist. In her talk titled ‘The Path Towards Peace: Struggling for an Inclusive Political Space’, she spoke on the importance of the inclusion of women in peace processes in conflict-ridden areas.