Signage in a NYC college prior to a Muslim Student Club event.
Global Aspirations: Transnational Pakistani Youth in Higher Education
My research focuses on the gendered educational aspirations and semiotic practices of transnational youth attending college in Lahore and New York City. I studied my focal students’ migrations in relation to their educational aspirations through observations of their hybrid semiotic practices. How do youth transnational aspirations co-occur with and contradict traditional forms of cultural and religious belonging? How are these practices gendered?
My research intervenes in the anthropological literature on globalization ‘flows’ and on methodological approaches that aim to simultaneously address locale-specific events in relation to global phenomena. My work highlights the transnational lives of South Asian-Muslim youth by tracking their movements from rural spaces and imaginaries to increasingly urban centers. I conceptualize these movements as aspirational trajectories to join the knowledge economy through the mobilization of a new kind of flexible citizenship, one that is typically unavailable to these populations. Additionally my research relies on semiotic and digital research methods to examine the emergent language and culture contact zones for transnational Muslim youth culture in educational spaces.